Finder, an Australian price comparison site, has acquired GoBear, the Singapore-based fintech which announced the tiered closure of its services back in January.
Unable to secure more capital following its $17 million raise in May 2020, the COVID-19 crisis not only took a toll on GoBear’s capital reserves, but also on certain financial products – particularly travel insurance.
The 2015-founded fintech, which began as a metasearch engine and evolved into a comparison site for insurance, credit cards, and loans, had intended to become a “full-fledged” financial service.
But now, GoBear will become part of Finder’s Southeast Asian expansion.
Keeping a “recognisable” brand
The deal, the details of which were not disclosed, includes GoBear’s trademark and its digital assets – including its domains, social channels, a website content.
The latter asset will move under the Finder brand, whilst the GoBear brand will remain for social media and email channels.
Finder’s co-founder and global CEO, Frank Restuccia, calls the Singapore fintech “a recognised brand” in the Asia Pacific region.
GoBear’s services cover seven markets: Singapore, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
In the last five years, it claims more than 55 million people have visited its website. But despite retaining its familiar brand, the last year has been a struggle for GoBear.
A year of knock backs
In September, the fintech joined the trend of start-up’s laying off employees to cut costs. GoBear slashed 11% of its workforce, calling it a “last resort” in its “future-proof” strategy.
Just months before its decision to close, GoBear CEO Adrian Chng had said the focusing its growth around “digital lending and digital insurance brokerage”.
According to TechinAsia, the fintech housed some 165 employees across six offices.
The start-up was also struggling to compete with local rivals in Malaysia. As Fintech News pointed out last year, GoBear launched in Malaysia back in 2016. But since then, it changed the country manager for the region twice.
It also later removed comparison features on the Malaysian GoBear site. In their place lay a blog which hadn’t been updated since 2019.
Sydney-based fintech Finder began expanding operations in Southeast Asia around three years prior to its acquisition of GoBear.
It has therefore already set up international offices in the Philippines. Alongside those situated in the US, UK, Canada, and Poland.
Founded back in 2006, Finder claims more than ten million consumers visit its platform each month.
It offers personal finance products, including credit cards, home loans, and savings accounts. As well as services around online shopping, cryptocurrency, and share trading.
“Finder’s mission is to help people all over the world make better financial decisions and we’re excited to ramp up our offering to the [Southeast Asia] region through a recognised brand like GoBear,” Restuccia said in a statement.