The Advance.ai foundation Advance Intelligence got its start in 2016, after co-founder and CEO Jefferson Chen moved to Southeast Asia, hoping to replicate some of the tech boom magic he’d witnessed up close and personal in China. By then, Chen had already built up an enviable CV. He spent close to 14 years in executive roles across investment bank Goldman Sachs, global hedge fund Farallon Capital, and China-based VC firm GSR Ventures.
It has contacted Advanced Intelligence Group but has not received a response.
He had even unsuccessfully tried his hand at entrepreneurship. “In Beijing, he created the Chinese version of the messaging app Magic SMS but that didn’t go anywhere,” a senior investment executive who is familiar with the company shared with us. We reached out to Advance Intelligence Group but have not received responses at the time of publishing.
By the time he’d arrived in Southeast Asia, Chen was already certain that he wanted to create an AI-driven company. “I remember in the early days he spent quite a lot of time in a cafe near BLOCK71, meeting and recruiting different people to create AI (risk control, credit scoring, etc.) for banks,” the investment executive added. It was through these meetings that he recruited Dong Shou, who now serves as the CEO of Advance.ai.
A leading fintech startup in China is Wecash.
Dong was previously a partner and vice president of engineering at Wecash, one of China’s leading fintech startups. He’d also worked as a senior engineer at Amazon Web Services and IBM. With his strong experience in software engineering, he was the perfect fit to lead the AI-driven business unit. Why
Advance Intelligence’s original business, Advance.ai leverages proprietary data from data partners to understand a user’s creditworthiness and assign them a credit score. For instance, a customer’s e-commerce transaction data—whether they make payments for goods and don’t return products without reason—could affect their credit score. Back in September 2019, Advance.ai had just 300 enterprise clients.
The B2C siblings have trumped Advance.ai.
Today, Advance.ai serves over 800 enterprise clients in the banking, financial services, fintech, payments, retail, and e-commerce sectors. It has a footprint across South and Southeast Asia, Latin America, and mainland China. Some of its high-profile clients include Standard Chartered, Bank BTPN, KEB Hana Bank, Bank Jago, Shopee, and the GoTo group. Despite this phenomenal growth, however, Advance.ai has been well and truly upstaged by its B2C siblings.
The company claims. “Kredit Pintar grew very fast.
Tapping the B2C gold mine In 2017, even as Advance.ai was still finding its footing, its investors encouraged Chen to launch a consumer-facing business. This, they believed, was where the real growth lay. The company’s first stab at the B2C world came in the form of peer-to-peer lending platform Kredit Pintar. Today, Kredit Pintar is one of Indonesia’s leading digital lending apps. With over 20 million downloads, it has disbursed over USD$1.5 billion in loans, the company claims. “Kredit Pintar grew very fast.
The timing was right—it was the early days of the P2P boom in Indonesia,” said the executive quoted above. “They were very aggressive in customer acquisition and accumulated a lot of customers. They took the methodology from China, where, in the early days of consumer lending, customer acquisition will be cheap. You can accumulate lots of customers and [retain] the good ones. The good ones are the ones where you can increase the credit limit and repeatedly give loans to them,” the investment executive added