Unicorn fintech firm Pine Labs acquires Fave in deal valued over $45 mn

Malaysia-based company Fave, which provides QR payments and loyalty cashback to restaurants and retailers, has enabled 6 million consumers in Southeast Asia to save over $400 million since 2016


Pine Labs | acquisition | Digital Payments

Peerzada Abrar  | 

Unicorn fintech company Pine Labs has acquired Fave, Southeast Asia’s fast-growing consumer fintech platform, in a deal valued over $45 million. Malaysia-based company Fave provides QR payments and loyalty cashback to restaurants and retailers. It has enabled 6 million consumers in SEA to save over $400 million across 40,000 retailers since 2016. With this acquisition, Indian consumers will be able to use the Fave app later this year to save across 500,000 merchant network points powered by Pine Labs across 3,700 in India.

The acquisition will help both companies accelerate their growth in the Asia region. It would unlock massive consumer opportunities across retail, F&B (food and beverage), fashion, and FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) markets. Joining forces with Pine Labs will reinforce Fave’s market position in Southeast Asia.

“Consumers have tremendous choices in their payment types. They want to be sure that they save on every transaction,” said B. Amrish Rau, CEO, Pine Labs. “Fave helps consumers apply their best rewards, coupons, gift cards and cashback on all transactions in a seamless manner.”

Fave’s founders will have their roles expanded to lead the overall consumer platform for the group across Asia. Fave will also be hiring over 100 new employees in Southeast Asia and India to accelerate cashless payments and smart savings across the region. It will continue to introduce new smart payment features via the Fave platform, unlocking new ways to maximize joy and value in every shopping experience for consumers across Asia. In August 2020, Fave announced a partnership with Singtel and DBS Bank that has enabled over half a million Singaporeans to use their respective Singtel Dash and Paylah! e-wallet app to pay at Fave partner stores.

“Really excited to work with Amrish (Rau) and the Pine Labs team to continue expanding the Fave platform across the Asia region,” said Joel Neoh, co-founder and CEO of Fave. “Pine Labs has been a great partner and investor for us, and it only made sense for us to join our synergies together and work towards our shared vision of building a truly global consumer and merchant platform.”

Neoh said India has the digital advantage with young demography, a growing aspirational middle class with rising disposable income and increasing digital savviness. “We are confident that the APAC e-payments landscape will continue to achieve exponential growth in the coming decade,” said Neoh. “Together, we will be stronger, faster and better.”

Fave currently operates in 35 cities across Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. The Fave app will be rolled out across all major Indian cities. In India, the introduction of the Fave app this year comes at an opportune moment, with UPI (unified payments interface) growing to 2.7 billion transactions in March 2021. Pine Labs also recorded a significant growth of 171 per cent in UPI transactions over the last two quarters.

Last year, Pine Labs had made an investment and formed a strategic partnership with Fave.

“Joel (Neoh) and the Fave team have built a loyal consumer base with their smooth checkout experience,” said Rau of Pine Labs. “We are excited to partner with them in this journey in South East Asia and India.”

Fave is the second acquisition for Pine Labs. In 2019, it acquired Amazon-backed Qwikcilver, a gift card technology startup for $110 million. The combined gift solutions business that time became the largest in India with a customer base of over 250 brands and retailers and 1,500 enterprise customers.

Most small businesses in India across every sector took a severe hit in 2020. But now a year later, embracing e-commerce and online payment methods has played a major role in keeping such enterprises afloat. Digital payment transactions are up by 76 per cent in Jan-Feb-March (JFM) of 2021, as compared to JFM, 2020, according to a report by fintech firm Razorpay.

The report, ‘The Era of Rising Fintech’, said that in JFM21, tier-2 and 3 cities and towns continued to contribute over 50 per cent of all online transactions. As tourism opened up, Jammu & Kashmir found itself in the top 10 digitally inclusive states and union territories for the first time, with a growth of 36 per cent in online transactions in JFM21 compared to JFM20, ranking above Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana.

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