Neat, a Hong Kong-based startup that gives startups and SMEs access to credit cards and banking services has pulled in $3 million in fresh funding.
The new round is led by China-based VC Linear Capital with participation from Hong Kong’s Sagamore investments and existing backers Dymon Asia Ventures and Portag3 Ventures. Neat previously landed a $2 million seed round earlier this year.
In a nutshell, the company offers quick access to prepaid Mastercard-based cards and basic banking services. Cards are charged at around $7.50 per month, with varying prices on incoming, outgoing and international payments. There is also a consumer option, which is much like European startups Monzo, Starling and Revolut, but Neat is more focused on business users.
We profiled the company in August and since then U.S-based Brex — a two-year-old startup that offers similar services — has gone on to reach a billion-dollar valuation. That shows that there’s plenty of validity in the model… at least in the eyes of the investors who write those all-important checks.
Neat is in a much earlier stage of development and it is serving a more fragmented market in Asia via Hong Kong. When we talked to CEO David Rosa earlier this year, he said that “a large portion” of its customers were either based in Hong Kong or associated with the market, but Neat does offer services globally with a focus on Asia. In particular, the company has introduced international payments — which allow users to pay out overseas without incurring exorbitant fees — while Rosa said it is working on other multi-currency solutions and integrations with third-party services such as accountancy and more.
Neat already claims to have customers in 100 countries, but with Linear Capital’s backing, it is aiming to zone in on Chinese businesses that are looking for banking options in Hong Kong. Given the considerable control on moving capital out of Mainland China, Neat may be an easy option for Chinese startups that are looking to go global but don’t want the hassle of dealing with traditional banks to set up their Hong Kong entity. But of course, there is plenty of incumbent competition.