HelloGold is now bidding goodbye to its customers.
Established in 2015, HelloGold is a Malaysian Shariah-compliant investment app that allows users to buy, save, sell, and redeem physical gold.
Its CEO, Robin Lee, was once the CFO of the World Gold Council and the principal accounting officer for the world’s largest private gold fund.
HelloGold’s service officially launched in 2017, and in the same year, the company went on to win its first award, the Critics’ Choice Most Innovative Islamic Retail Product Award.
The following year, it received Series A funding from 500 Global (then known as 500 Startups), having just entered the crypto space with GoldX, its gold-backed cryptocurrency.
In 2019, it crossed borders to set up shop in Thailand.
Then, the pandemic hit. This turned out to be good for the gold industry at large. Robin shared with Digital News Asia that he noticed people had a higher propensity to save, especially in gold.
“In the last four months, we have done better than the previous four years,” he said in the April 2021 article.
But in an email to depositors sent on January 26, 2023, HelloGold broke the news that it would be ceasing its operations in both Malaysia and Thailand come February 2, 2023.
“While we continue to believe in the value of gold as part of your financial portfolio, we have decided that our business in its current form is no longer commercially viable in the current market conditions,” the email writes.
Depositors can still buy and sell gold as well as withdraw their cash until 7AM, Malaysia time, on February 2.
Any gold remaining in users’ accounts will be sold off, and funds will be transferred to their bank accounts.
Rushing toward a different model
Just a mere week from this announcement, HelloGold’s 60,000 active users and RM25 million’s worth of investments will no longer exist on the platform.
While those numbers might sound substantial, it’s not enough for HelloGold, which had set out to target the mass market rather than the mass affluent.
However, HelloGold’s inability to be profitable doesn’t mark the end of the company itself.
Rather, it intends to pivot completely to a B2B model by white-labelling its product.
Dictionary time: A white-label product is a product or service produced by one company that other companies rebrand to make it appear as if they made it.Investopedia
According to The Edge, Robin believes the shift will provide more opportunities for HelloGold. He also shared that the company already has interests outside Malaysia, specifically from the Middle East and Africa, to white label its product.
“We just have to focus on building the platform and hopefully secure these partnerships over time,” he told DigitalEdge. “We just couldn’t do the retail thing. We don’t have the balance sheet to fund it.”
Although Robin seems to have some leads, it seems like things are still up in the air for HelloGold as it has yet to secure any partnerships.
As much as this news is one of closure, and perhaps one of disappointment for HelloGold depositors, it also marks a new, perhaps more sustainable chapter for the investment platform.
HelloGold anticipates high traffic on its app due to this announcement, so depositors should be sure to access the platform before 7AM, February 2.
Featured Image Credit: HelloGold