Myanmar’s fintech startup NearMe raises 7-digit funding from Sumitomo Corporation

Myanmar fintech startup NearMe has raised a 7-digit US dollar funding from Japanese conglomerate Sumitomo Corporation to enhance digital payments access for its SMEs clients.

Founded in 2015, NearMe (formerly known as 1-Stop) provides a retail digital services platform for its retailers and agents, mostly SMEs, to do transactions such as goods purchases, loan repayment, public utilities and flight and bus tickets, among others. The company claims to have over 50,000 retail partners nationwide.

The funding will enable NearMe to expand its digital solutions to help its retail partners adopt and accelerate their digitisation process and growth post-COVID-19, the startup said in a statement.

“We are seeing an accelerated digitisation of the Myanmar economy during this time. The pandemic is spurring many small and medium-sized companies to adopt digitisation much quicker in order to grow their business and service their customers better,” said Lynn Htaik Aung, CEO at NearMe.

The startup also said it will leverage Sumitomo’s network of affiliates to support NearMe’s retail partners, especially for digital payment acceptance and B2B distribution.

NearMe was rebranded from 1-Stop, initially an e-commerce platform for rural Myanmar launched by B2B fintech firm 2C2P.

2C2P raised $52 million in equity funding from a consortium of investors including the International Finance Corporation, Cento Ventures and Arbor Ventures last year. The company has set aside $15 million from the proceeds to make its own venture capital investments.

Financial services in Myanmar are increasingly evincing investor attention. This year, Wave Money snapped up investments worth $150 million from Yoma Strategic Holdings and Alibaba‘s financial arm Ant Group. Meanwhile, DAWN Microfinance has secured a $7.5 million commitment from Dutch development bank FMO and Yoma Bank is raising almost $89 million from GIC and Norfund.

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