Singapore-based travel tech company helping flyers get more out of their tax-free shopping, Utu raised USD 33 million in Series B funding. The round took place on June 26, 2023. SC Ventures led the financing for the company. 

In addition, the company announced the acquisition of a Singapore-based fintech that offers deals and promotions nearby to users, CardsPal.

Purpose of funding and acquisition by Utu

With the latest proceeds from Series B, the company seeks to fuel its growth as well as expansion plans.

Meanwhile, the acquisition aligns with the company’s strategy to enhance its tax-free shopping services offer. The acquisition further allows the company to accelerate growth by leveraging CardsPal’s mobile-first technology and incorporating its talent into the wider organization. Meanwhile, Utu gains access to a digital marketplace, a promotions engine, and a self-service merchant registration portal. The acquisition allows the company to enter into markets such as France and Italy and opens doors to approximately 50 other countries that offer VAT and GST refunds.

What the company’s official has to add

Asad Jumabhoy, retail travel veteran and Co-Founder and CEO of Utu, commented, “The cross-border travel market is ripe for a technology-driven transformation, with tax-free shopping presenting vast untapped potential. By enhancing the value of VAT and GST refunds for travellers, we’ve reimagined the cross-border retail experience and devised a technology-based business model unlocking previously inaccessible value. This strategy benefits all stakeholders—brands, hotels, airlines, and VAT refund operators—while also enabling governments to compliantly recycle VAT refunds within their borders.”

What the investors have to comment

SC Ventures Member Gautam Jain said, further said, “CardsPal is a great example of why we at SC Ventures believe in the power of innovation and support our employees to have a transformational impact. Through SC Ventures’ Intrapreneurship Program, CardsPal grew to become a business with award-nominated UX. We look forward to Utu’s continued success scaling its products across the globe using CardsPal’s technology.”

About the company 

Asad Jumabhoy 2015 launched the company. Utu offers customers a Tax-Free Card. The card further provides two main offerings. First, tax-free shoppers can opt for frequent flyer miles or hotel points instead of VAT refunds. Or they can select an immediate store voucher that is equal to 120% of the VAT or GST they paid while shopping overseas. Utu allows its retailers, airlines, hotels and other organizations to not only increase customer loyalty but also grow their revenue from tourist shopping by up to 40%.

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Jasleen Bhatia works as a content writer for VCBay News. She is pursuing her final semester in Bachelor of Business Administration from IIPS, DAVV. Driven by her keen interest in entrepreneurship and finance, she writes business-related articles.


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