VENTENY is a Philippines-based company with one of the more unique business models e27 has come across in awhile. The startup is trying to solve the problem of employee churn by offering two distinctly different services.
First, VENTENY allows companies to institued an employee loyalty-point system — sort of like the stamp-system widely used in restaurants across the world. Employees are incentivised by discounts to restaurants, hotels, gyms and other activities.
What makes VENTENY so interesting is the second part of its business model, short-term lending.
In partnership with banks and non-bank financial institutions, VENTENY customers can take out short-term loans; with the idea being that employees won’t be forced to quit over a short-term financial problem.
The company announced today it raised an undisclosed seed round led by Singapore’s KK Fund. The Japanese financial group Ocean Capital Inc. also participated in the round.
“I see many companies in Southeast Asia have been facing issues with low engagement and high turnover rate of employees due to the reasons that employees sometimes experience short of cash, lack of credit, lack of reason to stay in the same company,” said VENTENY CEO Junichiro Waide in a statement.
In an email to e27, Waide explained that the lending and employee perks services operate separately under the same platform.
When asked about underwriting procedure and if employers can see if their employees lending habits, Waide did not answer the questions, citing future competition.
As for the employee perks system, Waide explained the following:
“The employee can view the listings of the perks and benefits from the platform (web and mobile).
“From there the employee can see the different perks and benefits, composed of discounts, freebies and many more, and the perks and benefits are standard for all clients.”
With the money, VENTENY plans to scale more rapidly and focus on hiring, building new features and regional expansion.
The startup already has 40,000 registered employees in the Philippines and said it is doubling in size year-on-year.
Southeast Asia’s unbanked
One of the defining characteristics of Southeast Asia’s fintech industry is the fact that much of the region remains unbanked. In 2015, McKinsey published an in-depth report that estimated about 300 million people in the region did not have a bank account.
This creates problems when people need to take out loans and don’t have a financial history. It is one of the biggest pain points in Southeast Asia’s financial services industry and many companies are working to build products for these people.
Koichi Saito, Founder and General Partner for KK Fund, explained that there is a large demand for consumer loans, but it can be difficult to ascertain creditworthiness due to lack of data.
“By working with corporates, VENTENY has unique visibility to borrower’s ability to repay loans and can leverage on that in order provide short-term loans efficiently to borrowers,” he said.
VENTENY highlighted the fact that it has non-bank financial services companies on its platform — giving the Philippines’ unbanked an alternative method to apply for loans.
Copyright: fazon / 123RF Stock Photo