Paywatch, a Earned Wage Access (EWA) service provider, has raised USD9 million in a Pre-Series A funding round led by returning investor Third Prime which will see the funds utilized to fortify the company’s presence in the market.
The latest funding round also welcomed participating companies Hana Ventures, Korea’s Hana Financial Group’s venture arm, Parkwood Corp and notably, the endowments of Vanderbilt University and University of Illinois Foundation, who underscores Paywatch’s commitment to financial wellness.
With their services being offered in Malaysia and South Korea, the company is hopeful that the funds will be able to aid them in their mission to grow its product offerings, strengthen its presence in existing markets, and accelerate expansion efforts into new markets, including the Philippines and Hong Kong where it expects to launch in 2023.
Founded in 2020, Paywatch’s flexible payroll system aims to promote financial inclusion by helping workers achieve financial security and gain financial access to major banks. According to its founder and CEO, Richard Kim, the company has noticed the difference their service makes to employees’ state of mind. “For companies, we have proven to increase recruitment and retention.”
EWA solutions enable workers to access their already-earned wages early or mid-month for cash liquidity, but Paywatch sets itself apart through its partnership with major banks – the company is currently the only Central Bank-backed EWA solution in the region.
Through these partnerships, not only are employees empowered to withdraw a percentage of their earned salary ahead of payday and proactively manage their finances with Paywatch’s solution, but they are also bridged into the banking system, which opens more doors for future financial aid and opportunities and disrupts high interest payday lending practices and other predatory services.
“The momentum Paywatch has generated in Malaysia this past year has been impressive, and it has served as a powerful proofpoint for how critical this product will be to improving financial opportunities and, ultimately, outcomes for workers,” comments Michael Kim, Partner at Third Prime. “We are excited to continue backing the company as it accelerates its growth and impact throughout Southeast Asia.”
In addition to growing its geographic reach in Southeast Asia, Paywatch is also focused on expanding the ways it can provide enhanced financial stability and broader financial inclusion at all levels of the workforce.