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Polaris-backed buy-now-pay-later pioneer Rely acquired by Pace

Pace Enterprise, a Singapore-based buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) firm, has purchased the assets of Rely, the vertical’s oldest local player, for an unknown fee.

According to a release, the purchase would allow customers in Singapore and Malaysia to access Pace’s alternative payment options across a broader network of companies. All existing merchants will be assisted in transitioning to Pace’s merchant platforms by the Rely team.

As part of the agreement, all Rely employees will transition to new jobs at Pace that are commensurate with their former responsibilities. Rely is the first firm in Singapore to offer BNPL payment solutions, having been founded in 2017 by Hizam Ismail (CEO), Mohamed Abbas (CRO), and Prakash Raja (CTO).

Since then, the firm has expanded its regional operations and formed partnerships with renowned retailers such as Qoo10 Singapore, ZALORA, JD Sports, and SK Jewellery Group, among others. Polaris, the strategic partnerships arm of Singapore-based Goldbell Financial Services, provided Rely with a US $74.8 million credit facility in December 2020.

“With a shared purpose in democratising financial services across the region, we look forward to delivering more compelling offerings that cater to our customers’ financial needs,” said Turochas “T” Fuad, Pace’s Founder CEO.

Pace, which was founded by Fuad, aspires to construct a financial engine that can work across countries, assisting merchants in increasing sales efficiency and providing customers with a sustainable spending alternative. Its BNPL service for physical and online shops connects clients with acceptable spending restrictions and allows them to split their purchases into three interest-free instalments.

Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand, and Japan are all served by Pace. It has over 5,000 points of sale around Asia and is on schedule to reach its one million user goal by the end of 2022. By the end of 2022, the firm wants to reach a GMV of $1 billion on an annualised basis.

Pace received a “eight-figure USD” debt fundraising round sponsored by Genesis Alternative Ventures in June 2021. At the time of its formal debut in January, the company received a “seven-figure seed fundraising” round headed by Vertex Ventures and Alpha JWC. Fuad is a well-known figure in Southeast Asia’s startup scene, having founded and sold three businesses. WUF Networks, a Silicon Valley-based Internet of Things software business, was his maiden venture.

Yahoo! purchased the firm in 2005.

Fuad was also the creator and CEO of travelmob, an online vacation rental marketplace. In mid-2013, travelmob, based in Singapore, was bought by HomeAway (now part of Expedia). Spacemob was founded and run by the serial entrepreneur in 2016. Following the purchase of Spacemob, he was named Managing Director of WeWork Southeast Asia and Korea. Southeast Asia’s BNPL market is growing. According to a Forbes report citing a Google, Temasek, and Bain research issued last year, digital lending, including BNPL, is predicted to reach $92 billion in transactions in the area by 2025, up from $23 billion in 2020.




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