We talked to Jeffrey Liu, co-founder, and CEO at Jenfi about the access of growth capital to startups and this is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Jeffrey Liu: We’re doing well! Thankful to be safe but missing the travel!
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Jenfi.
Jeffrey Liu: I’ve been involved in startups for the past 10 years. I co-founded GuavaPass in 2015, a fitness subscription service, to make high-quality fitness classes accessible. We expanded the business to over 12 markets across Asia and the Middle East before selling to ClassPass in 2018.
During this journey, I realized there were millions of startups and businesses that were innovating amazing products and services but lacked the proper growth capital to succeed. This led to Jenfi today, where we focus on funding productive growth activities, such as buying Facebook or Google ads, inventory, etc.
How does Jenfi innovate?
Jeffrey Liu: We’re the first revenue-based financing platform to exist in Asia. This is unique financing where we provide funds to businesses in exchange for a small percentage of their revenue. In essence, businesses pay less when their sales are lower and pay more when they have excess cash flow from higher sales. This in many ways is a true partnership as we align with the success of the business and become their biggest cheerleaders.
We introduced our Jenfi Wallet and Jenfi MasterCard, which essentially provides online banking capabilities and a high-limit corporate card all within a single platform.
Our Jenfi technology platform integrates with all the major data sources, including Stripe, Braintree, Facebook, Google Adwords, Shopify, Lazada, Xero, and Quickbooks. This allows businesses to connect with Jenfi with one-click and to obtain the growth capital to support their productive spending. We will be releasing a new analytics platform in 2021 to help businesses manage and optimize their marketing, inventory, and growth spend.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Jeffrey Liu: We have been fortunate to receive the backing of YCombinator and numerous institutional investors during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue deploying capital to emerging companies in Southeast Asia to help them succeed.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources and what are the lessons learned?
Jeffrey Liu: Yes, even at our stage, we have to make difficult decisions as to whether to build our team here in Singapore or abroad or whether to outsource our team. We focused on requirements and overcame our bias to hire in a specific geographic region. This opened the door for us to great talent across Asia and Europe. We also learned how to organize our team to be effective across multiple time zones.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Jeffrey Liu: With the COVID-19 lockdowns, we conduct most of our business via phone, Whatsapp, or email. Zoom has been instrumental in giving us a venue to demo and explain our services over high-quality video calls.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Jeffrey Liu: Yes, as a Singapore-based organization we have received grants to support the employment of our local team. This is part of the country-wide supportive measures in place for businesses organized by the Singapore government.
Your final thoughts?
Jeffrey Liu: We are super excited for the upcoming year as we see a lot of amazing companies growing and innovating in the region. We aim to help them succeed and be part of their growth journey.
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