soCash, the Singapore-headquartered FinTech start-up which allows bank customers to perform banking services (like cash withdrawal, loan applications) at shops via its mobile app, today announced it has raised US$6 million in its series B funding round led by GLORY LTD (GLORY) and participated by SC Ventures and Vertex Ventures.
With the new funds, soCash will grow its distribution network to improve the accessibility and convenience of banking services in Indonesia, Malaysia and Hong Kong; as the company has already acquired the relevant regulatory clearances in these three markets. The start-up is aggressively building its team in all three markets to cater to demands from virtual/digital bank players looking for the smarter distribution alternative to branches and ATMs
“We started soCash to make cash circulation efficient; our platform has now evolved to become the only network that converts neighbourhood shops into "virtual branches", said Hari Sivan, Co-founder & CEO of soCash. With the emergence of virtual banks and open banking, our network is well equipped to offer sales & distribution with flexibility and massive scale.”
For GLORY – a global leader in cash automation which engages in the development, manufacturing, and sale of high-end cash processing & retail automation machines – its participation in the funding round signifies the company’s ambition to venture into the creation of new software & data-driven growth trajectory.
“We are pleased to announce our strategic investment into soCash as the lead investor and proud to be a partner in its growth. GLORY is a global leader in cash processing and retail automation, and we believe that the current supply chain of cash needs to transform as the transportation of cash across large distances costs billions of dollars each year, a cost largely passed on to consumers. soCash’s approach of connecting retailers, banks & consumers on a platform for cash circulation is a perfect fit to GLORY’s hardware & IoT business,” said Minoru Higashiyama, Leader of the Long-Term Vision Project Team at GLORY.
“The combination of data, hardware and software lead to opportunities that help the society to meet its flexible payment needs. As our long-term vision, GLORY would like to make the cash society a better place by optimizing the physical and digital cash cycle. soCash is realizing this concept in the Asia-Pacific region and aligns perfectly with GLORY's long-term vision.”
As the first bank in Singapore to partner with soCash, Standard Chartered has integrated soCash into SC Mobile, its mobile banking app in Singapore, since 2017 to increase customer convenience by enabling them to withdraw cash through a network of retail outlets instead of depending solely on branches and ATMs.
Alex Manson Global Head of SC Ventures, Standard Chartered Bank’s innovation, investment and ventures arm, said: “While banking becomes more and more digital, cash remains one of the primary modes of transaction in most of the world. Any digital strategy needs to connect digital and cash ecosystems, so consumers gain access to services even in the absence of physical distribution networks. Our investment in soCash will give us valuable insights into the usage and the future of cash, without conventional costly channels such as branch counters and ATMs, while supporting soCash’s plans to scale up in markets within our footprint.”
Launched in mid-2018, the soCash app started off by allowing bank customers to withdraw cash from stores as they would at conventional ATMs, without the need for card and pin. As its technology directly plugs into the banks’ APIs, users can place a cash order via the soCash app and select a nearby merchant to collect the cash from, while the app deducts the selected amount from the customer’s account.
The start-up recently added ICBC to its list of partner banks in Singapore, which also includes Standard Chartered, DBS and POSB. Meanwhile, its cash network platform now comprises more than 1,400 shops around Singapore and is creating the network in Malaysia and Indonesia; with its service available at retail chains such as SPH Buzz, U Stars supermarket, iECON stores, U Mart, 7-Eleven and HAO Mart. Following its Series B round, the company is looking to quickly scale up the penetration of its services across Southeast Asia and will seek to form partnerships to scale up in the region.