Singapore finance portal MoneySmart raises US$10M to boost presence in APAC

Singapore-based personal finance portal MoneySmart has raised S$14 million (US$10 million) in a Series B round led by Inc, a Japanese online service provider. Existing investors SPH Media Fund and Golden Gate Ventures also participated in the round.

MoneySmart will use the fresh round of financing to boost its presence in Singapore and Indonesia, and expand into new regional markets. This will be achieved through stronger marketing efforts, and hiring of new talents across all its teams, including platform, content, business development and marketing.

Genta Sugihara, Senior Executive Officer, Corporate Development Division of Kakaku Inc, said that there are clear synergies between MoneySmart’s and Kakaku’s business models.

He explained that like MoneySmart, which helps consumers get the best financial advice, Kakaku, too, is in the business of empowering consumers using the necessary tools. For example, its price comparison tools help shoppers in Japan find goods for the best price.

What is interesting about Kakaku is that it operates a host of different services in different verticals, each with their own branding (Sugihara said that some consumers do not even realise that these portals are all owned by Kakaku). These brands include Tabelog, a user review and ranking site for restaurants; and Kinarino, an online lifestyle media portal.

Sugihara said that he was impressed by MoneySmart’s ability to capture both the developed (Singapore) and developing (Indonesia) markets.

The partnership with MoneySmart will not just be one of financial backing; Sugihara said Kakaku will be “trading knowledge” with the teams. The end goal for Kakaku is that it wants to expand its footprint in Southeast Asia. To do that, Sugihara said he needs to learn about the regional market and user habits — and MoneySmart will be a good starting point.

Founded in 2009, MoneySmart began by offering Singaporeans information on home loan packages. Today, it has 17 different personal finance information products, including credit cards, insurance, loans and bank accounts.

User growth has also jumped by 40 per cent since 2015. Currently, MoneySmart claims that the site is visited by an average of 700,000 unique visitors per month.

Regarding future projects, Nair told e27 that the “next few products in the pipeline will be around investments. Investments is a very big category and most people get stuck because they don’t know how to start. We want to create a solution that helps people figure out when to start investing and not miss out.”

“We will probably be a resource platform for people to search for the different investment [products]. Then we pass them on to partners who will be able to help them carry out such investments.”

He elaborated by stating that there are two aspects of MoneySmart — the first is the content aspect, which would teach people how to start investing. Then there is the platform to figure out the investors’ profile and risk appetite.

Original article here by e27

Attributed to Yon Heong Tung