Singapore fintech startup KOKU targets Indonesia expansion

Fintech sees opportunities in inbound and outbound remittance, and will collaborate with partners such as e-wallet and micro-lending firms, remittance and money exchange businesses

Singapore-based fintech KOKU announced on August 13 its plans to expand into Indonesia. Its regional expansion follows from KOKU’s successful US$2 million pre-series A funding round earlier this year, which was led by Decent Capital, an investment firm started by Jason Zeng, who cofounded Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings.

KOKU works with non-bank financial intermediaries (NBFIs) to build foreign exchange (FX) technology solutions and is already exploring initial projects with NBFI partners in Indonesia.

KOKU views Indonesia as an increasingly promising market with a high migrant population and increasing inbound and outbound remittance. Through technology, there is immense potential for Indonesia to grow its remittance industry as well as contribute to the growth of the region’s e-payments and money transfer capabilities.

According to the World Bank, Indonesia’s economy has experienced tremendous improvements and growth, partly due to the contributions of its remittance industry. Examples of this growth include double-digit growth of 24.7 percent in 2018, and a recorded transaction value of US$8.9 billion in foreign exchange sent by migrant workers in 2017. Indonesia is also considered one of the top ten largest remittance recipients in Asia in 2018, per the Asian Development Bank’s estimates.

“Indonesia is uniquely fragmented, and for us this presents great opportunity to contribute to the growth of the country’s financial capability as well as the region’s. We offer technology that doesn’t silo growth, but enables our partners to grow to their strengths, whilst at the same time leaving room to collaborate and tap on the strength of others,” says Calvin Goh, founder and CEO of KOKU.

As part of KOKU’s strategic plans to expand into Indonesia, KOKU will move to collaborate with partners who possess expertise in the local market. These partners include e-wallet players, micro-lending and payment companies, remittance and money exchange businesses.

Partnerships with these NBFIs will be centered around the integration of KOKU’s technology into existing operations – ensuring that partners have the ability to go to market quickly and without disruption to their business. In addition, KOKU is potentially exploring opportunities to partner with local supermarkets and convenience stores, which will act as points of access to financial services, which will help the unbanked community move closer to financial inclusion.

“We’re extremely strategic in the way we approach our growth. Expansion into Indonesia will be very much dependent on engaging with the right partners. We want to ensure that our technology is localized to adhere to cultural needs and business needs,” Goh adds.

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