02.11.2020, 15:30

Women-focused fintech startup Lucy bags $360k in pre-seed round

Neobank
Lucy ,  a fintech company that supports women entrepreneurs, announced that it has just raised S$500000 (US$365787) in an all-women pre-seed round. This brings the total capital it has raised to over S$1 million (US$731575).


The 18 participating women investors come from the UK, the US, Singapore, Somalia, Mexico, India, Indonesia, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, and Germany.


Lucy will be officially launched in early 2021 in Singapore, the company told
Tech in Asia . It will provide users with financial services and integrated peer/mentor support networks.


 


Women-focused fintech startup Lucy bags $360k in pre-seed round

Photo credit: Lucy



The initial founder funding came from Lucy CEO Debbie Watkins, who is the former managing director of Fern Software in Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa. Also part of the round were Hal Bosher, ex-CEO of Yoma Bank and chairman of Wave Money, and Luke Janssen, founder and former CEO of Tigerspike, as well as the Savearth fund.


By leveraging machine learning and data analytics, Lucy said its app would truly “know” its customers, allowing it to say yes to  requests that traditional banks would reject.


This capability will enable donors and investors to distribute and track grants and loans, and see female entrepreneurs find an easy way to sign up for and access the financial solutions they need to start and grow their businesses.


Lucy’s services will range from safekeeping and savings to remittances and credit.


Citing research from the International Trade Center, the company noted that Covid-19 has “strongly affected”
64% of women-led firms , compared with 52% of men-led companies. Similarly, the World Bank has reported how
women-owned SMEs are 6%
more likely to close their businesses than male-owned ones.


“Relevant and affordable financial services are needed now more than ever to prevent the gender gap from widening even further,” said Watkins in a company statement.


“One of the reasons that women-owned firms are smaller than men-owned ones is that they often get turned down for credit. For example, many small business lenders require collateral, and in many countries, the household collateral, especially land, is in the husband’s name,” she added.


Currency converted from Singapore dollar to US dollar: US$1 = S$137.