Voyager bags $210M in fresh equity for PayMaya, Maya Bank
PLDT Inc. digital arm Voyager Innovations secured $210 million in fresh funds to ramp up financial service offerings on its e-wallet platform PayMaya and digital financial institution Maya Bank.
The Pangilinan-led technology firm announced on Tuesday that it concluded the latest round of fundraising, elevating its valuation to unicorn status after having now attracted $1.4 billion in capital.
For this round, Voyager gained new investors including private equity firm SIG Venture Capital, Singapore-based investor EDBI and investment holding firm First Pacific Company Ltd. Joining them are PLDT, global investment firm KKR, tech company Tencent, International Finance Corp. (IFC), IFC Emerging Asia Fund and IFC Financial Institutions Growth Fund.
“The strong endorsement from our new shareholders and participation of our existing investors in this fundraising validates the company’s ability to expand into ‘neobanking’ and add new cutting-edge financial products and services,” Voyager and PayMaya president Shailesh Baidwan said.
With the fresh equity injection, Voyager intends to launch savings and credit services for Maya Bank. Pilot testing for the neobank began last month after Voyager secured a digital banking license in September 2021.
The PLDT digital arm also plans to continue expanding the services menu of PayMaya with products such as microinvestments and insurance. Recently, the e-wallet service provider launched a feature allowing users to trade cryptocurrency via the platform.
Voyager envisions PayMaya and Maya Bank under an integrated ecosystem to have a competitive edge over other e-wallets, banks and financial technology firms in the country.
“Leveraging PayMaya’s distribution strength with enterprises and consumers, Maya Bank has the potential to be one of the most successful digital banks not just in the Philippines, but globally,” Akshay Bajaj, investor at SIG, said.
The recent fundraising activity came about 10 months after Voyager bagged $167 million in investments to expand PayMaya services.
Meanwhile, PLDT wireless arm Smart Communications Inc. recently inked a partnership with Canada-based tech company Firstlight Media to enhance its cross-platform video infrastructure for over-the-top (OTT) video applications. OTT refers to streaming services providing content via the internet.
Smart is banking on the fifth generation (5G) and cloud capabilities of Firstlight Media to improve the video experience for its users.
Last month, Smart launched the new GigaPlay app, which provides access to live and on-demand sports and entertainment content.
“[We] continue to look for ways to improve our services, including working with platform partners like Firstlight to help us deliver world-class video experience to our customers,” PLDT and Smart head of technology Mario Tamayo said.
Mobile data traffic on Smart’s network rose by 16 percent to 3,337 petabytes last year with 42.6 million active data users. To meet the demand, the wireless unit increased its total base stations to nearly 75,400 as of end-December 2021, which support 3G, 4G/LTE and 5G services.
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