Payments startup just raised $5m from some familiar names

By  for TechInAsia

Online payments startup has landed a series A funding round worth US$5 million, the company announced today. The round is led by Accion Frontier Inclusion Fund, a global emerging markets fintech fund focused on financial inclusion, which is managed by similarly-minded investment firm Quona Capital.

Other investors like Wavemaker Partners, Global Brain, BeeNext, Rebright Partners, as well as Kickstart Ventures and Ideaspace Foundation – the investment arms of Filipino telcos Globe Telecom and Smart Communications respectively – joined in. Innovation Endeavors, Pantera Capital, and Digital Currency Group also participated.

The money is immediately available to the Philippines-based company and will be put toward growth, co-founder and CEO Ron Hose confirms to Tech in Asia. “[The funding] comes at a time when we have already been able to validate some base assumptions in our business model, as well as build a loyal customer base,” he says.

Coins has created an alternative banking system to serve people who don’t have access to traditional banking in Southeast Asia and other developing markets. According to the startup, that’s 58 percent of the region’s 610 million-strong population. is using the blockchain to enable financial services like money remittances.

“In the Philippines, more people have a Facebook account than a bank account,” Ron says in a statement. “We’d like to make access to financial services as easy and approachable as getting a Facebook account.”

The company is using the blockchain to enable financial services like money remittances, bill payments, and mobile credit top-up. It’s also one of the players trying to widen the scope for Bitcoin in the country.

Its e-wallet can be topped up with cash easily at partner businesses or even individual “tellers” through their phone. Money can then be transferred quickly and cost-effectively.

Coins says it has partnered with banks, financial institutions, and retailers to form a network with over 22,000 locations in the Philippines, where people can collect their cash. It claims to have signed up over 500,000 users so far, but doesn’t disclose active user or transaction numbers.

The service currently operates in the Philippines and Thailand. Coins doesn’t intend to explore more markets immediately, choosing to stay focused on its current ones, Ron says. “Growth is still our number one objective,” he explains. “For us, growth means seeing more consumers have direct access to financial services.”

First appeared at TIA