2022: growth, excitement, stress and then more of the same

HolyWally CEO John Rutledge takes a quick look back at 2022 which was quite a year for a startup that will use 2023 to scale-up its operations.

"Looking back on the year is always a sobering experience.

And talking with my co-founders, we agreed that 2022 has been a very good year for HolyWally, and that three words summed it all up: growth, excitement and stress. Lots of it.

And we are learning so much.

Lesson number one, which I'm sure all founders experience, is the realisation that you can't build something valuable overnight. It takes time to grow to not only be seen as a promising startup, but then to scale."

Seed round

The year started in the best way possible, with HolyWally raising US$1.4m. The seed round was led by M-DAQ, a leading Singapore-based fintech company. Other investors included venture studios Finmirai and Creitive. The money allowed us to intensify our R&D, expand the team and commercialise our efforts to cater to a growing digital wallet market which is anticipated to hit a value of US$5.5 trillion in 2024.

In the year we have gone from three people to 25 and created an office in Portugal. We have started building the team there. Our foothold in Europe wonderfully supplements our HQ in Singapore and allows us the footprint on which to build our expansion over the coming years.

As for potential customers interested in looking to use the HolyWally platform, we had over 150 companies who applied to use it. The interest out there is incredible. And, we onboarded three more customers which will launch in Q1, 2023. This also helped us to close another major investment that will boost our growth even more (more details soon).

Lesson number two was also quickly learnt in the year. The value of partnerships. One of the great things about fintech is that it is a vibrant and exciting community. And it's a great place to build partnerships which help you to grow your business. Particularly Microsoft who placed HolyWally on the list of its top 50 startups in the region. The same with the Visa Fintech Connect Program, which has been a big stepping stone for us. These two partnership programmes, plus others, have been a great benefit to our expansion. This is a journey you should not take alone and the wider your network, the better.


The year finished on a high note, as we attended three great conferences. First up was Money 20/20 in Las Vegas and then almost straight away, Web Summit in Lisbon. Both were fantastic events and both showed the depth of innovation and expertise the industry enjoys. HolyWally also got so much interest from the investors, partners and customers in a short period of time, through these conferences.

Then came a very special event, our final of the year, when we were guests of the prestigious Tokyo Financial Award mentoring programme. One of a select few, HolyWally presented a unique idea for how technology can solve the financial needs and concerns of Tokyo residents and enterprises.

HolyWally was one of 15 selected out of the 108 who applied for the award. Some 26 countries and regions were represented by the original applicants. The four-month support programme started last month and the companies receive mentoring, business matching opportunities and support for overseas promotion.

What next?

And so for 2023. What next? Lesson number three. It doesn't stop, it just magnifies. As you grow, all the issues you have experienced in the previous years are all there, but on a bigger scale. It is so much more intense.

So in 2023 we will expand our customer, partnership and investor networks. This will be essential to achieve our main ambition of closing our Seed round and preparing for our Series A. We now need to jump the chasm from promising startup to mature startup. It's a big step, but with the great product we have, plus the superb team, we are confident that it is not a step too far."

Bring on 2023!

John Rutledge, CEO, HolyWally

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