Taiwan's financial technology startup company INSTO announced this month it had received US$1.2 million in advanced venture capital, enough to launch new products and open an online store in early 2018.
INSTO is a person-to-person payment service that lets users buy or sell anything in installments with customizable scheduled payments. It charges a processing fee of 2% but no interest rates.
The 5-year-old firm said January 17 it had received pre-series A funding, an offer led by Taiwan's National Chiao Tung University Angel Club. The company will open "INSTO Store" in the first half of the year to expand payment options and offer a wider range of subscription products.
INSTO, founded by its CEO Bruce Chen, a former eBay Taiwan Chief Strategy Officer, runs offices in Taipei and the Silicon Valley city San Jose. INSTO's products and services were first launched in the United States, and within months of time, transaction volumes reached more than US$1 million.
INSTO got US$1.7 million from Silicon Valley investors Chen Wu-Fu and Bob Lin from Acorn Campus Ventures in 2015 and US$600,000 in pre-series A funding from Taiwanese IT services provider Systex Corp.
year the company is aiming for a record total transaction volume of $25 million.
INSTO aims to expand into Hong Kong, Japan and Canada over the coming years from its main market the United States.
Work to date
The company works now with Systex Corp, KGI Bank, and Chailease Finance to serve Taiwanese customers and with UMB Bank in the United States.
Popularity of mobile payment apps is growing as people get used to make transactions without physical credit cards. The global online payment market is expected to generate $3,388 billion by 2022, up from 2016, Allied Market Research says.
In Taiwan, INSTO works with different local apartment leasing companies, individual property owners, nail salons, clinics and schools. In the United States, beauty shops, maker spaces, art galleries and creative professionals are promoting businesses on the INSTO app to close more deals.
The clients sell event tickets and book beauty salon appointments.
Users today download INSTO apps to buy and sell things without any online stores. For instance, landlords and tenants can agree on payment terms face to face. With the new store, users will find collections of goods in one place.
INSTO Store will include as well an interface that lets shoppers make donations to small charities or stray animals.
"INSTO is a rare new venture from Taiwan that truly puts their business on the global stage,” said Churchill Chen, a member of the Angel Club. We're excited to see INSTO's continued success in optimizing its business model and the team's ambition to grow."