YouTrip gears up for global expansion with new US$50 million funding

YouTrip, the multi-currency mobile wallet operator, has successfully raised an additional US$50 million in funding for its Series B round.

The funds were secured from the global venture capital firm Lightspeed, known for its investments in tech giants like Snapchat-owner Snap and Stripe.

This latest financing round comes after YouTrip’s previous successful funding rounds of US$30 million in 2021 and US$25.5 million in 2019.

With nearly five years of operations under its belt, YouTrip’s CEO, Caecilia Chu, announced in an interview with CNA that the Singapore-based app has now achieved operational profitability.

YouTrip presently processes a remarkable US$10 billion in payments each year, encompassing expenditures by users travelling abroad, shopping on international websites, and corporate outlays by small- and medium-sized enterprises through YouBiz. The lion’s share of these payments comes from consumer activity.

Chu emphasised the importance of demonstrating a robust and sustainable business model in the current economic climate, where companies are striving for prudence in times of uncertainty.

“It’s important under this current climate to show investors, and even to show ourselves, that we have a solid business model where we can scale in a sustainable manner,” she stated.

YouTrip’s growth trajectory is impressive, with a 200% year-on-year increase, leading to profitability in April this year.

Chu stressed that, in the current climate, raising funds necessitates simultaneous efforts on multiple fronts.

The newly acquired funds will be used to invest in advanced technologies to enhance YouTrip’s product offerings.

In the future, users can expect the ability to add their YouTrip cards to Google Pay, and QR code payments are on the roadmap for the near future.

In anticipation of an increase by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in the amount of money that e-wallets can store, from S$5,000 to S$20,000 (US$3,600 to US$14,600), YouTrip has plans to introduce new features. Additionally, the 12-month payment limit is set to rise from S$30,000 to S$100,000. These changes are anticipated to occur later this year.

“It really opens up a whole lot more opportunities for us to build more features like additional currency wallets, remittance services, more partnerships with merchants, and many more features,” Chu said.

She also hinted at upcoming budgeting recommendations and financial insights.

Expansion plans

YouTrip’s strategy is firmly rooted in localisation and customisation for each market they enter.

“We customise the app and also the card face (design) in every market we go into. So we just don’t take something that works in another part of the world and plug it in here and assume people would like it,” Chu explained.

While claiming a significant market share in Singapore, the company declined to disclose specific user numbers.

Expansion in Southeast Asia was a pre-COVID-19 goal for YouTrip, and with its well-capitalised position following the successful Series B fundraising, the company is now considering global expansion into international financial hubs that share similarities with Singapore.

“What it allows us to do is to also look at some of the international financial hubs that have similar characteristics with Singapore, so we are definitely broadening our minds in terms of where to launch going forward.”

Although YouTrip has diversified into e-commerce and business payments, its core growth driver remains travel, especially since borders reopened post-pandemic.

Singaporean users have demonstrated a proclivity for purchasing foreign currencies when exchange rates are favourable, often holding them for months before spending abroad. Popular currencies held include the US dollar and euro.

Chu believes that consumers are increasingly embracing cashless travel, although some regions, such as Japan and Southeast Asia, still require cash for certain transactions.

“We cannot make sure that every merchant can accept our card, but what we can do is open up free access (to ATMs),” she shared.

“In some markets, we know it’s just not possible to only travel with a card. We still need cash in order to have that peace of mind.”

In response, the company announced the waiver of its S$5 ATM withdrawal fee in June, allowing users to withdraw up to S$400 worth of foreign currency from ATMs each month without charges, with a 2% fee applied for withdrawals exceeding this limit.

More from OMY: The Ultimate Guide to Using YouTrip Card in Singapore – Everything You Need to Know

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