Singapore-based financial startup Tonik Financial Pte Ltd is launching its digital bank in the Philippines, with a target start of commercial operations in Q3 of this year, according to a company announcement.

Tonik’s launch in the Philippines is even boosted by a $21-million Series A equity funding round, which was led by investors Sequoia India and Point72 Ventures, with backing from previous investors Insignia and Credence.

The fresh funding will be used to launch Tonik Digital Bank Inc, which was recently granted its own bank license by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the country’s central bank.

In the company’s estimates, the Philippines represents a $140-billion retail savings market and a $100-billion unsecured consumer lending opportunity.

Tonik is led by Founder & CEO Greg Krasnov, who had previously incubated four fintech start-ups in the consumer finance space in Asia, as well as founded, built, and exited a significant consumer finance bank in emerging Europe.

Krasnov said COVID-19 is causing consumers all over the globe to save more for emergencies, to care more about the safety of their money as well as about earning a fair interest rate on their deposits while having access to their funds for easy withdrawal and transfer.

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In the Philippines, where over 70% of the population remains unbanked, the company is observing a rapid jump in consumer demand for digital banking and digital transfers since the start of the year.

“We are preparing to bring a highly differentiated experience to the Filipino consumer to address these needs and are honored to be supported in this by the regulators who have encouraged innovation and welcomed technology solutions to bolster financial inclusion,” Krasnov added.

Founded in 2018, Tonik is launching operationally in 2020 in the Philippines on the basis of its own bank license, with support and R&D functions based in Singapore and Chennai, India. –