Infina, the ‘Robinhood of Vietnam’, secures $6 million to democratize retail investing
Robinhood has forever changed the way we invest. Before its GameStop saga with retail investors on Reddit, Robinhood was the free-trading app to democratize investing by giving everyone an equal opportunity to participate in the financial markets. The startup also made it affordable for anyone to buy stock and cryptocurrencies commission-free.
Now one founder is aiming at doing the same thing in Vietnam, a country with a young population of 97 million that is made up mostly of Millenials and Gen Z, many of whom are seeing increased incomes and have an appetite for investing.
Last year, James Vuong founded Infina to tap into Vietnam’s rapidly-growing retail investor market and a goal of becoming the Robinhood of Vietnam. “We want to be the Robinhood of Vietnam – and the Coinbase too,” says Vuong, CEO of Infina.
Today, Infina it has closed $6 million in seed funding from investors such as Sequoia Capital India’s Surge, Y Combinator, Saison Capital, Starling Ventures, Alpha JWC, and AppWorks. Additional investors who have backed Robinhood, Coinbase, and similar models in other markets also participated in the funding.
Vuong is a Silicon Valley engineer turned SE Asia VC investor, turned serial entrepreneur. Before founding Infina, Vuong previously founded Lana Group, which was acquired by LINE Corp. Prior to that, James was VP of Investment and Kauffman Fellow at IDG Ventures. He received his MBA in Technology Management from UC Berkeley Haas School of Business and BSc in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from UC Berkeley.
Infina joins the retail investing app revolution with companies like Ajaib in Indonesia, Groww in India, and Tiger in China that have enabled a new wave of avid retail investors around the world to access financial markets like never before. The Infina app is designed to make investing more accessible, easy, and safe for the young, tech-savvy Vietnamese who are looking to start their investing journey.
Vietnam’s benchmark stock market index hit record highs last year, rising 28.1% year-to-date in December 2021 and outperforming many of its Southeast Asian equity markets. Vietnam also registered more than 1.3 million new stock trading accounts in 2021, which was more than three times the number for 2020. The number of Vietnamese participating in crypto and NFT is even greater, estimated at around 6 million. Off the back of the surge in retail investing in Vietnam, Infina has seen hyper-growth in its users, clocking a compound monthly growth rate of 64% in funded accounts in 2021.
Infina said it aims to democratize investing by making investing accessible for everyone, regardless of income group, and caters to young and first-time investors whose needs have not yet been well-addressed by existing solutions in the market. Through Infina, users can choose from a wide range of asset classes, from fixed-income products to mutual funds, and more recently stock trading. Expensive investment products are fractionalized, so users can now invest in a diverse portfolio of assets with low minimum amounts. Infina is also making investing widely available to everyone by growing its presence across third-party ‘super’ apps. For example, users can now access Infina’s investing products via the popular e-commerce app Tiki.
“Infina’s mission is to empower the rise of retail investors to participate in existing and emerging asset classes so that everyone has a real stake in the economy and prosperity of the country. We’ll be using the funding to continue to build out a world-class team that can develop great technology, deliver the best experience to our users, and drive even faster growth so that we can serve a large portion of the new investors joining the market in the next three years.” said James Vuong, founder and CEO of Infina.
“We are excited to be a part of Infina’s journey because at YC, we love to back founders who are building something people want. The need for a new generation of retail investing apps like Infina is clear, not just for Vietnam but globally,” said Gustof Alstromer, Group Partner at Y Combinator.
Infina is part of Surge’s sixth cohort of 20 companies that build fresher, smarter solutions to help consumers and businesses adapt to a changing world.
Launched last year, Infina is targeting the same demographic that Robinhood and Coinbase have tapped into so successfully in other markets when it comes to, respectively, share dealing and cryptocurrency trading. Young investors – primarily millennials and from Generation Z – are increasingly enthusiastic about trading, using community platforms to share ideas and digital services to execute them. But they are eschewing the incumbent brokers that have previously dominated this market, in favor of new entrants.