March 21, 2022

Investment Notes: Timo US$20m

We are delighted to announce our investment in Timo - to help people stay on top of their finances in order to live their best possible

Tushar Roy

January 6, 2022

Investment Notes: Timo US$20m

We are delighted to announce our investment in Timo - to help people stay on top of their finances in order to live their best possible

Tushar Roy

We are delighted to announce our investment in Timo. Timo’s vision is to help people stay on top of their finances in order to live their best possible lives.

It is a privilege to partner with Henry Nguyen, Jonas Eichhorst and their incredible team as they embark on their mission of setting the benchmark for modern banking, in Vietnam & beyond. We have been impressed by the team’s passion and drive to build something ground-breaking for the region, accelerate financial inclusion and do all this backed by their product and customer obsession. We also look forward to working with our co-investors Jungle Ventures, Granite Oak, and other highly-experienced super-angels.

Leading next-gen banking

Digital adoption in Vietnam is accelerating. As of 2019, 66% of the population has Internet access. 72% of adults are smartphone owners and Vietnam boasts the fastest-growing digital economy in Southeast Asia by gross merchandise value (‘GMV’).

But financial inclusion has to play catch-up. 60-70% of the adult population remains unbanked and only 2% own a credit card. Bank branch and ATM availability is low, coupled with a general lack of trust in the financial system. The demand for digital banking and fintech solutions is ripe, as they provide this tech-savvy population access to convenient, reliable and compelling financial products and experiences.

After having scoured the market, we finally met Timo. We believe Timo is best-positioned to seize the banking opportunity that lies ahead in Vietnam. Incumbent players are ill-equipped to deliver the digital banking experiences and the agility that customers want. They lack the innovation DNA and the culture needed to build an entirely new kind of banking experience. Meanwhile, banking remains a heavily regulated industry hence new entrants must find the right balance between regulatory compliance and new thinking. With digital banking in its infancy, and growing demand for digital products and services, the time could not be better for Timo to set the standard for modern banking.

The new face of digital banking

Timo is setting the benchmark for modern banking, in the following ways:

  • Removing the need for time-consuming visits to bank branches. Timo makes financial products accessible to any smartphone user in a matter of minutes. A convenient app download allows any user to set up a bank account, debit card and access personal finance tools
  • Enabling people to move money digitally, away from a cash-based system. Timo provides the most seamless way of transferring money between bank accounts and to/from e-wallets, building financial trust in social relationships. Social features have the added benefit of embedding virality into the product, supporting its growth, and
  • Being in the best position to optimise user experience. As the first digital-native banking platform, Timo has an unfair advantage in amassing and using customer transaction data to drive product innovation.

This digital experience is clearly resonating with users. Over the past 12 months, Timo’s customer base and deposits have grown 3x and 4.3x respectively, outpacing the early growth of many international neobank peers. With the impacts of the pandemic easing, Timo is in a prime position to accelerate its growth even further.

A powerhouse team ready to build a legacy

We were impressed with the drive, strategic clarity, and expertise of Henry and his team.

Henry is a visionary leader and sees Timo as a catalyst for building Vietnam and empowering the ‘golden generation’. Henry has seen this from both sides, having left Vietnam as a child, growing up in the US, and then returning to Vietnam. He has seen what full financial inclusion can look like, but also understands deeply the unmet needs of consumers in Vietnam, for not only those within the traditional banking system but also for those outside it. Wan Kup (Deputy CEO) has built banks and e-wallets across emerging Southeast Asia, bringing a depth of understanding to building and scaling digital financial services.

Jonas (CFO), Alan (CTO) and Hai An (CPO / CCO) are data, product and customer-obsessed. They are highly attuned to the rapidly evolving Vietnamese market and are ready to innovate quickly. We are confident that they can build financial services into an experience that people love.

Where to now?

Timo’s long-term ambition involves nothing less than becoming the biggest bank in Vietnam. We are privileged to be chosen as its partner on this journey, and look forward to helping the team transform the fabric of financial services in Vietnam and the broader region in years to come.

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