StanChart PE arm, Goldman invest $28 million in Vietnam fintech startup

A Goldman Sachs sign is seen above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in the Manhattan borough of New York January 24, 2014. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

HANOI (Reuters) - A private-equity arm of Standard Chartered Plc and Goldman Sachs have invested a combined $28 million in Vietnamese startup M_Service, the operator of mobile e-wallet MoMo, the companies said in a joint statement on Thursday.

Standard Chartered Private Equity (SCPE) invested $25 million, while Goldman Sachs, an existing shareholder and strategic investor, put in an additional $3 million on top of its initial $5.75 million investment in 2013, M_Service said.

Smartphone app MoMo provides e-wallet service and over-the-counter remittance and payment platform for a customer base of 2.5 million people, the statement said. It has more than 1 million mobile e-wallet customers.

More than half of Vietnam’s 90 million population are Internet users as of last year, while the number of mobile phone subscribers in Vietnam grew 26 percent to 124 million during 2009-2013, data from the government showed.

Official data on smartphone users are not provided but Apple Inc last year opened a subsidiary in Vietnam, allowing the maker of iPhones to import and distribute cellphones directly in one of the fastest growing smartphone markets in the Asia-Pacific.

“It is extremely exciting to support MoMo’s broader mission of promoting financial inclusion across Vietnam,” said Bert Kwan, Head of ASEAN at SCPE, who will join MoMo’s board.

Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier