The company competed against 5,000 other startups on various continents, narrowed down to 1 out of 5 finalists, and finally won yesterday, making it the first Malaysian startup to win a global Seedstars award.
Based in Kuala Lumpur, Finology specializes in improving access to financial products and services such as markets, API services, and more. The startups were co-founders Robin Ang and Jared Lim, who came from both entrepreneurial backgrounds as well as banking and computing respectively.
She came face-to-face with 20 other M’sian teams
Master Stars It is a private group based in Switzerland that ranks itself as the largest startup competition in the world and is also considered one of the most popular startup accelerators.
Generally speaking, Seedstars’ experience in Finology took about 10 months, starting with application in August 2020. From there, they went through an initial screening and were then invited to participate in a national competition against 20 other Malaysian teams in front of a panel of judges.
When they won in Malaysia, they were subsequently sent to join the regional competition and repeated their bid in the semi-finals and final in Asia with panels of different referees each time.
Throughout the time, they also participated in classroom programs from Seedstars Academy, gaining access to their board of mentors from various disciplines. Of course, their journey ended by leading the list in Asia and representing the region in the World Finals yesterday.
A seasoned player in the fintech scene
Finology currently has two markets, Lownestreet And Loanplus. While both operate through home loans, here are their differences:
|Directly to the consumer. Users can apply for home and personal loans online, and even purchase motorbike and car insurances directly from their portal. It also provides instant quotes and eligibility limits for loans from various insurance companies and banks.||B2B2C service used by real estate developers and real estate agents. When they sell a property, they use Loanplus to get mortgage pre-approvals for their clients within minutes.|
Dictionary time: B2B2C (company to company to consumer) is where Company 1 sells its products or services in partnership with Company 2 to the end customer.
Besides, they also provide credit and insurance APIs for companies that want to pre-approve bank loans for their clients and sell insurance on their own platforms respectively.
So far, they have worked with big names like iProperty, Mudah.my, Tropicana, UEM Sunrise, RHB, Hannover Re, Zurich, Gibraltar BSN and international clients.
They didn’t initially think they had a good chance of winning
Jared shared with Vulcan Post: “We never imagined that when we first started 10 months ago, we would be world champions.” “It was only after we passed the Asian Finals that we started thinking that we had a good chance to win the tournament.”
What was special about this year’s competition was that everything was held entirely online as well. Otherwise, Jared joked, “I will now write to you from Switzerland.”
The competition practically has its own set of challenges. There were times when live broadcasts were paused during promotion sessions, and there were moments when the sound quality was so poor that the jurors struggled to hear what they were saying.
Another challenge, however, was that both Jared and Robin had to stay awake during odd hours of class and promotion sessions due to the timing differences, as the events were occurring in the time zone of Switzerland.
Fortunately for them, the Finology team is able to manage the day to day operations well themselves, which gave them time to work on this competition.
As Robin handles investor relations, Jared has taken on the role of Finology at Seedstars and sharing their business progress every round.
He went out to hike a round after this win
Seedstars graduates are entitled to shared acceleration perks like mentorship, access to Seedstars academy materials, and even a high investment potential from their VC vehicle, with terms and conditions, of course.
“We will definitely raise a new round of this win. This will help us bring more financial products and services to the market that are designed around a seamless delivery experience.”
They hope their victory will attract more interest and attract support from emerging startups like their company in Malaysia, and more foreign direct investment (FDIs) for the nation.
“We hope this helps address the influx of good companies looking to re-establish a base outside Malaysia out of necessity.”
Jared Lim, Co-Founder, Finology
Featured Image Credit: Robin Ang and Jared Lim, founders of Finology