Local fintech Rely raises seven-figure sum

Pre-series A funds will fuel growth in region, support retail tie-ups

Singapore fintech start-up Rely has raised a seven-figure sum in pre-series A funding, led by commercial financier Goldbell Financial Services.

Other investors include Singapore-based family office Octava and investors from the financial and technology sectors.

Rely will use the funds to expand in the region, scale up its team and support more regional retail partnerships.

Its "buy now, pay later" service allows shoppers to split payment for purchases into three equal, interest-free monthly instalments by linking a debit card to their Rely account.

Rely utilises artificial intelligence and machine learning to determine shoppers' repayment capabilities for each transaction.

Spending limits are set for each consumer to encourage responsible spending, and safeguards are also put in place to ensure that shoppers repay on time. Further purchases cannot be made if payments are not made on time.

Rely said retailers who offer itsservice have experienced an increase of 20 per cent to 40 per cent in conversion rate and order values, with millennials making up 75 per cent of "buy now, pay later" transactions.

The start-up has partnerships with e-commerce retailers such as Zalora, Zilingo and Fitlion.

Mr Hizam Ismail, Rely's chief executive and co-founder, said: "Millennials have distinctive spending habits from the past generations. They know what they want, and they seek instant gratification when it comes to their purchases.

"At the same time, they are also cautious when it comes to their spending and are wary of falling into credit card debt.

"Rely caters to these millennials and the relationship between what they want and what they think they ought to do, allowing them to be effortlessly in control of the way they choose to handle their finances."

Goldbell Financial Services CEO Alex Chua said the e-commerce industry in Singapore and South-east Asia has grown tremendously since its inception, and Goldbell "recognises the 'buy now, pay later' industry in the region to be ripe with potential and complementary to the e-commerce industry at this stage".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 28, 2019, with the headline 'Local fintech Rely raises seven-figure sum'. Print Edition | Subscribe