Vietnamese financial marketplace and peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform Tima raised $3 million in Series B funding from Belt Road Capital Management (BRCM), a Greater Mekong-focused private equity fund, at a valuation of nearly $20 million, Tima announced on October 1.

“We received higher investor demand from top financial investors and strategic investors in this round,” Tima Co-Founder and Board Member Cong Tran confirmed with VET. “We may have a pre-Series C funding round right after this Series B, and our Board is considering proposals from several big funds and investors who can add value to the company for ambitious growth and expansion.”

The new funding will be used for Tima’s growth in Vietnam’s 63 cities and provinces, investing more in technologies and talent with a mission of quickly and conveniently connecting borrowers and lenders with financial technologies.

As part of the investment, Mr. Witt Gatchell, Senior Investment Manager at BRCM, will join Tima’s Board of Directors. “We are very excited to be investing in Tima as BRCM’s first investment in Vietnam,” Mr. Gatchell said in a statement. “With Tima’s strong management team and presence in the market, we believe that the company has tremendous opportunity for growth.”

Though enjoying exponential growth over the last few years, with $47.84 billion in outstanding consumer loans registered by the end of 2017 according to data from the Banking Strategy Institute at the State Bank of Vietnam and from StoxPlus, the consumer finance market in Vietnam is still behind its regional peers and has room for development, according to Mr. Gatchell.

He also believes that Vietnam has the potential to boost financial services in the time to come.

Tima also officially announced a strategic partnership with the VietinBank Insurance Corporation, the insurance arm of Vietinbank - one of largest banks in the country.

It will use the services of VietinBank Insurance to ensure the safety of borrowers. When borrowers are unfortunately exposed to unexpected risks, VietinBank Insurance will help them pay off their loans. Solutions from VietinBank Insurance will contribute to added value to Tima and help participants feel assured when using its P2P lending platform.

Tima has 23,775 lenders and 2,133,405 borrowers on their platforms, it said in a statement. In April it was named one of the top 10 software and IT services companies in Vietnam by the Vietnam Software Association (Vinasa).

Tima was founded in 2015 and received Series A investment from the Dunearn Singapore Fund and G Capital in 2016. It is the leading consumer finance marketplace and P2P lending platform in Vietnam and has various financial products.

Belt Road Capital Management has also announced a $4 million investment in Unnitel, an Asia-based mobility virtual network provider. In January, it invested $1.8 million in the Australia-based property portal Digital Classifieds Group. The fund also invested $7 million in the Oway Group, a leading travel and taxi company in Myanmar, as part of a $14.7 million financing round. It made its latest investment in August, in Cambodia’s leading digital publishing and entertainment group Sabay Digital Corporation, for a 40 per cent stake in the company.