Viva Republica raises US$48M to boost p2p money transfers in Korea, eyes Southeast Asia expansion

Yon Heong Tung

It plans to use newly-raised capital to acquire users, launch products such as loan brokerage and FX, and also upgrade its current product line


The Toss team

South Korea-based fintech startup Viva Republica has raised a US$48 million in a Series C round led by Goodwater Capital, with participation from PayPal Holdings, Inc, Bessemer Venture Partners, Altos Ventures, and Partech Ventures.

The Series C brings its total venture funding raised — over three other rounds — to over US$76 million.

It previously raised a US$23.7 million Series B from KTB Network, Goodwater Capital and Altos Ventures; a US$5 million Series A from KTB Network, Altos Ventures and IBK; and a US$1 million seed round from Altos Ventures.

Viva will use the newly-raised capital to acquire users and launch new products. It will also upgrade its current product line, which includes its flagship p2p money transfer platform Toss.

Launched two years ago, Toss aims to simplify mobile p2p money transfers in Korea.

According to Viva Republica, the country’s current online banking infrastructure is archaic and cumbersome.

“A simple transfer of KRA 10,000 (US$10) requires 5 passwords and 37 clicks. Users are required to install various add-ons every time they use online banking services,” claimed Viva, in an official press release.

Also Read: Toss Lab raises US$1.7M Series A to compete with Slack-like apps in Asia

The Toss app reduces this to three steps: Users enter the recipient’s name and phone or bank account number, then enter the transfer amount, followed by a password. Once verified, the funds will be sent through.

Today, Toss claims to have processed over US$3 million in mobile p2p money transfers — which is an increase of 30 times since its launch. It has logged over six million users to date (with a 70 per cent monthly user retention) and secured agreements with 18 of Korea’s 19 major banks.

For 2017, it expects to hit US$1 billion in monthly transactions and 7 million in monthly active users.

While Toss is used primarily for money transfer, it also provides three complimentary services: mobile loans, finance management via dashboard, and credit score monitoring.

Tight security measures

Viva said that it employs high level security protocols to ensure all of Toss’s money transfer are secure.

These include a complete encoding of all storage and communication; mock-hacking tests to identify potential loopholes and breaches; Fraud Detection system, which detects and stop all abnormal activities upon detection; daily transaction and per transaction amount limits.

Also Read: Lattice80 expands to Vizag to build fintech ties between Singapore and India

In addition, Viva has employed security professionals from Korea’s government bodies including the presidential office and the National Intelligence Agency.

Future plans

Going forward, Toss plans to introduce three new services: loan brokerage, overseas transfer, and micro insurance and foreign exchange.

Viva also has plans to expand to Southeast Asia but said that it would not disclose specific plans.

“M&A could be one way to go into the market,” it said.

Image Credit: Viva Republica

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