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The Silicon Review Asia

Redefining the way businesses transact: Curlec

The Silicon Review
February, 2021

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For small and medium enterprises, online payments are essential, especially in the pandemic-effected world. And when you are a business, recurring payment solutions are your greatest ally. Curlec excels at this. Based out of Malaysia, Curlec is making it easy for businesses to maximize their payment collections by combining their recurring payment solutions with its individual one-off payments via Instant Pay (FPX) and Card Payments. This helps companies with their e-commerce, upfront payments, and credit control processes.

Founded in 2018, Curlec is a new-age company that is out to make recurring payments easy for businesses of all sizes. The company’s primary goal is to help enterprises to control their cash flow. How do they do this? By building premium technology on top of the banking payment infrastructure. 

Traditionally, interbank Direct Debit payments were not offered to businesses in Malaysia. Curlec has changed this by being the first independent software company in the country to process interbank Direct Debit payments and offering it to businesses. This system was traditionally only accessible to large corporates. But that was how the company forayed into the world of Fintech. Today, the Malaysian company has diversified its payment offerings to include recurring and one-off credit card payments, as well as alternative online banking options. Curlec ensures that the merchants have the most comprehensive payment options for their recurring business activity. It now serves businesses of all sizes, from SMEs to Enterprises, and has processed over RM250 million (over US$50 million) through the platform since launching three years ago.

“Curlec ensures that the merchants have the most comprehensive payment options for their recurring business activity.”

The Curlec Technology

Cash flow is very important in times of crises like the one we are currently undergoing. For cash flow stability, businesses need to be confident that more money is constantly flowing into your business than out of your business. Curlec is here to help manage a business’s cash flow with Direct Debit. Automating the payments with Curlec means that businesses know exactly when they will be getting money from their customers and ensures that these payments are always made on time. Making the Switch to Curlec will be a wise idea if your current isn’t supporting cash flow stability.

The Curlec API can make payments for a business – a whole lot easier. Here are the benefits:

  • Create and manage all your Direct Debit mandates and transactionsthesiliconreview-curlec-cover-2021
  • Automatic reconciliation with your accounts
  • Streamline your processes with direct connection into Curlec

Curlec is for anyone who wants to take payments directly from the bank accounts of their customers in Malaysia. It’s particularly suited for recurring payments. Its easy-to-use dashboards and powerful API make Curlec a powerful platform for everyone from innovative start-ups to bluechip corporations. “Through its data tracking and recurring payment reporting system, Curlec has enabled us to double our revenue growth by turning payments into our competitive advantage,” says Jeff Tan, Co-Founder & CEO of RentGuard.

Growth in 2020

2020 was a challenging year for companies all over the globe. Many companies’ resilience was tested in the dire times of the COVID-19 pandemic. But despite the challenges, the pandemic taught every business about how to make do with fewer resources. And Curlec was one of the many companies that adapted and delivered well despite the tough times.

Throughout the pandemic, Curlec was able to operate and support their clients and partners to deliver premium transaction services. The company was also successful in building its talented and diverse team as the pandemic raged on.

Malaysia has done relatively well as compared to other countries to curb the coronavirus. But economic activity had somewhat slowed down. But even in such a dire situation, Curlec was able to attract the attention of 500 Startups, a global venture capital firm. The firm invested in Curlec in mid-year 2020. We are excited to take this journey with Curlec in paving the way for better online payment experience for the SME market, first in Malaysia, then beyond,” said Khailee Ng, Managing Partner of 500 Startups. The fund is being primarily directed to scale Curlec’s team and operations in its home market as it ramps up sales and focuses on merchant acquisition for its target industries such as education, financial services, and property management.

But despite the disruptions caused due to the pandemic, there was a surge in traditional businesses. These businesses could no longer transact in person; they had to come online. Curlec, during this time experienced an acceleration of merchants moving to subscription business models in order to obtain predictable revenue and combat the threat of huge decreases in cash flow that may arise from another crisis in the future.

In 2020, the company joined forces with hundreds of partners, recording a 600% growth in recurring payment volumes year-on-year. The company also reached its landmark $100 million in transactions last year. Not just that, the company also opened its doors to over 30 undergraduate students from Malaysia, Australia, and the UK in 2020 to explore opportunities to work alongside experienced professionals and develop new skills and qualities as part of their course requirements and remote internship programs. “As a proponent of technology, our partnership with Curlec has improved our cash flow, shorten our debtor days, as well as automating our workflow to become more efficient,” says Mahathir Mahzan, Founding & Managing Partner of Mahzan Sulaiman.

Disruptor and Innovator 

Interbank Direct Debit payments were historically known to be a paper-based system that only provides access to large corporates due to the heavily manual processes involved and custom-developed software needed to deal with individual banks. Curlec’s technology has enabled businesses of all shapes and sizes to access the Direct Debit mechanism through their cloud-based application or a simple API that automates the entire collection workflow. This has put businesses in control of when they get paid and their cash flow. The company continues its journey upwards in the Fintech world. We wish Curlec all the luck in its journey ahead.

A Gist

Union Strength was founded in 2017 to provide a community of like-minded gym-goers place where they can focus completely on strength and conditioning. It offers personal training, group HIIT and mobility classes. The gym is working towards its vision in playing a huge part to help Malaysians get fitter. But the business had no prior experience with payment platforms and needed a payment solution that would provide a good recurring payment experience for its customer so that they can subscribe to different packages and also to remove any concerns with high cost, high failed transactions as well as lack of customer support seen in other payment providers.

Union Strength decided to partner with Curlec for this. Curlec’s solution has enabled the gym to see a 40% increase in their collection rates since last year. It has created faster payouts and flexible payment options to cater to different membership packages, resulting in better payment experience for its gym members. “Curlec has enabled us to create a better payment experience for our members with faster payouts and flexible payment options to cater to our packages, resulting in a 40% increase in our collection rates since last year,” says Carlos Villa, Founder of Union Strength.

“Curlec’s technology has enabled businesses of all shapes and sizes to access the Direct Debit mechanism through their cloud based application or a simple API that automates the entire collection workflow.”

Q. How does the Curlec Direct Debit payment work?

The customer first fills in an eMandate form to authorize payments. When any payment becomes due, the funds will be credited directly into the merchant’s bank account on the same day. Finally, the merchant will be notified through email about successful and unsuccessful transactions. Additionally, the collection status is also reconciled into our dashboard for a consolidated view.

The Leader Upfront

Zac Liew, CEO and Co-Founder: Zac has previously worked at Barclays Bank in London and was a Product Manager for 2 enterprise-tech companies. He was named in Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia 2020.

“Throughout the pandemic, Curlec was able to operate and support their clients and partners to deliver premium transaction services.”

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