Finology, a Malaysian fintech start-up has been announced as the Grand Final winner of the Seedstars World Competition 2020/21 with a stock investment of $ 500,000.
It competed against 5,000 other startups on different continents, was ranked 1 of 5 finalists and finally emerged victorious yesterday, making it the first Malaysian startup to be the global winner of Seedstars.
Finology is based in KL and specializes in improving access to financial products and services such as markets, API services, etc. The startup is co-founded by Robin Ang and Jared Lim, respectively from entrepreneurial, banking and IT backgrounds.
I went head-to-head with 20 other M’sian teams
Seedstars is a private group based in Switzerland that bills itself as the largest startup competition in the world, and it is also considered one of the most prestigious startup accelerators.
Overall, Finology’s Seedstars experience lasted around 10 months, starting with their application in August 2020. From there, they underwent a preliminary screening and were then invited to compete in a national competition against 20. other Malaysian teams in front of a jury.
When they won in Malaysia, they were then sent to join the regional competition and rehearsed their pitch in the Asian semi-finals and finals with different juries each time.
Throughout, they also participated in Seedstars Academy classroom programs and had access to their panel of mentors with different specializations. And of course, their journey ended with them leading the list in Asia and representing the region in the world final yesterday.
A seasoned player in the fintech scene
Finology currently has 2 markets, Loanstreet and Loanplus. While both work with home loans, here’s how they’re different:
|Direct to the consumer. Users can apply for home and personal loans online, and even purchase motorcycle and car insurance directly from their portal. It also provides instant quotes and eligibility limits for loans from various insurers and banks.||B2B2C service used by real estate developers and real estate agents. When selling a property, they use Loanplus to get mortgage pre-approvals for their clients in minutes.|
Dictionary time: B2B2C (business-to-business-to-consumer) is where company 1 sells its product or service in partnership with company 2 to an end customer.
In addition to that, they also provide credit and insurance APIs for businesses who want to get bank loan pre-approvals for their clients and sell insurance on their own platforms respectively.
So far they have worked with big names like iProperty, Mudah.my, Tropicana, UEM Sunrise, RHB, Hannover Re, Zurich, Gibraltar BSN and international clients.
They didn’t initially think they had a good chance of winning
“We never imagined when we started 10 months ago we would be world champions,” Jared told Vulcan Post. “It wasn’t until we passed the other Asian finalists that we started to think we had a good chance of being champions.”
The special thing about this year’s competition was that everything was also taking place online. “Otherwise, I’ll write to you now from Switzerland,” Jared joked.
Competition practically has its own challenges. There were times when the live broadcasts cut off during their pitching sessions, and times when the voice quality was so poor that juries struggled to listen to what they were saying.
However, the other challenge was that Jared and Robin had to stay awake odd hours for classes and pitching sessions due to the jet lag, as the events took place in the Swiss time zone.
Fortunately for them, the Finology team is able to handle day-to-day operations very well on their own, which has given them time to work on this competition.
Because Robin manages investor relations, Jared took on the role of representing Finology in Seedstars and sharing their company’s progress at every turn.
Out to restart a round after this victory
Seedstars alumni are entitled to common accelerator perks like mentoring, access to Seedstars Academy gear, and even a high likelihood of investing their VC vehicle, with terms and conditions, of course.
“We will be ready to restart a round fresh out of this victory for sure. This will help us bring more financial products and services to the market that have been designed around a seamless delivery experience, ”Jared told Vulcan Post.
They hope their victory will garner more attention and support from budding startups like theirs in Malaysia, and more foreign direct investment (FDI) for the nation.
“I hope this can help tackle the outflow of good companies looking to relocate outside of Malaysia out of necessity.”
Jared Lim, co-founder of Finology
- You can read more about the finology here.
- You can read more about Seedstars here.
Featured Image Credit: Robin Ang and Jared Lim, Co-Founders of Finology
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