Philippines’ Voyager Innovations, a payments startup, has raised $167 million in venture funding, according to a news release. The company plans to build up its FinTech division, PayMaya Philippines, and expand into digital banking and financial services.
“We have seen a quantum leap for digital payments adoption in the Philippines over the past year,” said Orlando B. Vea, Voyager and PayMaya founder and CEO. He said the new funding “gives us a natural head start with the target market for the digital banking service.”
“As we did with payments and remittances, we will enable the large masses of Filipinos to leapfrog into a new stage of financial inclusion through integrated digital financial services,” said Shailesh Baidwan, Voyager’s president.
The company said that the funding round included existing investors PLDT Inc., a Philippines-based telecommunications company; KKR, a global investment firm; and Tencent, the behemoth Chinese technology conglomerate. Another investor was IFC Financial Institutions Growth Fund. International Finance Corp., a member of the World Bank Group, is an existing investor in Voyager.
The news release said the fundraising caps Voyager’s success with PayMaya’s mobile wallet, payments processing and digital remittance businesses. The company has applied for a digital bank license with the Philippines’ central bank, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
One key goal for Voyager is to “improve financial inclusion,” meaning that its new offerings will be aimed at those with little access to banking and financial services. The target is the country’s unbanked and underserved population, along with small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs).
Voyager plans to offer credit, insurance and investments through the launch of a digital bank. When granted a license, the digital bank will piggyback on PayMaya’s technology platforms — providing “mobile-first, low-cost, round-the-clock, frictionless, branchless, ubiquitous, paperless, secure, and smart neo-banking services,” the release said. The new entity will not have any branches.
In April of 2020, Voyage announced that it had closed a funding deal worth up to $120 million from existing backers. That round followed a $215 million investment in 2018.