MoMo, a Vietnamese eWallet startup, has raised US$200 million from Japanese bank Mizuho in its latest funding round, pushing it to unicorn status.

MoMo, the largest Vietnamese eWallet, has raised US$200 million in its most recent funding round, widening the gap between itself and several other digital payment startups, after a rapid and highly contested race for investor funding. Other startups include Goldman-Sachs-backed ZaloPay and Softbank‘s VNPay

The e-wallet company started in 2010 as a SIM-card app, allowing users to transfer money, as well as buy mobile top-ups and game scratch cards. The eWallet service was introduced in 2014, and has since progressed into an app with several services, including making insurance payments, gaining access to an investment marketplace, and making donations. 

This latest funding has given the company a valuation of over US$2 billion, pushing it well into unicorn status among a small number of other startups in Vietnam. The investment was initiated by Mizuho from a Series E funding, a Japanese bank, that injected US$170 million into the company for a 7.5% stake. 

Along with Mizuho, Ward Ferry, Goodwater Capital, and Kora Management took part in the latest Series E funding, joining previous investors Warburg Pincus, Macquarie Capital, Affirma Capital, and Tybourne Capital Management. Though there are no current plans for the company to go public, this is an expectation for said investors. 

MoMo aims to use this funding to invest in other Vietnamese startups, as well as make its services accessible to millions of vendors and expand into rural areas.

According to Nguyen Manh Tuong, Co-founder of MoMo, “The biggest challenge is still trust. Going to the more rural areas, we still need to invest our time and money into educating the users.” 

The app has 31 million users in Vietnam, a country of over 97 million people – a number that has grown significantly since August when its user base was reported at 25 million.

The goal of the Ho Chi Minh-based Vietnamese eWallet is “to improve the life of the Vietnamese people and merchants through technology, by giving them access to superior, simpler and affordable financial solutions,” according to Co-CEO Tuong.

Despite Covid-19-related setbacks, such as a drop in movie tickets and travel sales, MoMo has doubled its revenue, says Tuong, likely due to many merchants moving online because of the pandemic. Vietnam has the second-largest growing digital consumer market in Southeast Asia, following closely behind Indonesia,  and by 2030, the National Party Congress predicts that the digital economy will make up 30% of Vietnam’s GDP, boding well for companies like MoMo. 


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