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Monday, June 24, 2024

Paywatch Secures US$30M in Funding - the Largest for an Earned Wage Access Solution in Southeast Asia

Paywatch Secures US$30M in Funding - the Largest for an Earned Wage Access Solution in Southeast Asia

Kuala Lumpur, 24 June 2024- Asia’s leading earned-wage access (EWA) service provider, Paywatch, has raised US$30 million in funding from a mix of equity and credit facilities to supercharge its growth. Paywatch received over US$ 14 million in Series A equity investment, led by Third Prime and a consortium of US investors, including Vanderbilt University and University of Illinois Foundation, with participation from new investors Octagon Venture Partners and Wooshin Venture Investment Corp. Paywatch also secured US$ 16 million in credit facilities from global banks, including Citi and other major banks, to fund its product expansion. This is the largest funding round closed by an EWA player in Southeast Asia.

An ESG Employee Benefit Beloved by Global Brands & Enterprises


Paywatch offers a debt-free EWA solution, also known as on-demand pay, an innovative employee benefit that allows workers to instantly access a part of their accumulated salary in real-time as it is earned, and before the end of their payroll cycle. Paywatch’s solution has demonstrably decreased employees’ dependence on loans, alleviated household debt and enhanced financial management. Simultaneously, Paywatch’s seamless, fully automated system has substantially boosted companies’ employee retention and productivity, resulting in significant cost savings associated with hiring and training.


Paywatch has partnered and collaborate with a few esteemed Malaysian brands and institutions, furthering our commitment to the region’s financial well-being and economic growth. Our partnerships with leading local entities such as Lotus, Jaya Grocer, QSR Brands (including KFC and Pizza Hut), FFM Berhad, PayNet, Shopper360, Guardian (part of DFI Group), Corus Hotel (under MUI Group), Llao Llao (by Woodpeckers), Media Prima, University of Nottingham Malaysia, UNITAR and Durioo, are testaments to our dedication to providing a transformative financial service that caters to the unique needs of the Malaysian workforce. These collaborations underscore our role in supporting Malaysia’s vision for a more inclusive and digitally empowered society.

Most Multinational EWA Service in Asia, Biggest Volume with US$58m Processed


“Amidst this funding and tech winter, we take immense pride in the confidence shown by these esteemed investors and banks in our vision. From the outset, we firmly believed that providing Earned Wage Access at the lowest, nominal fee to users while ensuring access to major financial institutions was the sustainable path. Although it was a more challenging route to market, our rapid growth and portfolio of high-caliber enterprise clients validate our approach,” said Alex Kim, President & Co-founder of Paywatch.

 Alex Kim, President and Co Founder of Paywatch


As an enterprise-focused company founded by brothers Richard and Alex Kim, serving the largest base of employees in Asia, the company has processed over US$58 million in salaries through its system to date and increased its disbursements to nearly US$8M per month, which is growing month-over-month by as much as 15%.  This makes Paywatch the largest EWA service in Asia by volume of transactions. The company expects to reach well over US$120 million in salaries disbursed by the end of the year, more than doubling its lifetime volume.


Paywatch is also the most prolific multinational EWA service provider in Asia, rapidly growing to four markets since its establishment in 2020: Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia and South Korea. The company is committed to this strategy, and “with the recent influx of funding, we’re poised to expand into new markets and develop even more financially inclusive tools for our users,” Kim added.    Paywatch’s leading investor for this funding round is Third Prime, a U.S.-based early-stage venture capital firm that invests in leading financial and industrial technology businesses globally. “We have seen EWA become a mainstream employee benefit in the US and Latin America. And when we look to Asia, we see Paywatch becoming the leading change agent in the region with enormous momentum. It is a thrilling time to witness the rapid adoption of earned wage access as it spreads across markets with different regulations and cultures, all working towards the same end goal of optimizing outcomes for the employee and the employer,” shared Michael Kim, General Partner of Third Prime.

Michael Kim, General Partner of Third Prime

First Time for US University Endowments


One with the company’s mission, Vanderbilt University and University of Illinois Foundation directly invested in Paywatch. This decision is considered a milestone in the market as the first time these US-based University endowment funds have invested directly in an Asia-based tech startup.


“We have been advocating for financial inclusion for many years and believe that Paywatch’s earned wage access technology can push the movement forward in a meaningful way. Beyond the technology, we also believe in the company’s dedication and commitment to delivering true impact in Southeast Asia”, shares Travis Shore, Chief Investment Officer of the University of Illinois Foundation.

Travis Shore, Chief Investment Officer of the University of Illinois Foundation  

To sustain its momentum, a significant portion of Paywatch’s Series A funding will be used to further enhance the company’s embedded finance offerings along with the company’s other innovation efforts. For more information about Paywatch, visit About Paywatch 

Founded by brothers Richard and Alex Kim, Paywatch is Asia's leading Earned Wage Access (EWA) service provider, committed to fostering holistic financial wellness for employees. By partnering with leading enterprises and top banks across Asia, we enable employees to secure brighter financial futures through safe and flexible financial access. Our mission is to empower people to live better lives. Currently, Paywatch operates in Malaysia, South Korea, the Philippines, and Indonesia, with support from Citi, UOB, Hana Bank, and Hong Leong Bank. 



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