Cebuana Lhuillier acquires stake in Kakao Talk-backed fintech company SCI Ventures Inc.

(L-R) Cebuana Lhuillier Digital Sales Group Assistant Vice President James Robert D. Afzelius, Cebuana Lhuillier President and CEO Jean Henri D. Lhuillier, SCI Venures, Inc. CEO and Co-founder John T. Bailon, and SCI Ventures, Inc. Chief Community Officer and Co-founder Miguel C. Cuneta

MANILA, 13 June 2019  — Filipino-led blockchain and digital asset platform, Satoshi Citadel Industries (SCI) Ventures Inc., and Kakao Investment, virtual currency arm of Kakao Talk, Korea’s largest messaging app, announced an investment from P.J. Lhuillier, Inc. (PJLI), parent company of  Cebuana Lhuillier, the largest non-bank financial services provider in the Philippines with 2,500 branches nationwide. The company has invested an undisclosed amount to acquire a stake in the local fintech firm as part of its bid to enter the digital financial services market.

With the influx of foreign digital payment giants and local start-ups entering the Philippine fintech market, a digital transformation is a natural progression for Cebuana Lhuillier as they are already servicing millions of Filipinos with microloans, microinsurance, and local and international money transfers.

To our fintech partner, SCI Ventures, Inc. headed by CEO and Co-founder John Bailon and Chief Community Officer and Co-Founder Miguel Cuneta, to the members of the PJ Lhuillier management committee, and to our friends from the media, good afternoon.  It’s a pleasure to be here with you all today.
This is an exciting time for all things fintech.

We live in a time of unparalleled innovation. Things that we never thought possible before are now the same things we cannot live without today. This is why I’m excited by the revolutionary advancements I’m seeing in financial technology.

Fintech holds great promise in tackling challenges that come with our modern financial system today.  These include facilitating payments between buyers and sellers and ensuring money transfers are sent securely to intended recipients either for business or for personal purposes.

We, at Cebuana Lhuillier, recognize the game-changing benefits of fintech that can be applied to our business to better serve our clients and stakeholders who we credit for our company’s legacy and longevity.
We have undertaken great strides these past few years to take our business to the next level and we believe that fintech can make our financial system more successful at achieving our fundamental goals as we move forward to the next 30 years.
Our partnership with SCI Ventures Inc., aims to widen our reach to continue serving the un-served and underserved communities as we enable them to transition from subsistence living to more sustainable economic conditions by improving our services and providing them with more affordable, more simplified, and more efficient financial access to put more money in their pockets or to allow their small business to grow.
To John and Miguel and to the rest of the SCI team, we look forward to this partnership.

“This is another milestone in our continuing pursuit to expand our horizon and make a significant impact as we enter the digital arena. With our robust 2,500 branch network and strong partnerships with key financial players such as SCI and KaKao Talk in place, we are ready to take advantage of our unique ‘bricktech’ set-up and make our mark in this space,” said Jean Henri Lhuillier, PJLI president and CEO.

This partnership allows SCI to introduce cutting-edge blockchain solutions and services to Cebuana Lhuillier’s 4,000 domestic partners and one million combined physical and virtual touchpoints worldwide, expanding the local market for digital assets.

“We’re happy to be backed by an institution like Cebuana Lhuillier. We are well-aligned in our goal to provide better inclusive financial services in the Philippines. Their extensive brick-and-mortar network is unmatched in reach and efficiency, and going digital is a natural step forward for the company. SCI is excited to be part of this journey as a technology partner,” said Miguel Cuneta, SCI Ventures Inc. CCO and co-founder.

As more and more Filipinos go digital, a trusted local name like Cebuana Lhuillier can become the preferred digital financial services provider for the 80 million Filipinos who are not serviced by the banking industry. Currently, Cebuana Lhuillier has 11 million active users in their loyalty card program and serves over 25 million Filipinos in the country and abroad.