It competed against 5,000 more startups from several continents, was reduced to 1 in 5 finalists and finally emerged victorious yesterday, becoming the first startup in Malaysia to be the overall winner of Seedstars.
Finology is headquartered in KL and specializes in improving access to financial products and services such as markets, API services and more. The start-up is co-founded by Robin Ang and Jared Lim, who came from business, as well as banking and computer science, respectively.
He was face to face with 20 other M’sian teams
Seedstars is a private group based in Switzerland that is branded as the largest start-up competition in the world and is also considered one of the most prestigious start-up accelerators.
In general, the experience of Finology in the Seedstars took about ten months, starting with their application in August 2020. From there, they went through a preliminary test and were invited to present- to a national competition against another 20 Malaysian teams in front of a jury.
When they won in Malaysia, they were later sent to join the regional competition and repeated their pitching in the Asian semi-finals and finals with groups of different judges each time.
Throughout, they also participated in Seedstars Academy classroom programs and had access to their mentor panel with different specializations. And of course, their trip ended with the position that topped the list in Asia and represented the region yesterday in the world finals.
An experienced player in the fintech technology scene
Finology currently has 2 markets, Loanstreet and Loanplus. While both work with home loans, this is how they are different:
|Direct to the consumer. Users can apply for home loans and personal loans online and even buy motorcycle and car insurance directly from their portal. It also provides instant quotes and loan eligibility limits for various insurers and banks.
|B2B2C service used by real estate developers and real estate agents. When they sell a property, they use Loanplus to get pre-mortgage approval for their customers in minutes.
Dictionary time: B2B2C (company-company-consumer) is the place where company 1 sells its product or service in collaboration with company 2 to an end customer.
In addition, they also provide credit and insurance APIs for companies that want to get pre-approved bank loans for their customers and sell insurance on their own platforms, respectively.
So far they have worked with big names like iProperty, Mudah.my, Tropicana, EMU Sunrise, RHB, Hannover Re, Zurich, Gibraltar BSN and international clients.
They didn’t think they initially had a good chance of winning
“We would never have imagined it when we started ten months ago, we would be world champions,” Jared shared with Vulcan Post. “Only after overcoming the other Asian finalists did we start to think we had a good chance of being champions.”
What made this year’s competition special was that everything was also held online. “Otherwise, I would write to you now from Switzerland,” Jared joked.
Competing practically has its own set of challenges. There were times when live broadcasts were cut during their pitching sessions and times when the quality of the voice was so low that the jurors struggled to hear what they were saying.
However, the other challenge was that both Jared and Robin had to stay awake during the weird hours for classes and pitching sessions due to time differences, as events took place in the Swiss time zone.
Luckily for them, the Finology team is able to manage day-to-day operations on their own, which gave them time to work on this competition.
As Robin manages investor relations, Jared took on the role of representing Finology at Seedstars and sharing the progress of his business each round.
Out of winning a round after that victory
Seedstars alumni are entitled to common throttle benefits, such as tutoring, access to Seedstars Academy materials, and even a high probability of investing in their VC vehicle, with terms and conditions, of course.
“We will be out to increase the round with this victory for sure. This will help us bring to market more financial products and services that have been designed around a seamless delivery experience, ”Jared told Vulcan Post.
They hope their victory will attract more attention and attract the support of emerging companies like yours in Malaysia and more foreign direct investment (FDI) for the nation.
“Hopefully, this can help address the departure of good companies looking to relocate outside of Malaysia out of necessity.”
Jared Lim, co-founder of Finology
Featured Image Credit: Robin Ang and Jared Lim, co-founders of Finology