A group of international investors, led by the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation (IFC), has poured US$50 million in Series B funding into an online personal finance marketplace which will channel the investment toward enhancing Islamic financial literacy, among others.
“Islamic finance is a key pillar in our content strategy and source of growth,” Mark Reijman, the co-founder and managing director of CompareHero.my, the Malaysian outfit of CompareAsiaGroup, tells IFN Fintech.
Present in eight countries, CompareAsiaGroup is an online personal finance marketplace providing consumers with personal finance management tools and price comparisons of different financial products. The platform’s proposition is built on increasing the financial literacy of the growing internet population through free financial advice with the aim of facilitating informed decision-making when it comes to managing one’s finances.
“We definitely recognize the need to boost financial literacy in Malaysia in general, but also the understanding of Islamic personal finance products and specific Islamic financial concepts such as Takaful and the prohibition of Gharar and Riba,” explained Reijman. “Some of our most popular articles on the blog are explanations on how Islamic credit cards and Islamic personal loans work.” Only one in three Malaysians is considered financially literate, according to a World Bank and S&P study.
Backed by Goldman Sachs Investment Partners, the group won the buy-in of the likes of Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund, SBI Group and H&Q Utrust as well as existing investors such as Nova Founders Capital, ACE & Company and Route 66 Ventures. Also significantly, this round of funding was led by the World Bank’s IFC which is investing in technology it believes is key in reaching the unbanked and underbanked.
“CompareHero.my leverages technology to increase pricing transparency for financial products and improve financial literacy. Our support for innovative fintech companies like CompareHero.my encourages disruptive technologies and new business models that create markets for other private sector players to engage,” said Vivek Pathak, the IFC’s regional director for East Asia and the Pacific.