Fintech investments in Asia grew five-fold to $2.6b in Q1: report
By Meghna Rao for techinAsia
KPMG and CB Insights today released the Pulse of Fintech, a quarterly report on the state of fintech across the world.
According to the report, 218 deals worth a total of US$4.9 billion were closed across the globe between January and March – more than double the US$1.9 billion that was invested into fintech startups during the previous quarter.
That spike has a lot to do with what’s been going on in Asia. In terms of investment money, the continent alone closed US$2.6 billion worth of deals, beating the global total raised in the fourth quarter of 2015. That’s also more than five times the US$500 million closed in Asia last quarter.
The deals weren’t equally spread out, though. The numbers are skewed by a few big investments that took place in China, namely Lu.com, which raised a series B round of US$1.21 billion, and JD Finance, with a round of US$1.01 billion.
In total, Asia witnessed 36 deals across its shores – which is only a sixth of the total that took place across the globe. Nine deals were struck in China, and 15 in India, which seems to be trying out a different strategy altogether.
India is investing small but in many
While the number of early stage investments in Asia grew from 15 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015 to 39 percent in the past quarter, their average size dropped to US$2 million, a 5-quarter low. It’s definitely not China bringing in those small numbers – five of its nine fintech deals were later stage and ranked amongst the highest in the world.
Singapore brought in a few small deals, like Call Levels which secured an undisclosed pre-series A round in February.
But with 15 closed deals totaling just US$73 million, India’s fintech investments have been bearing the weight of Asia’s smaller deals.
The last time India closed this many investments was in the third quarter of 2015. At that time, however, the total was US$836 million, more than ten times the amount that went into fintech startups this quarter.
Albeit, it was skewed by mobile wallet turned ecommerce site Paytm’s US$890 million funding. The deal happened over two quarters, but it was big enough to take the spotlight both times.
This quarter, the biggest funding round went to Electronic Payments and Services, a company that provides tech products for retail banking. That includes things like ATMs and card management services. It raised a series B round of US$25 million from Apis Growth Fund.
The top three most active fintech VC funds in Asia were East Ventures, 500 Startups, and Accel Partners
Next in line was Power2SME, an online marketplace that sources raw materials for small and medium businesses (SMBs). It lists things like chemicals, inks, paints, and metals. While KPMG reported its latest round as US$20 million in series C funding, other sources claim that it was a series D. The money came from Accel Partners, Inventus Capital, Kalaari Capital, and the ex-CEO of Infosys, Nandan Nilekani.
According to data from analytics company Tracxn, there were 750 registered fintech companies in India in 2015. A hundred and seventy four launched that year alone.
The takeaway here is not to let the lack of big numbers in India fool you – the fintech craze is definitely alive and kicking. Banks are relaxing regulations and pairing up with startups, and Goldman Sachs’ investment arm announced last month that it was interested in putting money into fintech startups in India.
It’s yet to be seen if India will continue this trend of investing small amounts of money in many startups, or if 2016 will see the emergence of its own mega-star, someone even bigger than Paytm. As of now, fintech investments are careful, fast, and small.
Asia as a whole
There will definitely be other mega-stars coming out of Asia that skew funding numbers. At least in the next quarterly report, Ant Financial is guaranteed to take the spotlight with itsUS$4.5 billion round.
And India’s numbers aren’t that small in comparison – outside of China and India, the only other country to get mentioned on the heavily funded fintech list was Israel, with iAngels raising a US$14 million series B round in March.
Some stats: the top three most active fintech venture capital funds in Asia were East Ventures, 500 Startups, and Accel Partners, in that order. Most of India’s investments were completed in its financial capital, Mumbai, which secured 6 deals worth a total of US$29.3 million. And while corporate venture capital activity dropped across the globe, it remained higher than average in Asia.
First appeared at TechinAsia