The chief technology officer of Tonik Digital Bank, the first neobank licensed in the Philippines, has left to create a rival.
Arivuvel Ramu helped design and launch Tonik, from 2018 to 2022, over which time the bank accrued $1 billion in deposits, according to a pitch deck seen by DigFin. (Tonik’s 2021 financial statement, the most recent publicly available record, shows deposits of P5 billion, or $90 million.)
Now Ramu is taking on the role of frontman, as co-founder and CEO.
The new business, Inypay, describes itself as “a next generation digital platform” providing Southeast Asia’s underserved and underbanked with “hyper-personalized financial experience, products and services”.
Ramu’s co-founder and CTO is Barani Sundaram, a longtime banker serving at Standard Chartered, DBS, RBH and TP Bank.
The partners are seeking to sell 20 percent of the business for $6 million in seed funding, which would value Inypay at $30 million. If successful, the group will continue to raise bigger rounds to fund its various growth plans. Most of the seed funding will go to engineering and platform building.
Ramu did not respond to DigFin’s request for comment.
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Inypay describes its users as blue-collar workers, foreign domestic workers, and micro SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises). The platform would provide them with digital and easy onboarding, real-time cross-border remittances, emergency cash loans, and savings and insurance products.
It would also provide working capital and invoice financing to small businesses.
B2C and B2B
Ramu has established the new business as INY Financial, a Singapore-based holding company. It plans to launch inypay, a non-banking financial service for Singapore and Indonesia, and inybank, a digital bank for retail and SMEs in the Philippines, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Indonesia.
INY plans to launch a neobank pilot in Singapore this April with a lending and payments license, providing self-onboarding and unsecured lending, with Stripe providing the backend for payments.
It aims to follow with a rural bank in the Philippines by the end of the year, for both retail and SME users, with Vietnam and Indonesia neobanks slated for 2024.
In addition to these consumer-facing services, the company will also run inydigital, a digital banking-as-a-service platform for other banks and fintechs operating in emerging markets worldwide. The platform would provide a full stack, from lending to payments to insurance, including consulting and operational support.
The company will hire sales directors for Southeast Asia this year for its B2B offering, followed by the Middle East. Next year it hopes to add people in Africa.
Ramu left Tonik in September 2022, according to his LinkedIn profile. He remains listed as Tonik’s CTO on Tonik’s web page, so presumably no replacement has been finalized. Greg Krasnov, Tonik’s founder and CEO, did not respond to DigFin’s request for comment.