Image credit: Advanced Payment Merchants

Image credit: Advanced Payment Merchants

Advanced Merchant Payments (AMP), a Hong Kong-based financial technology company that ‘enables banks and other business service providers to deploy alternative-lending technologies’ to startups and MSMEs, has this week announced a US$5 million Series A investment from SBT Venture Capital.

The funds will be used to scale, expand into new markets (it currently operates in Hong Kong, Singapore, the Philippines and London), build out underlying technology and bring on board new partners.

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In an official statement, Thomas J DeLuca, CEO, Advanced Merchant Payments said, “Micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) play a critical role in economic growth and employment, yet many find it impossible to access traditional bank financing — even where they have existing bank relationships.”

DeLuca’s comment highlights the troubles many startups face in the early days before getting their big break. AMP, established in 2009, claims to offer ‘fast, efficient, and profitable’ short-term unsecured loans to MSMEs.

AMP has been recognised by SWIFT as a ‘growth-stage innovator’ during the 2014 Innotribe Startup Challenge, and selected by Accenture to participate in the 2014 FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific.

In Southeast Asia, businesses are not the only ones looking to borrow. As the region’s growing middle-class emerges, consumer lending in Indonesia alone has increased 13-fold between 2001 and 2013, according to research from ICAEW. Singapore saw a five-fold increase over the same period.

Particularly in places like Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and Manila, we’re seeing increased lending, which explains why AMP has enjoyed so much success in the region since 2009, and why it has now secured this sizeable Series A round from SBT.

e27 has reached out to AMP for comments.

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