Allianz X leads $75 million investment in Hong Kong-based FinTech startup to disrupt the traditional bank lending model
WeLab, a Hong Kong-based fintech company offering virtual banking and consumer financing solutions, today announced it has closed $75 million in Series C-1 funding. The round, which brings the company’s total funding to $600 million, was led by Allianz X, a digital investment unit of the Germany-based Allianz Group, one of the world’s largest insurers and asset managers.
The new funding, together with Allianz partnership, will bolster the acceleration of WeLab’s pan-Asian growth strategy and expansion of digital financial services. In addition to the funding, WeLab announced a strategic partnership with Allianz to drive fintech collaboration across Asia’s financial services landscape.
WeLab was founded in 2013 by Ananth Solaiyappan, Frances Kang, Kelly Wong, and Simon Loong, From inception, the founders saw the inefficiency of traditional bank operations and believed that it was difficult to provide consumers with convenient and fast credit services. With this, they left traditional banks and founded WeLab.
WeLab operates multiple online financial services with leading positions in Hong Kong, Mainland China, and Indonesia including digital banking and consumer finance businesses, with close to 50 million individual users and over 600 enterprise customers. As Asia sails into the digital banking revolution and many countries in the region are in the process of studying or implementing digital banking frameworks.
The startup is ahead of the curve, spearheading the new age of banking operating WeLab Bank in Hong Kong — one of the first fully-licensed digital banks in Asia since obtaining its license in early 2019. With its unique market knowledge and extensive network, WeLab is perfectly positioned in this strategic partnership with Allianz to take advantage of the vast opportunities in Asia where its total addressable market size for financial services is close to US$3 trillion in annual revenue.
Commenting on the funding, Simon Loong, Founder and Group CEO of WeLab, said, “We are thrilled to welcome Allianz as an investor and strategic partner to the WeLab Group. We see this as a first-in-market 4-way partnership where there are abundant synergies between WeLab, as a fintech leader and a pioneer in digital banking, and Allianz, as a global insurer and asset manager. More importantly, both companies share a vision on delivering advanced technology solutions to customers in Asia.”
Loong added: “Today, we announce both the new round of funding and a strategic partnership in wealth tech and banking at WeLab Bank. We look forward to expanding WeLab’s geographical presence and bringing our technology into these new markets with Allianz. We will be expediting our hiring this year, aiming to add around 100 hires, as investing in people and culture will be key to support future growth.”
Nazim Cetin, CEO of Allianz X, said, “In a relatively short amount of time, WeLab has built up a powerful platform for digital financial services and achieved excellent access to retail and business customers in Asia, a region of strategic importance for Allianz. WeLab’s high-performance technology platform, in particular, makes it a unique fintech in the Asian markets. The investment in WeLab is a promising one for Allianz both economically and strategically. We look forward to leveraging our strategic partnership with WeLab and the business potential in the region.”