Fintech startup SuperAtom raises US$24M funding led by Gobi Partners, eyeing expansion to the Philippines
SuperAtom, Indonesia-based fintech that operates in Southeast Asia, announces that it has received funding from Gobi Partners through the Meranti ASEAN Growth Fund. NYSE-listed Cheetah Mobile, who incubated the startup, making it essentially the spin-off of it, is a co-investor in this round.
In addition to the funding, Cheetah Mobile will contribute to the use of its user traffic and big data platform to enable SuperAtom to develop a risk management system for the company’s businesses.
SuperAtom, founded in 2018, operates by taking low-cost funds from more mature markets such as Europe, Japan, Singapore, and the US, combining them with technology and business models from China, and then localising it for Southeast Asian markets such as Indonesia.
In Indonesia, the financial inclusion gap, as well as the shortfall between the demand and supply of formal financial services, is estimated to be worth US$57 billion, according to research done by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
SuperAtom is deemed ahead of its competition due to its association with Cheetah Mobile that has 434 million mobile internet users worldwide, with 60 million monthly active users (MAUs) in Southeast Asia, half of which are in Indonesia. This allows SuperAtom to acquire customers in a much more efficient way.
On July 31, 2018, SuperAtom received official approval to operate in Indonesia from the country’s financial services authority (OJK). The company then proceeded to collaborate with local banks and financial institutions to launch “UangMe”, a P2P consumer lending platform.
With most of the regional entrepreneurs focusses on small and medium enterprise (SME) lending with more manageable lending risks, it leaves a vacant spot where scaling consumer micro-loans that requires deep technology such as artificial intelligence lacks local teams. China is ready with this technology, SuperAtom said it has inherited some of the best top-notch data experts from Cheetah Mobile.
“SuperAtom is a TechFin startup; they are a technology company providing financial services,” said Kay Mok Ku, Managing Partner of Gobi. “These services are especially relevant in markets such as Southeast Asia, where traditional banking penetration is low and the proliferation of smartphones is high. Tech companies can reach out to underserved consumers in this region with their innovative services, and essentially win the day.”
The company’s core team is made up of Chinese executives who have international experience in fintech, having worked with big Chinese companies, such as Cheetah Mobile, FinUp, and WeShare. Founder and President of the Board of SuperAtom, Scarlett Xiao, co-founded Cheetah Mobile and is believed to have helped expand the company from 10 staff to 3,000 globally.
“Our mission is to provide hardworking people in Indonesia with easy access to credit via a convenient platform. A market’s credit system reaches an inflection point once the GDP per capita reaches US$4,000. Southeast Asia is now fast approaching that turning point, where FinTech will start to take off. Countries like Indonesia will see GDP per capita grow from US$3,800 to US$7,000 in the next ten years, so the market potential is enormous,” said Xiao.
Beyond Indonesia, Xiao added that the Philippines is also an attractive market as it has a population of 100 million, and their GDP is growing at 6.2 per cent.
The Philippines is where they are heading next as the company confirmed that it has just attained the financial license by the Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission.