Singapore-based global digital banking group Tyme has achieved an annualised revenue run rate of SGD 215 million ($160 million) in 2023, as its flagship South African operation TymeBank becomes one of the world’s fastest banks to become profitable amongst standalone digital banks.
This puts TymeBank in the top 5% of digital banks globally, with a study by global consultancy Simon-Kucher finding that fewer than 5% of digital banks around the world are profitable.
TymeBank also qualifies as one of the world’s fastest-growing digital banks, as it secured 8.5 million customers since its launch in February 2019 and achieved 30% growth in its SME lending portfolio in 2023.
In contrast, the majority of digital banks take far longer to become profitable, with notable examples including Brazilian-based Nubank (eight years) and UK-based Monzo (seven years).
Tyme’s Philippines operation GoTyme Bank, a joint venture with the Gokongwei Group, has also reached 2.3 million customers in just 14 months, beating even Tyme’s South Africa operation, and made Tyme’s successful merchant cash advance product available to the 1.1 million MSME businesses located in the Philippines.
The Philippines is expected to experience the highest rise in neobank adoption globally, with 32% of its population predicted to be using neobanking by 2027 - a 161% increase from its 2023 adoption rate of 13%, indicating an enormous opportunity for Tyme.
This rapid growth brings Tyme’s total customer numbers to 10.8 million globally, and aligns strongly with the Monetary Authority of Singapore's (MAS) goal of establishing Singapore as a key global financial centre in Asia, fostering global market connections, and aiding Asia's development broadly.
Tyme Group attributes its record-breaking success to a unique strategy it employs in its target emerging markets:
This growth is enabled by continued investor confidence in the group, as evidenced by its $77.8 million pre-Series C raise in 2023, and investment by anchor shareholder, Patrice Motsepe’s African Rainbow Capital (ARC), Tencent, British International Investment (BII), Apis Growth Fund II (‘Apis’), and Norrsken22, among others.
This level of investor support and exceptional growth is expected to continue through 2024 and beyond according to Coenraad Jonker, co-founder and executive chairman of Tyme Group.
Jonker said: “We are proud of our growth in emerging markets, as we bring critical financial access to individuals and businesses. These markets are significantly underserved compared to more established markets, representing enormous growth opportunities for Tyme Group.
“Our ambition is to become one of the top three retail banks in every market we enter, beginning with TymeBank in South Africa. Our proven track record of rapid growth, consistent product innovation and ‘firsts’, investor confidence and, now, profitability put us on track to achieve this audacious goal.
“This underscores Singapore's expanding role and expertise in the fintech domain as a center for financial innovation and technology. Tyme is proud to be part of solidifying Singapore's standing in the global financial landscape, as it cultivates a progressive and dynamic financial sector in line with MAS's strategic vision.”
Tyme Group next plans to launch its SME cash advance products in Vietnam in coming months, where SMEs account for over 97% of all companies nationwide, but only 25% have access to affordable banking services.
It relocated its corporate headquarters to Singapore in 2021 in recognition of it being Asia’s innovation and fintech hub, where Tyme Group believes it can best realise its vision of unlocking financial access and empowerment for everyone, especially those in emerging markets.
Re-disseminated by The Asian Banker