WeLab, the internet finance technology company behind HongKong's first peer-to-peer lending business, WeLend.hk, has announced initial Series A financing from a group of strategic and financial investors, including TOM Group and Sequoia Capital.
WeLab plans to use the funding to build broader internet finance technology services for the region, including a new product launch in Mainland China later in 2014 that will use big data for credit risk modeling. WeLab is establishing strategic partnerships with a variety of mobile, e-commerce, and financial companies that will enable unprecedented analytical insights into consumer behavior in the fast-developing China market.
TOM Group focuses on technology-enabled, value-added services in China's e-commerce and mobile Internet sector. Sequoia Capital is the Silicon-valley based venture capital fund with a remarkable history of investments in technology companies such as Google, Apple and Yahoo.
"This round of financing validates our mission to use internet technologies to enable massive disruption and innovation in Asia's financial industry, which began with WeLab's launch of WeLend.hk in Hong Kong last year," said Simon Loong, Founder and CEO of WeLab. "As we look beyond WeLend.hk, we are particularly excited by the network of our strategic investor, TOM Group, to facilitate our fast expansion into mainland China, Greater China and Asia."
Internet finance is experiencing explosive global growth, improving access to credit for mainstream consumers and SMEs. "In Asia, the market opportunity is huge as banks remain constrained by dependence on legacy businesses, while the traditional lending model is generally both inefficient and misaligned with the interests of consumers," according to Loong. "But the internet changes everything and gives market participants an opportunity to find ways to serve the consumer better."
Founded in 2013 in Hong Kong, WeLab was launched by a team of senior professionals from leading financial institutions, such as Standard Chartered, HSBC, and Goldman Sachs. "WeLab is Sequoia Capital China's first start-up investment in Hong Kong. We are optimistic that the WeLab team, with its extensive internet and finance experience, can offer superior services targeting a young consumer base. Sequoia also hopes that WeLab can offer convenient, innovative and attractive financial services to more borrowers and investors in Asia, especially China," said Neil Shen, Founding and Managing Partner of Sequoia Capital China.
Mr Ken Yeung, Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director of TOM Group said, "We are very excited about WeLab's cutting-edge risk and fraud control technology, which has the ability to leverage Big Data, a massive untapped opportunity in the region. We look forward to working closely with the company to launch its technology and services throughout Mainland China, Greater China region and Asia."