Singapore fintech startup OOjiBO raises US$3.6M to serve the unbanked
By Yon Heong Tung for e27.com
OOjiBO offers a full stack solution that can allow the unbanked to make digital payments even without data
Singapore-based fintech startup OOjiBO has raised a S$5 million (US$3.6 million) in a Pre-Series A round led by Centurion Private Equity. Wong Kok Hoe, Director at Centurion, managed the investment and joined OOjiBO’s board of directors.
The mobile payments platform plans to use its investment to launch into two new emerging markets in Southeast Asia — Indonesia and Thailand. It will also begin cross-border remittance within countries where OOJiBO has a presence. Currently, OOjiBO is only available in Myanmar.
Launched in November 2014, OOjiBO was founded by co-founder and CEO Yeng Fook Hoo, a veteran in the banking industry with over 40 years of experience. Prior to OOjiBO, Yeng, who is in his 60s, started and listed the largest credit card terminal and payment system in South East Asia, GHL System. He retired after running it for 15 years.
After three years, he came out of retirement to build OOjiBO with two co-founders, William Pu and Wong Hok Siong, also experienced professionals in the finance industry.
OOJiBO says its solution works as a full stack retail banking system on a mobile phone. It offers a full suite of services from p2p transfers, retail payments, interest bearing accounts, e-commerce payments, cross-border remittance, cash in/cash out service, debit/credit card virtualisation, utilities payment and mobile phone top-ups.
It is phone agnostic and can be used on both smartphones and feature phones. In areas where data connections are poor or non-existent, the OOjiBO system will automatically switch to an STK (SMS) format. This solution allows it to deliver financial inclusion to people living in rural areas or places with frequent electricity outages.
“We have also designed ourselves to solely work on the mobile network and not requiring other infrastructure or the need to fully integrate into an existing core bank system. This has allowed us to bring the cost of reach and banking significantly lower. Basically, beyond your existing device, there is no other infrastructure that is needed to be installed or built,” OOJiBO tells e27.
One key feature that OOjiBO says makes it different from many e-wallets or digital platforms, which typically relies on a frontend system, is its agency network.
“We run our own network of agents to create branchless banking. We believe in an offline-online model. Through owning our own agency network we are able to control our cost structure and not rely on other people,” says OOJiBO.
“Our agency network has also allowed us to reach areas that were not previously available, for example, the Kachin state in Myanmar. Kachin state is still going through civil war and is a mountainous area, however through our agency network, we are able to operate within the region to bring much needed financial inclusion to the people of Kachin.”
The other key feature of its system is its security feature.
OOjiBO has created a hardware and software security chip that enables encryption and key rotation system. Depending the level of KYC and limit of transaction amount, it issues a physical sim sticker that contains a security chip and module that will do encryption each time a transaction is sent and received.