Fairbanc announced it has raised an undisclosed seven figures investment in a pre-Series A round from ADB Ventures, the Asian Development Bank’s venture arm, Accion Venture Lab, East Ventures, Indonesian billionaire Michael Sampoerna, and others. This new financial backing comes on the heels of recent investment from 500 Startups and prior investments from Michael Sampoerna. The new investment will enable Fairbanc to scale up access to credit for Indonesia’s small retailers, many of whom struggle to access working capital.
The World Bank estimates Indonesia’s micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) have a US $166 billion unmet need for credit. Fairbanc partners with large Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies such as Unilever to offer a ‘pay-later’ option through its AI-powered credit scoring that allows instant microcredit decisions. The credits help the unbanked and underbanked merchants with revenue growth by enabling them to increase inventory.
According to Fairbanc Founder and CEO Mir Haque, “what makes Fairbanc so unique compared to other fintechs is that it plugs into large consumer brands like Unilever’s vast merchant networks through integration into its distribution app to offer “Buy Now Pay Later“ credit to tens of thousands of merchants without requiring any loan applications, or smartphones. System integration into consumer brands distribution app allows Fairbanc to access merchants’ order and payment history, which in turn, allows Fairbanc to utilize advanced data science and machine learning to underwrite credit, and grow merchants sales while keeping loan defaults and operation costs very low.”
Since Fairbanc’s inception in 2019, the startup has partnered with major FMCG firms, including Unilever, L’Oréal, and Danone, to help MSMEs grow their sales by over 35% while limiting nonperforming loans to near-zero.
“Fairbanc is empowering and future-proofing the many unbanked grocers who distribute Unilever products, a large percentage of whom are female,” said Francisca Ho, Head of Customer Development Finance at Unilever Indonesia. Fairbanc’s mission of financial inclusion “is aligned with Unilever’s purpose to enhance the livelihoods of millions of people as we grow our business.”
With nearly 60,000 merchants in its network, Fairbanc will deploy the new investment to expand its distributor partners and strengthen its sales and technology teams. The company is also developing a product recommendation system with new features, including timely alerts to help merchants plan inventory in advance of climate events, for which Indonesia is at high risk.
“Fairbanc has shown us that it has what it takes to bridge the finance gap for Indonesia’s many small retailers,” said Daniel Hersson, Senior Fund Manager at ADB Ventures. “The company’s inventory financing and experienced leadership sets it apart in a crowded fintech market and makes Fairbanc an important ally on our mission to accelerate financial inclusion and support climate resilience in the Asia Pacific region.”
“The pandemic is far from over in Indonesia, and micromerchants are uniquely vulnerable to its economic impact. Fairbanc is filling a critical gap in access to credit for these entrepreneurs, helping them keep their shops open and sustain their livelihoods,” said Michael Schlein, President and CEO of Accion.
“By embedding their product into existing partner channels, Fairbanc is able to provide micromerchants seamless access to much-needed inventory financing solutions. Fairbanc’s work aligns strongly with our mission of supporting inclusive fintechs, and we look forward to working with the team to reach more micro and small businesses across Indonesia,” said Paolo Limcaoco, Southeast Asia Investment Officer at Accion Venture Lab.
“Supporting Fairbanc is aligned with our mission to bring financial inclusion to millions of unbanked merchants in Indonesia. We believe Fairbanc is a strong addition to accelerate supply chain financing adaptation in Southeast Asia,” said Melisa Irene, Partner of East Ventures.
Fairbanc’s CEO is Mir Haque, who previously held roles at McKinsey & Company, Deutsche Bank, and Adobe, and its Chief Technology Officer is Kevin O’Brien, formerly CTO of the micro-credit platform Kiva. The company’s Head of Operations is Siswanto Hadiprayitno, who has over twenty years of sales and executive experience at Indonesia-based corporations including Unilever Indonesia, Mead Johnson Indonesia, and Tiga Raksa Satria. Company’s Chief Commercial Officer Cynthia Krisanti was the former founder Kotoko, an Indonesian O2O retail platform, and previously served as the Head of Merchants acquisition GoJek, and as a management consultant for Accenture.