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Southeast Asia’s newest Unicorn Taps travel for growth and Entree to the U.S.

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Southeast Asia's newest Unicorn Taps travel for growth and
Entree to the U.S.

Fintech startup Nium has raised $200 million to expand its reach into the travel industry. It recently completed an acquisition of Ixaris.

Nium asserts that this investment makes it the first ever business-to-business unicorn in payment — a company valued at $1 billion or more — to come out of Southeast Asia. Nium is a specialist in cross-border payments. Ixaris, on the other hand, specializes in travel industry remittances and includes online travel agents as its customers.

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Nium now plans to enter the U.S. market where it has an office in San Francisco. It also has plans for a public listing there, according to reports. Prajit Nanu, co-founder and chief executive officer of the company is likely to move soon.

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The travel industry will play a part in that growth. Nium appointed Spencer Hanlon, its global head for travel and Europe. Hanlon, currently a non-executive chairman of Ixaris is expected to assume the position following approval by regulatory authorities of Ixaris’ acquisition.

Hanlon stated that North America is, along with China, still one of the largest markets worldwide. We are looking to expand our reach into America as fast as possible and take advantage of the large market. “Virtual credit cards have been well-received.”

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The U.S. represents 3 percent of Nium’s revenue, according to reports. And the business-to-business payments sector is worth $120 trillion, according to consultancy Bain, with small business in North America seen as an under-penetrated segment.

Travel within the U.S. is also recovering at pace, with some airlines, such as JetBlue, even planning for international growth. Hanlon stated that Ixaris will soon launch a virtual credit-card product in the U.S. and Nium may offer overseas agencies the opportunity to issue their own cards. This is similar to Wise and Booking Holdings, which want to reduce the traditional forex and bank fees for travelers.

Hanlon stated that Nium could work with both leisure agencies and travel management companies. Although Nium does not typically offer credit, there are some situations where it can help with specific requirements “with direct funding or other mechanisms.”

Nium has a strong presence in Asia Pacific for Ixaris and it offers better foreign exchange technology as well as more licenses. He stated that the greater our global reach, the better we are able to serve these customers and gain a larger share of their wallets.

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Publiated at Mon, 16 August 2021 22.25:58 +0000

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