If you grew up in Southeast Asia, you may have noticed how foreign exchange rates were always a popular topic of conversation. In my case, as a Thai student studying in Singapore and later in the US, my mother was always searching for the best ways to save on foreign exchange rates for my school fees and living expenses. It is common to hear family friends discuss Hawala service providers that offered them significantly different exchange rates compared to banks, helping them save time and fees for their small SME, which often works with vendors in various countries.
Against this backdrop, I’m thrilled to announce our investment in YouTrip. YouTrip is a multicurrency wallet that is transforming how consumers in Southeast Asia manage foreign exchange rates and save on their online and foreign spending.
There are several reasons why we are excited about YouTrip’s potential. Here are our top four:
Large market with localized solutions: Up to 70% of Southeast Asia’s 660 million population remain unbanked with many more falling under the “under-banked” category. The digital payments market in Southeast Asia is valued at approximately $1 trillion, with $100 billion focused on digital payments and another $200 billion on e-commerce. This presents a substantial opportunity for innovation i.e. to provide a greatly improved user experience and cost savings. YouTrip is paving the way for this in collaboration with important local stakeholders such as banks and regulators.
Delivering on its Promise: YouTrip remains true to its commitment by consistently offering a 0% mark-up on exchange rates. This sets it apart from other financial product options that often come with hidden terms and conditions. For example, many credit cards claim to have “no forex fee,” but upon closer inspection, there is typically a 2-5% difference from the live exchange rates. With Youtrip, what you see is what you get.
Outlier Customer Love: YouTrip has managed to cultivate a passionate and devoted user base, driven by the platform’s incredible value proposition. The love and appreciation from users go beyond the norm, and it’s reflected in their exceptional retention rates and Net Promoter Scores (NPS). When consumers genuinely adore a product, it’s a strong indicator of its potential for long-term success. We are seeing early signs of this with customers adopting YouTrip for multiple use cases.
Resilient, Missional Team: Behind this exceptional product, there is a team that not only excels in their craft, but also embodies resilience and purpose. During my initial conversation with Caecilia, she shared that her father’s experience of being unable to get a loan due to not fitting the traditional profile that banks look for was a major motivation behind this business. As for her co-founder Arthur, his frustration with hefty credit card forex markups compelled him to build something to solve his own problem. Personal stories like these kept the leadership team going, especially when COVID inadvertently had a significant impact on the their early business.This forced them to diversify their use cases beyond travel and ultimately emerge stronger from the global pandemic.
For Lightspeed, YouTrip isn’t just an investment; it’s a belief in a company and team that are transforming the way we think about payments in the next decade for Southeast Asia. We cannot be more excited to partner with Caecilia and Arthur on their journey to redefine the financial landscape in the region.