PayMaya owner Voyager Innovation raises $167M from KKR, Tencent and IFC, to launch digital bank in the Philippines

Voyager Innovations, the Manila-based owner of PayMaya, one of the Philippines’ most popular payment and financial services apps, announced today it has raised $167 million in new funding to launch more financial services, including a digital bank.

The raise includes $121 million in new funding, and $46 million from previously committed funds. Voyager announced in April 2020 that it had secured up to $120 million in investment commitments from PLDT, KKR, Tencent, the International Finance Group (IFC) and the IFC Emerging Asia Fund.

The latest capital came from existing shareholders PLDT, one of the country’s largest telecoms, KKR and Tencent, and new investors including IFC Financial Institutions Growth Fund, managed by IFC AMC, a member of the World bank Group (another one of Voyager’s investors).

Voyager’s total raised since 2018 now stands at $452 million.

Along with competitors GCash and Coins, PayMaya is one of the most popular financial “super apps” in the Philippines. Its services include a digital wallet, online remittances, bill payments, bank transfers, prepaid cards and an e-commerce feature called PayMaya Mall that connects consumers to 350 merchants.

In its funding announcement today, Voyager said it has applied for a digital bank license with Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the Philippines’ central bank. A representative for the Voyager said the neobank will launch about six months after Voyager secures its license.

PayMaya has more than 250,000 digital-finance access touchpoints, like convenience stores, where users can top-up their accounts. Voyager says this is seven times the number of ATM and bank branches in the Philippines, making PayMaya more accessible than traditional banks, especially in remote or rural areas.

According to the BSP, about 71% of Filipinos were unbanked as of 2019. The BSP has set financial inclusion goals it wants to achieve by 2023, including onboarding 70% of Filipino adults to payment or transaction accounts, and converting 50% of total retail payments into digital form.

PayMaya and Smart Padala by PayMaya, its remittance service, claim its total registered users doubled over 18 months to 38 million as of June 2021. This year, Voyager also began expanding PayMaya’s services with working capital loans for micro- to mid-sized businesses through PayMaya Lending Corp, and PayMaya Protect insurance policies for health coverage and devices.

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