Singaporean fintech GEKO acquires leading EV bike-maker SWAG amid growing ASEAN EV market


GEKO Life Pte Ltd, a Singapore-based fintech company for the electric vehicle (EV) market, announced it has acquired SWAG EV, Singapore’s first premium EV motorcycle brand. GEKO will fully own SWAG, and the brand will be retained and continue operations as usual.

The acquisition for an undisclosed amount in cash will accelerate the growth of both SWAG and GEKO through parallel expansions and exclusive, in-house financing from GEKO.

GEKO and SWAG plan for record EV motorcycle growth in Southeast Asian Markets

As ASEAN encourages the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), Thailand has embraced electric two-wheelers at a record pace.

In 2020, around 14 million new motorcycles were registered in ASEAN, with Thailand accounting for over 1.8 million units, reaching sales of up to US$4 billion. Over 3,000 of these were EV two-wheelers, accounting for a 100% year on year increase. Backed by strong government support and increased awareness of electric vehicles, Thailand aims to have one million EVs on its roads by 2030.

At the forefront of this trend, with an unparalleled market position in Thailand, is SWAG. Established in 2018 and headquartered in Singapore, SWAG’s trendy and premium branding offers a unique proposition for urban drivers, with partnerships with Thailand Post and Banpu, and an expanding network of dealers and aftersales support centres.

With two EV motorcycle models, the Type S and Type X, SWAG currently has more than 250 EV bikes on the road in Thailand. The impending launch of a third model in March 2022, the flagship Type V, with a top speed of 100km/hour and a single charge range of 160kms, will propel sales and cement SWAG’s market leadership.

Despite the growing demand for EV bikes in Thailand, however, financing options for consumers are limited due to an unbanked or underbanked population.

Fintech microfinancing company GEKO has played a pivotal role in this space, focusing on hire-purchase financing to buyers of EV motorcycles in Thailand. Founded in 2019, GEKO is currently the only fintech microfinancing platform in Thailand offering hire purchase customers with e-KYC, AI-driven credit scoring, fully flexible instalment plans, tokens for prompt payments, and carbon reduction contribution for EV adoption and positive driver behaviour. GEKO has more than 350 EV motorcycles, of various brands, under financing, thus making it one of the largest EV bike financier in the Thailand market.

Commenting on GEKO’s SWAG acquisition, GEKO CEO E.K. Ong said: “There are significant synergies between SWAG and GEKO. Together, we deliver tremendous value to the marketplace: attractive EV motorcycles meet equally attractive financing options. For qualified buyers, the purchase experience will be seamless. The profile of EV buyers tends to be socially conscious and comfortable in adopting new technology. Our combined value propositions fit that buyer profile perfectly.”

“We are very excited about adding the SWAG brand to our portfolio to further accelerate our push into the EV 2-wheeler market and expect to take prime position quickly,” said Ong.

Following the acquisition, the combined SWAG and GEKO group plan to hold a pre-Series A funding round, with a combined entity value of USD 25 million in early 2022. Funds raised will be for inventory to satisfy projected sales, technology development, building the loan book, market expansion, and to build brand awareness in key markets.

“In 2022, we expect at least another 1000 SWAG bikes on the road in Thailand, and 500 bikes on the road in other ASEAN countries, predominantly in Indonesia,” concluded E.K. Ong