Dear fellow colleagues,
A new era for Southeast Asia
We are standing at the beginning of a new era for Southeast Asia and for our company too.
When we started this journey riding our motorbikes to visit warungs 6 years ago, many micro-small enterprises were still paying bills in cash, using bulky computer hardware to transfer and receive payments, and doing bookkeeping the old school way – with pen and paper.
Fast forward to the present: these enterprises now rely on smartphones to do all these tasks. All this was made possible by the hard work of our team. Thanks to you, over 200,000 businesses across Singapore and Indonesia can now send and receive payments, automate bookkeeping and financial reporting, get credit, and even access blockchain online through their smartphones. For a small business owner – this is life-changing.
Armed with a small but powerful financial tool in their back pocket, they have sprinted ahead of the competition, doubling or even quadrupling their incomes, and expanding their businesses. This competitive edge has also helped them to survive the recent economic crisis.
Seeing warungs across Indonesia benefit from our services, from Sabang to Merauke, is humbling and a reminder of our social responsibility and impact.
Yet, now more than ever do we need to strengthen our resolve to help them.
These small enterprises are critical contributors to the Southeast Asian community.
They represent between 97% and 99% of firms and between 60% and 80% of employment across ASEAN countries. They are the lifeblood of the Southeast Asian economy – and they are under threat. When a small business owner is forced to close down, there is a family behind them that loses their income.
In spite of best efforts, micro-small enterprises are in an even worse position than they started off with before Covid-19.
- They suffer from lower liquidity and flexibility in adapting to changing business environments
- Most still do not have access to bank financing with the funding gap reaching an estimated value of USD 300 billion
- Over 50% expect profit reductions of more than 50% compared to 26% of large businesses who expect the same
If we do not help them to succeed, the progress we have made as a region will be undone.
We must step in now to help them recover and grow back stronger – and put Southeast Asia back on the path to prominence on the global economic stage.
As we embark on a new chapter, I’ve thought a lot about what this means for our company and our identity.
We have always been a company focused on accelerating financial access for businesses. Building the future of finance with frontier technologies and extending access to all will always remain important to us.
I started out as a son of a working-class family in Jambi, a tier 2 city.
My mother was a housewife and a clothes merchant.
My father worked as a Muslim goods merchant.
Overlooked by the banks, both were constrained by their lack of financial access.
Yet their small businesses provided for our family, and that of their employees. This modest living gave me access to an education and that changed my life.
When we help a small business, we are breaking glass ceilings not just for them, but their employees and families. At the same time, we increase the provincial GDP of many smaller cities in the country.
The core of our mission still remains the same.
But the bar has been set higher.
We want to extend our help beyond Singapore and Indonesia to other struggling small businesses in Southeast Asia.
And we don’t want to stop at basic financial services. We want to make future-forward services available to them to give them the same competitive edge enjoyed by bigger enterprises.
To better reflect who we are and the future that we hope to build, I’m proud to introduce Fazz, a business-centric and tech-forward business account that serves businesses of all sizes in Southeast Asia. With Fazz, we’re in a better position to accelerate growth for Southeast Asia’s businesses and strengthen the region’s economy.
The next 2 years will be a crucial period for us to scale our impact by extending our services to more regions, serving more business categories and expanding our range of financial services. As far as we’ve gotten, there is still so much more to explore in the future of finance.
This year, we’ve started off strong.
- expanded our coverage from Indonesia to include Singapore
- expanded our category offerings to serve an even wider range of businesses including FMCG, F&B, wholesaler, distributors, e-commerce startups, D2C startups
- expanded our range of financial services to transfer, credit, BNPL, expense management, high yield savings, and bookkeeping
I’m proud of what we’ve built so far, but even more excited about where we’re going.
Let’s keep this momentum going and build a brighter future for Southeast Asia.