HK fintech startup Neat raises US$3 million, eyes mainland firms

October 24, 2018 10:07
Neat CEO David Rosa (left), with co-founder Igor Wos, said the fintech group aims to provide mainland enterprises with financial access to be able to expand globally. Photo: HKEJ

Neat, a Hong Kong-based financial technology startup that provides a fully digital alternative to traditional bank accounts, has announced the completion of a US$3 million funding round led by China-based venture capital firm Linear Capital, as the company seeks to offer its products to mainland enterprises.

The latest round brings the total funding raised by Neat this year to US$5 million, the firm said in a statement. Existing investors including Dymon Asia Ventures and Portag3 Ventures also participated in the latest round, along with a new investor, Hong Kong-based Sagamore Investments.

Neat targets the "unbanked" population, individuals as well as small and medium-scale enterprises often neglected by big banks, offering them a remote account opening service.

After opening an account and their identity is verified on the smartphone, clients receive a MasterCard prepaid card from Neat within a few days. They can start using the card after topping up the value on it.

For enterprises, the company offers its Neat Business product which provides a multi-user virtual account along with MasterCard prepaid cards with a dedicated Hong Kong bank account number that can be used worldwide.

Clients can make international transfers to over 60 countries, Neat said.

“We are excited to make our Neat Business product available to Chinese customers who are looking for a Hong Kong-based solution to help realize their global ambition,” David Rosa, Neat's co-founder and chief executive, said in the statement.

"Today we are seeing more enterprises – new and established – from China venturing beyond their domestic market and Neat is perfectly positioned to offer this growing group of businesses financial access and the ability to expand their footprint globally."

Neat said the money from the latest fundraising will be used to accelerate the launch of new products and grow the team.

The company also said it will tap into Linear Capital’s expertise in data science and its wide network in the mainland market.

Shanghai-based Linear Capital is founded by Facebook's founding employee Harry Wang Huai and former and Tmall executive Michael Zhang. The venture has invested in over 50 startups in China, Silicon Valley, and Southeast Asia.

"We are thrilled to be able to support Neat in growing its presence with Chinese customers and look forward to leveraging the company's strong fintech background coupled with its solid Know Your Customer (KYC) solution to serve the needs of young enterprises in China," Linear Capital founder and CEO Harry Wang said in the statement.

Rosa told EJ Insight in May that the company intended to apply to the Hong Kong Monetary Authority for a virtual bank license as part of its bid to challenge the monopoly of traditional banks in the city.

“Our ambition is to become a bank one day,” Rosa said in the interview.

– Contact us at [email protected]