Filipino firm Voyager Innovations has received $167m for its financial services push with the aim of serving the unbanked and underserved in the country.

The investment includes new financing of $121m along with $46m of funds committed earlier.

Existing shareholders PLDT, investment firm KKR, and Chinese technology firm Tencent joined the fundraising.

IFC Financial Institutions Growth Fund, a fund managed by IFC Asset Management Company (IFC AMC), also participated.

IFC AMC is a unit of World Bank Group member International Finance Corporation (IFC), a current backer of Voyager.

Voyager will utilise the proceeds to ramp up financial inclusion in the Philippines through its fintech unit PayMaya Philippines.

Voyager will use the fresh infusion to expand PayMaya services and serve individuals and MSMEs through a digital bank.

Plans are on to offer credit, insurance, savings, and investments, among others, through the digital bank.

The firm has applied for a digital bank licence with the Philippines’ central bank.

If the licence is granted, the new entity will provide branchless and smart neo-banking services.

Voyager and PayMaya president Shailesh Baidwan, said: “As we did with payments and remittances, we will enable the large masses of Filipinos to leapfrog into a new stage of financial inclusion through integrated digital financial services. Our goal is to continue making lives better for millions of underserved people and small businesses, with cutting edge solutions that are affordable and relevant.”

Via over 250,000 digital-finance access touchpoints, PayMaya helps add money, cash out, make payments, and transfer money.

PayMaya launched its first lending product, Negosyo Advance, last January among its Smart Padala agent network.

Earlier this year, it started offering “sachet” loans for MSMEs through its lending division.

PayMaya also offers the PayMaya Mall in-app feature, which directly connects over 350 enabled merchants to retail consumers.

Besides, it provides PayMaya Protect for health coverage, starting with COVID-19 as well as personal accidents.

In this context, Voyager mentioned that only one in three Filipino adults has a formal bank account.

Voyager and PayMaya CEO-founder Orlando Vea said: “We have seen a quantum leap for digital payments adoption in the Philippines over the past year, and PayMaya has served as the nexus connecting consumers and enterprises with enriching digital finance experiences.

“This investment supports the unique value we bring and gives us a natural head start with the target market for the digital banking service.”