BAYANIPAY, Inc. is looking to expand its presence and to help more Filipinos in the United States send money back home.
The financial technology (fintech) company announced on Wednesday evening that it has raised $4.5 million in seed funding, mainly from East West Bank in Southern California, Wavemaker Partners, and Talino Venture Labs.
The fresh capital will help BayaniPay develop its platform as the company targets to expand its product lineup and broaden its reach into more geographies.
BayaniPay Chief Executive Officer Winston Damarillo said the fintech company targets to acquire about 20% of the global Filipino market in the next three years.
“We expect exponential growth in 2023. Our goal is about 150,000 customers by year three and we think that’s easily achievable,” Mr. Damarillo said at a media briefing.
“Our goal is to have 20% of the market, long term. We think it’s going to be three years from now, it could be quicker, and it could be a little bit less depending on how successful we are at customer acquisition,” he said.
Mr. Damarillo said BayaniPay currently has over 7,000 users, adding that demand for the platform has been increasing as migrant Filipinos find the app convenient and affordable.
“Our ongoing efforts are driven by the desire to eliminate the financial hardships of new immigrants and minority communities,” he said.
“Streamlining cross-border payment systems have become more urgent than ever as remittances grow in scale from overseas workers. Unfortunately, even in this day and age, existing remittance methods remain painful and expensive for the average remitter,” he added.
BayaniPay said they are set to deliver more solutions to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the US through its partnership with BDO Unibank, Inc.
Mr. Damarillo said BayaniPay is working with BDO to allow users to directly pay bills and services in the Philippines through pay code technologies.
Businesses and services in the country can provide codes to BayaniPay customers, which can be used for cross-border payments for bills, tuition and school fees, medical expenses, and real estate.
BDO Remittance Senior Vice-President and Business Development Head Ferdinand C. Bacungan said the bank supports BayaniPay’s plans to expand outside the US.
“Whenever we choose a partner that we will support 100%, we look for what they can offer that could benefit the overseas Filipinos and their beneficiaries in the Philippines,” Mr. Bacungan said.
“We have seen the plans of BayaniPay. It started in the US and definitely, based on our discussion, 2023 will be an exciting year both for BayaniPay and BDO as far as expansion is concerned,” he added.
The startup is servicing the Filipino-American community, which is about 4.2 million in population and accounts for $146 billion or 14.4% of the Asian-American market in 2019.
Data from the Philippine central bank showed cash remittances coursed through banks rose 3.8% to $2.84 billion in September from $2.74 billion in the same month last year. The amount of cash sent home by OFWs was the highest in two months or since the $2.92 billion in July.
Nearly half or 41.7% of the overall remittances came from OFWs in the United States. – K.B. Ta-asan