The Rise of Fintech in Southeast Asia with Wobe
Indonesia-based, female employment & empowerment startup Wobe, (pronounced ‘Woh-Bay’), recently won the Her Startup Global Finals Competition in Santa Clara, California on July 20, 2016. The win follows Wobe’s previous June victory at the regional Southeast Asia Her Startup competition in Indonesia. As a result, Tim Draper, of our own Draper Associates, who was a judge at the event, decided to invest $100,000 in the company’s seed round. Also participating is Draper Network fund Wavemaker Partners, which had participated in their prior funding round. The Singapore-based fund was instrumental in introducing Wobe across the Draper Network.
Wobe enables millions of unbanked Southeast Asians to perform micropayments with an e-wallet on their smartphones. The startup’s users can process person-to-person bills and utilities through Wobe’s mobile application in order to generate income for themselves and their families. The app allows anyone to start a business by selling prepaid phone credit as well as electricity and water vouchers, a common practice in Southeast Asia.
With this Seed round of fundraising, Wobe’s plans are to grow extensively in Java & Sumatra. In October, the company will launch a vastly improved product that can process tens of thousands of transactions per second. By December 2016, the company is hoping to announce 1,000 active agents on Wobe’s platform, processing 10,000 transactions a day. By the summer of 2017, Wobe’s expansion of agents, ambassadors, and field teams will have grown from solely operating in Singapore to operating in all of Southeast Asia’s top provinces, which accounts for 200 million people.
Adrianna Tan, founder and CEO of Wobe, says, “This seed round helps us create at least 5,000 jobs for women in the 4th biggest country in the world [Indonesia] where internet connectivity has sped up but its banking services have not paralleled this growth.” The CEO’s ultimate goal is to enable any Southeast Asian with a smartphone to start a business.
In 2015, Adrianna was named “Power Women in FinTech” by Innotribe as well as “Top Female Entrepreneur 2015” by True Global Ventures. Wobe will be the company to watch as Indonesia’s e-commerce market is projected to reach $130 billion (USD) by 2020, following closely behind China and Indiaas the next mobile frontier.