MANILA, Philippines — One of the country’s leading financial technology platforms raised over P6 billion from local and international investors as the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic bolsters demand for electronic payments.

Voyager Innovations, the technology company behind mobile wallet PayMaya, received fresh funding to the tune of $120 million (P6.1) billion to support its aggressive expansion plans.

The money came from existing shareholders PLDT Inc., China’s Tencent as well as KKR and the International Finance Corp. (IFC), both based in the US.

Demand for services such as PayMaya are going up as millions of Filipinos are confined to their homes to halt the spread of COVID-19. Banks have also encouraged clients to use digital options amid a Luzon enhanced community quarantine that has restricted the movement of people.

“This fresh round of investment is a testament to Voyager’s success in providing Filipinos with access to convenient, relevant and inclusive digital financial services through PayMaya,” the companies said in a joint statement on Monday.

“This is also a recognition of the significant role that the Philippine financial technology industry can play in providing meaningful digital solutions to many of the crucial and very-human challenges that the Philippine community faces today,” they added in statement.

The funding comes amid the challenging investment climate in the Philippines and overseas as efforts to contain the outbreak are likely to cause economies around the world to contract.

Voyager plans to use the money to support the growth programs of PayMaya, best known to customers as the smartphone app used to buy goods and services without cash.

PayMaya, whose platform also supports businesses and government agencies, earlier announced a goal of reaching P1 trillion in transaction volume by 2023.

“In line with the country’s goals, we have made significant strides in spurring cashless adoption in a largely unbanked population. This funding boosts PayMaya’s ability to reach more Filipinos, especially as access to digital financial services becomes even more important,” Orlando B. Vea, CEO and Founder of Voyager Innovations, said in the statement.

The funding round adds to the $215 million (P10.9 billion) that Voyager had raised from Tencent, the Chinese technology giant that developed WeChat, KKR and IFC since 2018.

“Today, more than ever, our end-to-end digital financial services are becoming more relevant and embedded in the daily lives of Filipinos – from sending money, buying airtime load, or paying for purchases through our PayMaya wallet,” said Shailesh Baidwan, President of Voyager Innovations and PayMaya Philippines.

PayMaya competes with local players such as GCash, the fintech backed by the Ayala Group and Chinese billionaire Jack Ma.

During the COVID-19 crisis, fintech platforms have also turned into avenues for private sector donations.

PayMaya launched its #OneAgainstCOVID19 in partnership with organizations such as the Philippine Red Cross, UNICEF, Oxfam Pilipinas, UP PGH Medical Foundation, and Caritas Manila. The campaign has so far raised P15.1 million.

EDV


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