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Digital start-up raises $300K

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A financial institution employee counts hundred-dollar bills. Digicro says it has raised $300,000 in seed capital from Showcase Capital to help them develop their microloan service mobile app. Heng Chivoan

Digital start-up raises $300K

Cambodia-based digital microfinance start-up Digicro Pte Ltd has raised $300,000 in seed capital from the Tokyo-headquartered Showcase Capital Co Ltd which will help them develop their microloan service mobile application, according to an announcement from the firm.

The microloan service, provided through the mobile application Spean Loan, is developed by Spean Luy Co Ltd, a subsidiary of Digicro. The firm was founded by Yuta Nagano last year, who also runs a financial comparison site Spean Luy which allows users to compare interest rates offered on loan products across various Cambodian lenders.

‘Serve those underserved’

Nagano said more than 60 per cent of Cambodians have access to internet but many of them still cannot get a loan because they have lack official documents or collateral to provide, or they live in a remote area where banks don’t operate.

“Our team developed Spean Loan to serve those underserved through our app. The instant approval will help micro entrepreneurs get their daily working capital and people who need emergency funds,” he said.

The app will enable borrowers to apply for small loans ranging from $50 up to $1,000 without paperwork or an office visit. Spean Loan uses machine learning to build a credit scoring system and evaluate a client’s ability to repay.

Despite getting $300,000 in seed capital from Showcase Capital, the start-up is awaiting regulatory approval before launching the app.

A representative from the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) – the Kingdom’s central bank – could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

Financial technology (fintech) start-ups are still at a nascent stage in Cambodia. The first fintech organisation in the country, the Cambodia Fintech Association, was established in August last year in anticipation of a boom in phone-based monetary services.

Cambodian fintech start-up Clik announced in November that it has raised $2 million in seed funding led by Limestone Technology and OpenWay, along with several angel investors from the Kingdom’s retail sector.

The company expects to launch operations in the second quarter of this year as soon as it receives a Payment Service Provider licence from NBC.

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