PLDT’s digital unit Voyager Innovations has secured investment worth $167 million to help it expand into financial services via a new digital bank.
Voyager Innovations has procured the funds from its existing investors KKR and Tencent, along with new investor IFC Asset Management. The latter group is a division of International Finance, a member of the World Bank Group. Voyager Innovations also counts the World Bank among its existing investors.
The sum includes $46 million of previously pledged investment along with $121 million of new funds. In April 2020, KKR and Tencent pledged to provide up to $120 million of investment to help Voyager Innovations grow its digital payment offering.
PLDT confirmed that its fintech unit PayMaya Philippines would use the investments to “fast-track financial inclusion” across the nation, and noted that Voyager Innovations has applied for a digital bank licence with the Philippines’ Central Bank, BSP (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas). It plans to offer services including credit, insurance, savings, and investments.
PayMaya has seen strong consumer adoption of its mobile wallet and remittance services, with registered users doubling to 38 million across the 18 months up to June 2021. Orlando B. Vea, Voyager and PayMaya CEO-Founder, said: “This investment supports the unique value we bring and gives us a natural head start with the target market for the digital banking service.”
Shailesh Baidwan, the president of both Voyager Innovations and PayMaya, said: “As we did with payments and remittances, we will enable the large masses of Filipinos to leapfrog into a new stage of financial inclusion through integrated digital financial services. Our goal is to continue making lives better for millions of underserved people and small businesses, with cutting edge solutions that are affordable and relevant.”
In the Philippines, only one in three adults has a formal bank account. The country’s central bank aims to digitalise 50% of the total volume of retail payments and expand the financially included to 70% of Filipino adults by 2023.