KUALA LUMPUR, 15 June 2020 - Amidst the current global Covid-19 pandemic, Malaysian-based FinTech startup Curlec has just reeled in new investment from global venture capital firm, 500 Startups and is set to utilise this capital to further grow their Malaysian operations through product development, strategic initiatives as well as market expansion.
Co-founded by Zac Liew and Steve Kucia, Curlec makes it easy for businesses to collect recurring payments and take control of their cash flow. The company does this by building technology on top of the Direct Debit bank-to-bank payment infrastructure, which is a system that historically was only accessible to large corporates. Curlec now serves businesses of all sizes from SMEs to Enterprises, and has processed over RM250 million (over US$50 million) through the platform since launching in early 2018.
Despite the disruptions that Covid-19 and lockdowns have caused to the economy, the company has seen a surge in traditional businesses, that can no longer transact in person due to the current pandemic, come online. In addition to this, the company has experienced an acceleration of merchants moving to subscription businesses models, in order to obtain predictable revenue and combat the threat of huge decreases in cash flow that may arise from another crisis in the future.
“In light of Covid-19, we continue to see growth in our offering, with many traditional businesses having to shift online. Despite the lockdown in Malaysia, we are continuing to average 20% month-on-month growth this year in transaction volumes, which just highlights the current demand that businesses have to move towards online recurring payments. We are thrilled to have a VC like 500 Startups believe in us and support us in this journey,” said Zac Liew, Co-Founder & CEO of Curlec.
He adds, “Our vision has always been to enable businesses of all sizes to access the previously inaccessible Direct Debit system. And now, as the market continues to evolve, we are expanding our vision further to also help businesses grow by enabling them to enter the subscription economy firstly in Malaysia, and then Southeast Asia.”
Despite the extension of the movement control order (MCO) in Malaysia, the adoption of digital payments in Southeast Asia has reached the inflection point and is expected to cross $1 trillion by 2025. In addition to this, JPMorgan estimates the market size of the subscription economy is expected to rise to over US$530 billion in 2020. The need for technology enablers has, therefore, become paramount to access this, and Curlec believes that their offering is well positioned to suit the growing demand for online subscription models.
"Curlec has successfully gained strong traction in fulfilling the current market needs, in addition to accelerating business performance. There is a huge opportunity for the company to grow in this space, especially now with the unprecedented collaboration between FinTechs and governments in solving national issues of financial inclusion and digitalisation of economies not just in Malaysia, but also with other ASEAN countries on a national FinTech roadmap level,” said Khailee Ng, Managing Partner of 500 Startups.
"We are excited to take this journey with Curlec in paving the way for better online payment experience for the SME market, first in Malaysia, then beyond.”
Historically known to be a paper-based system that only provides access to large corporates due to the heavily manual processes involved and custom-developed software needed to deal with individual banks, Curlec’s technology enables businesses of all shapes and sizes to access the Direct Debit mechanism through their cloud based application or a simple API that automates the entire collection workflow. This ultimately puts businesses in control of when they get paid and their cash flow.