Fintech startup soCash raises US$600K to help consumers withdraw cash from shops

By Yon Heong Tung for

Singapore-based fintech startup soCash has announced it has US$600,000 from a group of undisclosed angel investors that include veteran bankers and technologists.

It will use the newly-raised capital to boost its sales team to tap into more banking networks and expand to new regional markets. soCash previously about US$300,000 from angel investors and also got a government grant of an undisclosed sum from Singapore’s central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

It said it had a total of US$925,000 cash injections prior to this new round.

Launched in May 2016 by co-founder and CEO Hari Sivan, soCash turns any physical retail store into a cash withdrawal point — and without the need for the customer to spend money first (unlike supermarket stores in Australia that require a purchase).

soCash is cheaper to set up compared to an ATM because all it takes is integrating a cash management platform into banks’ mobile apps.

Sivan said he is not afraid of the myriad of digital payment platforms popping up in the burgeoning fintech sector.

“Data from central banks like Singapore, US, Australia, EU show growth in demand for cash…Cashless / less-cash scenarios are possible but it is potentially in 20-25 years, so the runway is pretty long,” he told e27. According to data provided by the MAS, over US$65.7 billion cash withdrawals were conducted in Singapore in 2015.

Sivan added that advocating a complete switch to a cashless economy is questionable, given that cash is still an efficient payment product.

“Cash transactions do not involve the MDR (merchant discount rate), they enable instant settlement, are universally accepted, do not require expensive hardware and control consumer debt by promoting conscious spending. If the ‘cost of cash’ is the problem, then it is a problem with the current vintage supply chain of cash and soCash solves it,” he said.

Going forward, soCash will accelerate product development and boost its current cash payment offerings, which includes withdrawals, deposits, invoice payments and conversion.

“We are focused on growing in Asia — with a focus on Singapore, India, Japan and selected ASEAN markets — and we will continue our partnerships with banks in the region to grow our market share in cash management. We are also working with retailers with large networks to offer cash management services and this creates the network that is essential to make cash social and peer to peer,” concluded Sivan.

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