ErudiFi, a technology startup that expands access to education in Southeast Asia, announced on Jan. 17 that it secured a debt facility of $15 million from Helicap, a fellow Singapore-based fintech company.

ErudiFi offers student loans and operates as Bukas in the Philippines and Danacita in Indonesia.

Bukas saw a near-ninefold increase in applications since it was founded in 2019. It assists students enrolled in its partner institutions, the most recent additions being Riverside College in Bacolod (January 2022) and the University of the East Caloocan and Manila (December 2021).

“Our partnership with Helicap enables us to further our mission of expanding access to education in Southeast Asia,” said Naga Tan, chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder of ErudiFi, in a press statement. “The need for an affordable financing solution is greater than ever, with the ongoing pandemic leading to an increasing number of Filipino and Indonesian youths deferring further studies due to financial constraints.”

The latest funding round will help support ErudiFi as it offers tuition installment plans to students from the aforementioned countries. As of December 2021, ErudiFi has assisted more than 12,000 students and partnered with over a hundred educational institutions in Indonesia and the Philippines.

Helicap connects global investors to private investment opportunities in Southeast Asia (SEA). It has a proprietary Credit Analytics Platform that it uses for investment evaluation, due diligence, and portfolio management processes.

“[The platform] enables Helicap Investments to make data-driven investment decisions and provide scalable lending capital to top-performing alternative lending institutions,” a spokesperson for the company added.

Since January 2018, Helicap has facilitated more than $100 million in investments that improve financing access for SEA’s underbanked populations.

More than 70% of adults in SEA remain either underbanked or unbanked.

“Helicap, since its founding, has always aimed to break down traditional barriers for those who need capital and those who can provide it,” said David Z. Wang, co-founder and CEO of parent firm Helicap Pte. Ltd., in the same press statement. “Education financing is a huge opportunity in SEA, and ErudiFi continues to shape and expand its trusted relationships with universities and partner institutions.” — Patricia B. Mirasol