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Klarna rival alert: Philippines BNPL fintech founded by Ex-NASA engineer scores £1.6M funding

Plentina
Plentina

If you’ve done online shopping recently, you must know about the Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) models several different ecomms are offering in partnership with industry majors like Klarna, Clearpay, Zilch and more. 

Firms such as Afterpay, Klarna, and others allow you to buy now and pay later which is usually done in four two-week installments. This has become a new normal as consumers are increasingly availing this service and this has led to banks developing their own versions.

Cashing on the trend, a Philippines-based BNPL startup Plentina raised $2.2M(£1.6M) funding recently in its latest round which was led by TMV, a New York-based venture capital firm that invests in purposeful startups reimagining the future. 

The funding round also got backing from Global Founders Capital and existing investors AV Ventures, Techstars, Unpopular Ventures, and prominent SE Asian family offices. 

Recharge Capital, Goodwater, Ulu Ventures, and Xoogler Ventures were among the investors in the previous round. Plentina has raised a total of $5.7M in funding since its beginning.  

The funds will be used to help Plentina expand its business in the Philippines, introduce new products, and begin investigating other Southeast Asian countries, such as Vietnam. This seed round will also aid the company’s growth as it prepares for Series A funding next year, with senior personnel joining the company in the interim.

“We’re ecstatic to have the support of our customers, merchant partners, and investors who recognise the value and potential of true accessible financial services in emerging areas,” founder Kevin Gabayan added. “We are very pleased with the programmes we are providing to the region as Filipinos.”

Besides that Valencia said, “We are excited to team up with investors who share our values, such as TMV and Global Founders Capital, as well as to have the continuous support of our existing investor base.” “While we look for possibilities across Southeast Asia, this money will help us speed our expansion on the ground.”

Plentina’s inception

Kevin Gabayan, an ex-Google and NASA machine learning engineer, and Earl Valencia, a former tech and finance executive in both the Philippines and Silicon Valley, founded Plentina in 2019.

Plentina claims that its first app downloads surged by 500% in 2021, from 30,000 to over 150,000 members on Android alone. In order to meet high local demand, Plentina plans to release an iOS app early next year.

Plentina began in 2019 by Stanford classmates Kevin Gabayan, an ex-Google and NASA machine learning engineer, and Earl Valencia, a former tech and finance executive in both the Philippines and in Silicon Valley. Plentina focuses on emerging markets, starting with the Philippines, where it offers “Buy Now Pay Later” and other data-driven financial services.

In addition to launch partners 7-Eleven Philippines and Smart Communications, Plentina’s leading merchants in the physical and online retail arena currently include Lazada, Zalora, Shopee, Agoda.com, McDonald’s, Philippine Airlines, and National Bookstore. There is a waiting list of over 20 partners who want to join the platform.

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