THE first time Digital News Asia (DNA) featured Intelligent Money Sdn Bhd (iMoney) was last July when co-founder and chief executive officer Ching Wei Lee (pic) shared his plans for the site, his motivation for launching it and revealed that Khailee Ng of Says.com was his angel investor.
He declared his intentions to become Malaysia’s No 1 money website in one year, and that within five years, “iMoney would become the top financial comparison site for all of South-East Asia.”
One month short of that one-year target and he claims that he is already Malaysia’s top money website. Over the last 30 days, it registered 160,000 visits, with 110,000 being unique visitors.
And having just raised a US$500,000 investment from Asia Venture Group Sdn Bhd (AVG), his regional plans just got a rocket boost. Ching says that iMoney is well on track to becoming the No 1 destination for financial matters for consumers in South-East Asia.
With a team of around 30, iMoney is looking at a few countries, starting with Singapore and Thailand. “This entire region is lacking a good consumer-centric site like iMoney,” he says.
While declining to share the valuation in this seed round, Ching reveals that AVG looked at it from a holistic manner – that is, taking into account team/ traction current metrics and other factors. In fact, he says that his valuation was not based on revenue, profit or users.
AVG describes itself as a hands-on, private Internet holding company which combines international know-how and expertise, rigorous execution and the best local partners and international talent. It is led by German entrepreneur Tim Marbach who formed AVG at the beginning of 2013 and operates across South-East Asia with its headquarters in Kuala Lumpur.
Marbach predicts that iMoney will change the way consumers and financial institutions interact in South-East Asia.
“The fast growing middle class in the region is longing for access to financial products and at the same time financial institutions are under pressure to grow market share in a tough environment,” he says in a statement.
“iMoney brings them together more efficiently than ever before by disrupting their interaction using Internet technology. This is a huge opportunity,” Marbach adds.
Starting out with a team of three, sharing a collective vision to simplify financial matters for consumers, today the site provides free financial services comparison to consumers, as well as application services for home, personal, and car loans, credit cards and other banking products.
iMoney has also created a large library of financial related content, aimed at educating the general public. Consumers then use these services to choose and apply for financial products.
Ching claims that iMoney is generating more than US$50 million in potential business for financial institutions on any given month. He derives this estimate from the aggregate loan amount people are requesting on iMoney (when they sign up for any financial loan product).
iMoney then passes on or works with banks to convert these potential customers (that is, these are all potential businesses for banks.)