Jennifer, a “growth capital-as-a-service” platform that provides online businesses with revenue-based financing in as little as one day. The Singapore-based startup announced today that it has raised a US$6.6 million pre-Series B funding round led by Headline Asia. Participating parties include returning investors Monk’s Hill Ventures, ICU Ventures, Granite Oak, Korea Investment Partners & Golden Equator Capital, and Atlas Ventures, which led Jenfi’s Series A round two years ago.
Since Jenfi launched four years ago, it has deployed more than $25 million in non-diluted capital to approximately 600 companies. Its clients include Gushcloud, Ralali, Hello Health, Lamer Fashion, Buy2sell and Mystifly. The fresh funds will be used to grow its client base in Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia, and expand into new markets in Southeast Asia such as Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand. It will also enable Jenfi to improve its credit underwriting and risk assessment capabilities, including its proprietary risk assessment engine.
The fintech company was founded in 2019 by Jeffrey Liu and Justin Louie, who exited after their previous startup, fitness marketplace GuavaPass, was acquired by ClassPass. Jenfi’s “growth capital as a service” model was developed after the duo realized that online business owners such as e-commerce sellers, SaaS and consumer technology providers often struggle to obtain capital from traditional financial institutions to fund their growth expenditures.
Businesses applying to Jenfi can receive between $10,000 and $1 million in financing for marketing, inventory, and growth activities. Liu told TechCrunch that the total sales generated by the companies in Jenfi’s portfolio now exceeds $150 million.
Decisions about which businesses to lend to are made through Jenfi’s proprietary risk assessment engine integrated into data sources such as accounting software, payment gateways, e-commerce platforms, online marketplaces and digital advertising. This allows Jenfi to continuously monitor its borrowers’ business activity, including revenue growth and return on marketing investment.
As Jenfi grows, it is adding more local market data sources, including sales management platform Haravan and POS management software KiotViet in Vietnam, and almost all banks in Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia.
Liu said Jenfi’s proprietary risk engine is one of the main ways it differentiates itself from other firms offering revenue-based financing for digital-native businesses, as it implies more comprehensive credit assessment and tailored financing solutions.
Since announcing its Series A funding round, Jenfi has deployed its first machine learning-assisted underwriting system, which Liu says enables it to make underwriting decisions faster, with greater accuracy, and with less human involvement.
In the future, Jenfi will use synthetic data to better understand customer behavior and likely future outcomes. The company also plans to develop a technology platform that would allow third parties to use its proprietary scoring models within their own on-premises infrastructure.
Another way Jenfi differs from competitors is the flexibility of its repayment plans, Liu said. They range from three to twelve months and are designed to be flexible and take into account the needs of each business. The repayment amount is based on a pre-determined percentage of income but can vary widely depending on the type of business. For example, a high-margin software business may capture a higher percentage of revenue share than companies in other industries.
The total amount the company pays is based on a credit score generated by its proprietary risk engine. Rates are transparent and competitive, with no hidden fees or charges, Liu said.
Jenfi’s near-term plans include extending growth capital to more clients through the use of dynamic limits that can be adjusted based on client needs and creditworthiness. It will also launch on-demand financing products to meet recurring escalating capital needs, such as variable monthly ad spend.
Aki Okamoto, Headline Asia Partner, and Jonathan M. Hayashi, Headline Asia, said in a statement: “We have been continuously researching revenue-based financing and talking to almost every player in the space in Asia. Jenfi definitely sets us apart . Their technology, product, operations and traction are significantly superior to their peers.”