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Wallet App MoMo Becomes Unicorn Startup With $200m in New Investment

M-Service, the owner of Vietnam's leading payment app MoMo, raised US$200 million during a Series-E funding round led by Japanese bank Mizuho, resulting in a US$2 billion valuation.

M-Service achieved unicorn status when Mizuho acquired a 7.5% stake for US$170 million in the company with further investment coming from Ward Ferry Management and existing shareholders Goodwater Capital LLC and Kora Management. The company had raised an additional estimated US$100 million at the start of the year and the same amount in 2019, but has no plans to go public in the near future.

The money will be used to expand the reach of the financial services it currently offers to its 31 million users; invest in Vietnamese companies that can strengthen the MoMo ecosystem such as the recently acquired AI startup Pique and increase its presence in smaller cities and rural areas. M-Service was founded in 2007 and was initially focused on simple payment facilitation for mobile devices but has since expanded to a wide range of digital financial services. 

“The investment shows their confidence and belief in our mission – to improve the life of the Vietnamese people and merchants through technology, by giving them access to superior, simpler, and affordable financial solutions and daily services,” said Nguyễn Mạnh Tường, executive vice-chairman and co-CEO of MoMo.

Mizuho's investment is expected to help facilitate collaboration between M-Service and Vietcombank, which Mizuho also has a 15% stake in. "We are seeking to broaden our retail financial business footprint with particular focus on the ASEAN region, digital transformation, and financial inclusion. We will collaborate with MoMo with the aim of facilitating its future growth and increasing financial inclusion in Vietnam,” said Daisuke Horiuchi, managing executive officer at Mizuho’s retail business company."

MoMo was first founded in 2007 as an e-payment application. Based in Ho Chi Minh City, the app has now expanded its operation to numerous services and commercial platform. It reportedly controls over 50% of the electronic wallet market in Vietnam.

[Photo via MoMo]

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