Credit Saison launches Saison Capital, its first Southeast Asia / India venture fund

The US$55m fund will invest in Seed to Series A start-ups mainly in South-East Asia and India 

Posted on 24/10/2019

SINGAPORE, 24 October 2019—Credit Saison, a leading Japanese consumer finance company, has announced the launch of Saison Capital, its new international corporate venture capital (CVC) arm. Saison Capital intends to deploy up to US$55m through equity investments in early-stage start-ups. 

Credit Saison is leveraging its existing networks and expertise across Southeast Asia, having invested in Grab, Southeast Asia’s leading everyday super app, and Shopback, the region’s leading online cashback platform. Credit Saison has also been a limited partner in a number of prominent funds in the region, including Antler, Cyberagent Ventures, East Ventures, Gree Ventures (now known as STRIVE) and BEENEXT. 

Saison Capital will invest in founders building ecosystems that have the potential to distribute financial services to the underbanked, though they also have a mandate to invest in a wide variety of verticals outside fintech. The CVC will draw on Credit Saison’s track record in driving adoption of financial services in emerging markets for consumers, and small to large enterprises. Saison Capital aims to invest in six to eight companies every year with initial ticket sizes of up to US$1 million. 

Saison Capital has already made an investment in Koinworks, one of Indonesia’s larger peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms. 

“The establishment of Saison Capital is Credit Saison’s latest commitment to its international expansion and the constant innovation and modernisation of its operations and product offering. We can be a long-term growth partner for some of the world’s most exciting start-ups, supporting their internationalisation and scaling up. We are taking these start-ups to the next level, from seed to Series A, B, and beyond,” said Kosuke Mori, Managing Partner at Saison Capital. 

Access to financial services has the potential to unlock vast economic value—according to the World Bank. While MSMEs can contribute up to 60% of total employment and 40% of gross domestic product in emerging markets, 70% of all SMEs in these economies lack access to credit, constraining their ability to grow. The World Bank estimates that the global credit gap for formal and informal SMEs is up to US$2.6 trillion. 

Saison Capital portfolio companies will become part of the Credit Saison ecosystem, and will have access to partners across finance and technology disruptors. The Credit Saison ecosystem includes joint ventures with HCM Development Bank in Vietnam and technology companies such as Grab. Saison Capital portfolio companies will also benefit from Credit Saison’s wide-ranging expertise and experience in dozens of business verticals, including payments, consumer credit and asset management. 

“Our unique value proposition is our strong institutional knowledge of the financing space, the investment team’s tech backgrounds, and the speed of our conviction. We move quickly and have an independent decision-making process from Credit Saison,” said Chris Sirisereepaph, Partner at Saison Capital.