SINGAPORE – UOB Venture Management, the private equity unit of UOB, has co-led a S$42.2 million Series A funding round for Bangkok-based fintech start-up Lightnet.
In the funding round for the Bangkok-headquartered Thai fintech startup Lightnet, UOB Venture Management was among the top three investors, with the other two being Hanwha Investment and Securities and Seven Bank.
Thailand has a more mature financial sector than most of its neighbours in the region, but overall funding into the country’s startups has been modest compared to neighbours such as Indonesia and Vietnam. This significant investment in Lightnet could heat up interest in the ecosystem.
With the new funds, Lightnet will further invest in its underlying blockchain technology called Stellar – an open-source, decentralized platform for cross-border financial transactions – as it continues to build a next-generation financial mobility network.
Lightnet was established in 2018 to promote financial mobility and inclusivity for unbanked and underbanked Asians by offering a low-cost alternative solution. The company was co-founded by Chatchaval Jiaravanon, whose family runs the Charoen Pokphand Group, one of Thailand’s largest companies; and former investment banker Tridbodi Arunanondchai.
According to Lightnet, investor Seven Bank owns all 7-Eleven stores in Japan and about 69,200 convenience stores globally; and fellow investor Uni-President Asset Holdings is the investment arm of Uni-President Enterprises Corp, which owns over 9,000 7-Eleven and Starbucks across Taiwan, China and the Philippines.
Lightnet is building several solutions, with the first expected to carry out its inaugural transaction this quarter, said its chief executive officer Suvicha Sudchai.
The company will integrate payment and remittance partners – such as MoneyGram, Seven Bank, Yeahka and Ksher – from Japan, South Korea and several South-east Asian countries; totalling about 500,000 agents in the region.