Financial apps are spreading across Southeast Asia, making things like bookkeeping or securing an online loan easier. However, this means that fintechs need access to large amounts of data that they can use to verify customer identity and creditworthiness, or to aggregate information from online accounts. scrap wants to simplify the process with a set of APIs that connect finance apps to “hyperlocal” data sources, including banks, mobile wallets, and telecoms.
The Company announced today that it has closed an $8.5 million seed round led by Flourish Ventures and Antler. That amount includes Brick’s previously undisclosed seed funding, which TechCrunch reported in May 2021, but the bulk of it is fresh capital, said co-founder and CEO Gavin Tan. Brick currently operates primarily in Indonesia, but plans to expand to Singapore and the Philippines before eventually covering all markets in Southeast Asia.
Other participants include Trihill Capital and returning investors Better Tomorrow Ventures and Rally Cap Ventures, along with individual investors such as Creative Juice co-founder and CEO and Plaid’s former head of business development and strategy Sima Gandhi; Yan Wu, co-founder of Bond Financial Technologies; Brian Ma, founder of Divvy Homes; Iterative Co-Founder and Managing Partner Ooi Hsu Ken; Pine Labs CEO Amrish Rau; and Aspire co-founder and CEO Andrea Baronchelli.
Founded in 2020 by Tan and CTO Deepak Malhotra, Brick now has more than 50 paying customers and supports more than 13 million API calls and nearly one million consumers per month. Tan was an early contributor at Aspire, the neobank, while Malhotra was co-founder and CTO of Indian neobank Slice.
Brick’s 25 data partners include some of Indonesia’s largest banks, but Tan says that over the past year, “due to the local landscape and huge unbanked/subbanked population in Indonesia and Southeast Asia, we’ve moved a bit away from the pure banking focus . Only 25% of adults in Indonesia regularly bank accounts, so we’ve expanded into mobile wallets, e-commerce, telecom companies and government social security data, which has proved very popular.”
Brick’s APIs include Brick Data, Brick Verification, and Brick Payments, which can enable an end-to-end process for online loans, including verifying user identity, underwriting, and ensuring funds are withdrawn to the correct bank account will.
When TechCrunch first spoke to Brick last year, many of its customers were online loan providers, but it’s since expanded into new verticals. The second most popular industry is personal finance management apps, where the APIs support the budgeting feature. The third largest industry is accounting and bookkeeping apps used by businesses. Other clients include investment firms, banks and some of Indonesia’s largest conglomerates, including Sinarmas Group and Astra Financial.
Funding will be used to double Brick’s presence in Indonesia and regional expansion. The Philippines was chosen as one of Brick’s next markets because of “the development in open banking,” Tan said. “In the Philippines, there are already draft regulations from regulators, many open banking and open finance-friendly banks,” Tan said.
Singapore was chosen because “Regulators have always been at the forefront of open finance thinking, so that’s helpful, but another important factor is that there are a lot of modern fintech startups there, which means they support open finance.” -already know the solutions.”
Other open finance API startups in Southeast Asia include Finverse, Brankas and Finantier.
According to Tan, the advantage of Brick is that “we are by far the market leader in terms of coverage with more than 25 discrete different data connections” in Indonesia.
In an email to TechCrunch, Flourish Ventures global investment advisor Smita Aggarwal said: “Brick plays an important role as a digital channel connecting financial institutions, businesses and customers. It enables platforms, apps and fintechs to integrate identity and financial data through simple automated processes. This investment is consistent with our greater commitment to a supportive financial ecosystem that is inclusive and serves all.”