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Sy family of SM Group backs PH fintech firm in $1.6M fund round

MANILA, Philippines—The billionaire Sy family joined a $1.6 million (P80.7 million) investment round in NextPay, a Filipino financial technology startup that allows small businesses to access banking services normally reserved for large companies.

The Sys, owner of property, banking and retail conglomerate SM Investments Corp., led the seed financing round via privately-held Gentree Fund alongside Singapore-based venture capital firm Golden Gate Ventures.

The money would be used to expand NextPay, which has processed nearly P460 million in digital transactions for hundreds of businesses since it was launched in 2020.

With a pay-per-use model, low fees and fast processing, NextPay lets micro and small businesses use financial services such as digital invoicing, cash management, and batch payments to any bank or e-wallet in the country.

“This investment supports our goal of putting the power of big banks in the hands of small businesses,” NextPay CEO and co-founder Don Pansacola said in a statement on Wednesday.

The financing round also lured a host of local and international names such as the Ayala Group’s Kickstart Ventures, Foxmont Capital, First Asia Ventures and Lisa Gokongwei, whose family owns conglomerate JG Summit Holdings.

Other foreign investors were Tribe Capital, Broadhaven Ventures, 1982 Ventures, Saison Capital, and Razorpay, Rohit Mulani of GoTrade, and Abhinay Peddisetty and Chinmay Chauhan of BukuWarung.

Lastly there was Goodwater Capital, an investor in tech giants Facebook, Spotify and Twitter.

NextPay chief experience officer and co-founder Aldrich Tan said the company would roll out new products, including corporate cards, loans, and “integration with other platforms” focused on smaller businesses.

“We will also be hiring more talent to make the NextPay platform more comprehensive, simple, and easier to use and avail of,” he added.

NextPay said the fund-raising move was a milestone after it obtained a $125,000 pre-seed investment after completing the Y-Combinator program last April.

Gentree vice president Mark Sng said NextPay’s services filled a gap among small businesses “looking to go digital with mobile and convenient digital financial tools.”

“As a key infrastructure layer for our budding Philippines startup ecosystem, Gentree believes that NextPay will play a key role in supporting our entrepreneurs and enabling the Philippines digital economy,” he said in the statement.



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