The pandemic has spurred interest in savings and investment apps around the world, especially those aimed at new investors. In Southeast Asia, startups in this space that have raised funds in recent months include Ajaib, Bibit, and Stashaway, and that’s only a (very) partial list. Today, Infina, which calls itself the “Robinhood of Vietnam”, announces an oversubscribed funding round of $ 2 million.
The seed funding, which was completed in two closings, included participation from Saison Capital, Venturra Discovery, 1982 Ventures, 500 Startups, Nextrans and angel investors such as executives from Google and Netflix.
Infina launched its app in January 2021. Most of its users are between the ages of 25 and 40 and are looking for alternatives to investing in long-term asset classes like real estate. The app requires a minimum contribution of around $ 25 and allows investors to choose from assets including savings accounts, term deposits, fractional real estate, and mutual funds including founder and CEO James Vuong said TechCrunch is currently the most popular asset class among Infina users. . Infina works with financial partners such as Dragon Capital, ACB Capital, Mirae Asset Fund Management and Viet Capital Asset Management.
The company notes that only about 3.2% of Vietnamese have invested in stocks. But according to the Vietnams Securities Depository, around 500,000 trading accounts were opened in the first five months of 2021, a 20% increase over the whole of 2020. This, along with the high penetration rate of The internet in Vietnam (around 70% as of January 2020) and the fact that more than 3/4 of internet users have already used online financial services is laying the groundwork for applications like Infina to gain momentum.
In a statement about his investment, Chris Sirise, Season Capital partner, said: “Retail investment in Vietnam is at an inflection point and we have seen several other emerging markets reach that point. breaking up. With an experienced team passionate about financial literacy and education, Infina is well positioned to ride this wave of growth.
Prior to founding Infina, Vuong was an engineer in Silicon Valley before returning to Vietnam to serve as Vice President of Investments and Kauffman Fellow at IDG Ventures. He also founded a startup called Lana Group which was acquired by Line Group. Vuong told TechCrunch that he believes Vietnam is entering a “golden decade” of uninterrupted hyper growth like other Asian tigers have had in the past, “and created Infina to give retail investors a chance to participate in Vietnam’s financial trajectory.
While at home through various stages of the lockdown in Vietnam, Vuong said many internet users began to switch to digital services, including for investments. He added that a series of interest rate cuts by the Central Bank of Vietnam to help businesses during COVID-19 has prompted many retail investors to seek alternatives with higher yields than term deposits.
“The majority of our users are new investors,” Vuong said. “Although they are familiar with saving, investing in fixed income or in mutual funds is relatively new to them. »The interface and the content of the application are intended for them.
When users sign up, Infina studies their risk and reward profile and then recommends an asset to get started. As they continue to invest, Infina users see information about the risk and reward profile of each asset class and the issuer profile, investment strategy and historical performance. Like other investing apps with many new investors, Infina also creates its own educational content, like blog posts, daily newsletters, and videos.
“We are very transparent in communications about risks and rewards, benefits and costs, and this is our advantage over other platforms,” Vuong said. He added that part of the new funding will be used to hire people with technical and investment training to further develop Infina’s KYC (know your customer) system to better analyze their risk appetite, as well as its risk appetite. valuation system for each asset class.
Other investment applications in Vietnam include Finhay and Tikop. When asked how Infina differentiates itself from its competitors, Vuong noted its wide range of asset classes, low minimum, and transparency about different types of investments. He added that Infina is not majority owned or tied to any particular issuer, “which allows us to be neutral and work with all of the high quality fund managers across the country.”