At Wallex, we love supporting up-and-coming startups. Our dream is to provide cost-efficient financial services to start-ups and SMEs as well as empower their growth and internationalisation efforts.
ErudiFi is one of these startups, where they innovate education financing to make studying affordable in Southeast Asia. Operating as Danacita in Indonesia and Bukas in the Philippines, they provide students a smarter way to pay for education and bring financial inclusion to underserved students across the region.
We recently spoke with Mr. Huixiang Wee, VP Finance at ErudiFi, to hear more about their journey, company hardships and successes, and where ErudiFi is headed.
How has ErudiFi grown since its inception?
ErudiFi/Danacita first launched in Indonesia in 2018 after graduating from the Winter 2018 batch of Y Combinator but growth only picked up for us from the end of 2019 / early 2020.
By the end of this year, we are on pace to have grown run-rate revenues and loanbook 17x and 13x respectively since the end of 2019.
You mentioned that your business growth really kicked off after 2020. Were there any changes in your strategy?
Yes, we pivoted from B2C to B2B2C. Whilst we got early traction with our B2C model, we quickly found that the unit economics did not make sense so pivoted to a B2B2C approach, which has made a world of difference in terms of both our customer acquisition costs and ability to manage risk.
Was it challenging to find partners to make this B2B2C model successful?
It is always challenging to bootstrap early partnerships and convince them to take a chance on you but once you have a couple of successful case studies, it gets easier. Social-proofing (e.g. in our case, working successfully with reputable and legitimate school partners who would then vouch for us) helps too.
Why did you pick Philippines as your first choice for global expansion?
Philippines was mainly chosen due to its relatively mature higher education market. Looking across Southeast Asia, Indonesia has the largest local tertiary education market whilst the Philippines is a close second.
What are your main growth plans for the year ahead?
Our current plans are still centred on these two markets, Indonesia and Philippines, as we feel we have barely scratched the surface. So far we have concentrated our efforts in Greater Jakarta and Metro Manila, and are working on expanding our reach to other cities and provinces.
What is your main advice for other businesses that are considering global expansion?
Learn from your mistakes to make sure you replicate what works instead of what doesn’t. Hire well, fire better.
Other than that, we place a huge emphasis in having the right people from the get go. If you have a good team in place, you can scale your business rapidly. Through our experience in Indonesia, we learned what kind of people we are looking for and what kind of team we will need to build our business in the Philippines. Particularly, it was important to select people who are self-starters, adaptable, and able to deal well with ambiguity. Credentials do not matter.
ErudiFi is #MadeInAsia, part of our initiative to celebrate and recognise the importance of innovative businesses in Asia.
Like ErudiFi, find out how Wallex can support your business: https://wallex.asia/
Tips for success to navigate the ever changing economic landscape