FINANCIAL SERVICES | Krisana Gallezo-Estaura, Hong Kong

This startup builds Hong Kong's first fully online lending platform

The company has raised USD20m in just a year.

WeLab has started to bring financial innovation to Hong Kong, and to provide an alternative to the market. WeLab operates WeLend.hk, which bills itself as Hong Kong’s first fully online lending platform, and Wolaidai, a mobile peer-to-peer lending platform for top-tier university students in China. WeLab is a team of innovative banking and technology professionals, utilizing the latest web and social data technology. The team is headed by founder and CEO, Simon Loong, 37, who specialized in risk management and data warehousing technology in his 15-year banking career before founding the company.

In 2013, the team started WeLend.hk, an online lending platform offering personal loans to the HK market with a seamless application experience, short turnaround times, and relatively low interest rates. With WeLend.hk, they are now working on solving sales financing issues with 3HK, a telecommunication giant in Hong Kong, to provide online instalment plans to their customers upon headset purchase.

In September 2014, WeLab team started operating in China as Wolaidai.com, a mobile P2P lending app targeting university students. Simon explains that China is a crowded space for internet finance, but they spotted the unfulfilled loan needs of university students and tailor-made the product to suit the segment.

Since its launch, WeLend.hk has acquired 15,000 members and maintained an accumulated application loan amount of over HK$1.15B. Wolaidai.com was launched for Android and the WeChat platform in September 2014, and has witnessed over 100 percent month-on-month growth for three consecutive months.

According to Simon, they are fortunate to be a well-funded startup with renowned investors from around the world. In their Series A round fundraising, WeLab raised US$20M from Yuri Milner of DST, TOM.com, Sequoia Capital, Ule.com and ICONIQ Capital. Simon adds that their investors not only provided the capital for their operations, but also shared valuable advice and networks with the entire WeLab team.

“It is very uncommon for a HK startup to raise such a big A round fundraising, and within such a short period of time. We are grateful for the support of the investors,” he says. 

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