Startup Success Story: WeLab

By September 16, 2016Lifestyle

WeLab is a financial technology company headquartered in Hong Kong with offices in China and India. The founder and CEO of WeLab, Simon Loong, founded the company in 2013 by a team of financial professionals. Even though WeLab is Asia’s leading internet financial company, it is disrupting traditional banking with internet finance technologies. WeLab offers financing products through its online lending platforms – WeLend and Wolaidai in Hong Kong and China respectively. It provides both unsecured personal loans and sales financing in Hong Kong.

In January 2016, WeLab completed a US$160 million Series B fundraising round from a consortium of international investors, Khazanah Nasional Berhad, ING Bank, and China state-owned Guangdong Technology Financial Group (GTFG), and it has raised the fourth largest fundraising and second largest Series B fundraising in FinTech globally.

WeLab’s mission is to introduce traditional credit services in order to better serve consumers with a cheaper, faster, and more hassle-free way of borrowing money. Backed by leading investors, including Li Ka-Shing’s TOM Group and Sequoia Capital, WeLab is led by a team of industry experts from leading financial and technology companies, including Citibank, HSBC, Goldman Sachs, Oracle, Amazon, Alibaba, Tencent, and Baidu.

Simon Loong tells TechCrunch that WeLab’s Series B will be used to improve its technology, which uses non-traditional sources of data to assess a lender’s risk profile and strike partnerships with companies and banks. They will begin working with e-commerce platform, Ule.com and the Postal Savings Bank of China, to launch online financial products this year.

Since its launch in 2013, WeLab has loaned money to 2.5 million customers, the majority in mainland China. WeLab wants to give people who need small business or personal loans a more efficient alternative. Many do not have an established credit or lending record, however, have a hard time securing capital from financial institutions at a reasonable interest rate.

Loong says it uses online sources including bill payment records and social media profiles to verify the identity of borrowers and figure out how likely they are to pay back their loans on time. WeLab claims it has maintained a delinquency rate of one percent on loans. He says most of its loans carry an interest rate of about 10 percent to 20 percent which is lower than most credit cards issued to new users.

Wolaidai and WeLand.hk both compete with traditional lenders but have set itself apart by letting consumers complete the entire loan application process on their smartphones. Loong says most banks require at least one in-person meeting, but moving the entire lending process online has given WeLab an advantage to expand into smaller cities.

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