GoBear shuts down decreased demand for its financial products, services

Singapore-based comparison platform, , has announced that it will shut down its operations, joining the list of startups that were forced to end their operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This comes amidst an extended period of decreased for its financial products and services, with travel insurance hit badly by the pandemic.

“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 Adrian Chng, CEO of GoBear.

The company further added that it will have adequate financial resources to honour existing contracts with its customers and employees and will work with relevant authorities to ensure smooth closure of the business.

Founded in 2015 by CTO Ivonne Bojoh and Chief Commercial Officer Marnix Zwart (both left the firm in November 2019), GoBear operates a platform for insurance, banking and lending products in seven markets in Southeast Asia.

GoBear was initially meant to be a metasearch engine, before making a transition into financial services. It claimed in May 2020 that it had over 100 commercial partners, including banks and insurance providers, and its services were used by over 55 million people.

The platform has raised US$97 million in funding to date, the latest being a US$17 million round (led by Dutch VC firm Walvis Participaties and asset management firm Aegon) in May 2020. It had also acquired local digital lending platform AsiaKredit in the same month.

In the statement announcing the funding, Chng had claimed GoBear’s digital insurance brokerage segment had seen a 52 per cent increase in average order value in the last three months. It had also registered a 50 per cent year-on-year revenue growth from loan products.

As of May 2020, GoBear had a presence in seven Asian markets, including Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

In the first sign of trouble brewing within the company, GoBear announced in September 2020 that it would cut 22 staff across its operations, product, and technology teams — 11 per cent of its global workforce of 200.

Last year, several companies had ceased operations due to COVID-19, including Indonesian e-commerce platforms Sorabel and Blanja and budget hotel aggregator Airy.

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