soCash, a Singapore-headquartered fintech startup that allows bank customers to perform banking services like cash withdrawal and loan applications at retails shops via a mobile app, today announced it has raised US$6 million in its Series B round of funding led by Japan’s cash automation tech company Glory Ltd.

Standard Chartered investment arm SC Ventures and Southeast Asian VC firm Vertex Ventures also joined the round.

soCash will use the funds to grow its distribution network in order to improve the accessibility and convenience of banking services in Indonesia, Malaysia and Hong Kong. The firm has already acquired the relevant regulatory clearances in these three markets. The startup is also building its team in all three markets.

“We started soCash to make cash circulation efficient; our platform has now evolved to become the only network that converts neighbourhood shops into ‘virtual branches’,” said Hari Sivan, Co-founder and CEO of soCash. “With the emergence of virtual banks and open banking, our network is well equipped to offer sales and distribution with flexibility and massive scale.”

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Launched in mid-2018, the soCash app started off by allowing bank customers to withdraw cash from stores as they would at conventional ATMs, without the need for card and pin. As its technology directly plugs into the banks’ APIs, users can place a cash order via the soCash app and select a nearby merchant to collect the cash from, while the app deducts the selected amount from the customer’s account.

The startup recently added ICBC to its list of partner banks in Singapore, which also includes Standard Chartered, DBS and POSB. Standard Chartered has integrated soCash into SC Mobile, its mobile banking app in Singapore, since 2017 to increase customer convenience by enabling them to withdraw cash through a network of retail outlets instead of depending solely on branches and ATMs.

soCash claims it now has a network of more than 1,400 shops around Singapore and is creating the network in Malaysia and Indonesia; with its service available at retail chains such as SPH Buzz, U Stars supermarket, iECON stores, U Mart, 7-Eleven and HAO Mart.

The firm has previously received US$5.5 million in Series A funding from Vertex Ventures in August 2018. soCash is also a recipient of Monetary Authority of Singapore’s FTSI Grant under the Proof of Concept scheme.

“Glory is a global leader in cash processing and retail automation, and we believe that the current supply chain of cash needs to transform as the transportation of cash across large distances costs billions of dollars each year, a cost largely passed on to consumers. soCash’s approach of connecting retailers, banks and consumers on a platform for cash circulation is a perfect fit to Glory’s hardware and IoT business,” said Minoru Higashiyama, Leader of the Long-Term Vision Project Team at Glory.

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Alex Manson, Global Head of SC Ventures, said: “While banking becomes more and more digital, cash remains one of the primary modes of transaction in most of the world. Any digital strategy needs to connect digital and cash ecosystems, so consumers gain access to services even in the absence of physical distribution networks. Our investment in soCash will give us valuable insights into the usage and the future of cash, without conventional costly channels such as branch counters and ATMs, while supporting soCash’s plans to scale up in markets within our footprint.”