Singapore-headquartered financial services and data platform GoBear announced today (Jan 5) that it will be ceasing operations and will begin an “orderly closure of the business”.
The firm cited the failure to raise additional funds from existing or new investors as the primary reason for closure.
It added that the COVID-19 pandemic made the operating and fundraising environment “very challenging”.
Other factors included a prolonged period of weakened demand for some financial products and services, in particular travel insurance.
However, GoBear CEO Adrian Chng previously said that while the pandemic has brought about a declining interest in travel insurance, GoBear still saw growth in insurance and other loan products.
According to the company, it expects current financial resources to be sufficient to fulfil its existing commitments to customers, employees, suppliers and partners.
The business closure will be conducted in a phased and controlled manner over a short timeframe and in adherence with local laws and regulations across the markets that GoBear is operating in.
It is currently active in seven markets: Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
165 Staff Will Be Retrenched As A Result
GoBear also employs 165 staff in six offices across Asia. Last September, it retrenched 22 employees in the region due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
It assured that all employees will be given their required notice periods and salaries.
“GoBear has made the difficult decision to close the business. Our purpose was to improve the financial health of people across Asia and I’m proud and grateful for the contributions that all our employees and partners have made towards that mission,” said Chng.
“This is a difficult time for our employees, and our priority is to conduct the process with the utmost care and guidance to our staff. We take our responsibility to our customers, employees, partners, and vendors very seriously and we intend to fulfil our existing commitments to them as part of an orderly business closure process.”
This news of closure definitely comes as a shock as GoBear has recently been lauded as one of Singapore startups that are on the rise, according to LinkedIn.
It managed to raise US$17 million in May at the height of the pandemic from existing investors, bringing its total funding to US$97 million.
GoBear said then that the fresh funding will be used to expand its consumer financial services platform in Southeast Asia. It even expanded partnerships with companies such as Union Bank, Mambu and CredoLab to focus on lending services in Asia.
The startup first launched in 2015 as a metasearch engine and grew into a financial services and data platform offering consumers a one-stop platform to search and buy the product they need.
Featured Image Credit: GoBear