Singapore-based neobank Aspire raises $100M from Lightspeed and Sequoia SEA

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Aspire, the Singapore-based neobank that wants to become the financial operating system for SMEs, has raised an oversubscribed $100 million Series C round. Investors included Lightspeed and Sequoia Capital SEA, along with Paypal, Tencent, LGT Capital Partners and returning investors. 

TechCrunch last covered Aspire when it raised its Series B in 2021. Founded in 2018 to provide working capital loans for small to medium-sized businesses, Aspire began offering more services, including bank accounts for cross-border businesses, corporate cards, payable and receivable management and automated invoice processing connected to financial management software. 

Co-founder and CEO Andrea Baronchelli says that over the past 12 months, Aspire has tripled its annualized total payment volumes to $12 billion, serving over 15,000 businesses in Southeast Asa. 

Baronchelli told TechCrunch that the startup focuses “primarily on new age business whose purchase decisions are driven more and more by UX and usability, from single director businesses to 500+ employee.” This covers a wide range of sectors, including IT companies, professional services, goods businesses and startups.

Most Aspire’s customers use it for payment accounts, multi-currency management, payable and receivables management. 

Before switching to Aspire, Baronchelli said customers would “us a combination of incumbent financial institutions, Excel or multiple fintech providers for cards, spending management credit. But these systems don’t talk to each other, so simple yet important things like financial approvals take place across multiple platforms without a visible source of truth. We have bundled all of a business’ needs under a single finance operating stack for businesses. Aspire integrated with Xero, Quickbook, Netsuite, Accurate, Jurnal and other major accounting software. 

Aspire will use its lastest funding on product development, regional expansion and growing its team. 

In a statement about the funding, Lightspeed parter Bejul Somaia said, “Aspire has emerged as a leader in the B2B fintech space in Southeast Asia, with a complete end-to-end product for managing business finance, a strong track record of growth, and solid fundamentals. 

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