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Hong Kong Startup News Roundup - 3 May 2020


Oriente raises $50 million to continue building its infrastructure for digital financial services

Oriente, a Hong Kong-based startup that develops tech infrastructure for digital credit and other online financial services, ahs raised $50 million for its ongoing Series B round. The funding was led by Peter Lee, co-chairman of Henderson Land, one of Hong Kong’s largest property developers, with participation from investors including website development platform Wix.com. 

Launched in 2017 by Geoff Prentice (one of Skype’s co-founders), Hubert Tai and Lawrence Chu, Oriente  focuses on markets that are underserved by traditional financial institutions. The new funding will be used for growth in Oriente’s existing markets, the Philippines and Indonesia, and expansion into new countries, including Vietnam.

It will also be used to continue building Oriente’s technology, which uses big data analytics to help merchants increase sales conversions and lower risk. Oriente has now raised more than $160 million in equity and debt, including a $105 million round in November 2018

WeLab Bank Takes Flight in a Pilot Trial with Interest Rates up to 4.5% P.A

WeLab Bank Limited  has commenced a pilot trial under the Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s (“HKMA”) Fintech Supervisory Sandbox (“FSS”). During the FSS phase, WeLab Bank will be offering banking services to selected individual users prior to an official launch to the public.

WeLab Bank will invite approximately 2,000 individual users from its waiting list which will consist of WeLab staff and their friends and families.

During the WeLab Bank Pilot, customers will be able to access a range of fully digital services including — remote account opening, time deposits and saving accounts, virtual Debit Card, and payments with Faster Payment Services (FPS) enabled.

With their HKID card ready at hand, customers can open a WeLab Bank account in less than 5 minutes. With personal data protection close at heart, WeLab Bank will also be issuing a numberless WeLab Debit Card in collaboration with Mastercard.

WeLab Bank’s features include GoSave a time deposit which with interest rates up to 4.5% p.a that also provides flexibility where customers can withdraw their funds at any time without having to pay extra fees.

ZuBlu secures USD 1 million seed funding

ZuBlu, a travel platform focusing on scuba diving and underwater adventure travel has successfully secured USD 1 million during its seed funding round. The round was led by Wavemaker Partners, Southeast Asia’s leading early-stage venture capital firm investing in enterprise and deep tech companies. Other investors include Mana Impact, she1K, and a number of strategic angel investors.

ZuBlu is a unique digital platform that is transforming dive travel globally, with a primary focus on destinations within Asia. Founded in 2017 by British co-founders Adam Broadbent and Matthew Oldfield, the platform aims to empower users to make informed and sustainable travel choices effortlessly, by combining their decades of scuba diving experience and a commitment to ocean conservation, with powerful technology and a market-leading team.

Backed by Hong Kong-based startup investor and accelerator, Betatron, since 2019, ZuBlu has grown rapidly and demonstrated enormous potential in this fragmented sector of the travel industry. In 2020 alone, and despite the global impact of COVID19 on the travel sector, ZuBlu has successfully grown its resort partner network and member community by 46% and 425% respectively and says it is primed for the return of travel.

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