Thailand: Beacon VC invests in digital lifestyle platform Ookbee

Visual from Ookbee website

Beacon VC, a venture capital arm of Thai bank Kasikornbank Plc (KBank), on Wednesday announced an undisclosed investment in Ookbee, a Southeast Asian digital lifestyle platform, to help the latter expand C Channel Thailand.

C Channel Thailand is an online VDO fashion magazine for women, featuring creative lifestyle content. It was launched by Ookbee in a joint venture with C Channel Japan in 2017 and currently claims to have over 250 million monthly views and over 150,000 average views per clip.

The partnership with Beacon VC will help Ookbee add value to C Channel Thailand and introduce new business to the market within 1Q18. The cooperation marks a significant step toward complementing Ookbee’s current digital lifestyle businesses and strengthening its ties with creative communities to enhance productive collaboration and foster its business presence, Beacon said in a statement.

Through this partnership, KBank aims to approach a younger audience, which will re-emphasize its digital platform leadership.

Thanapong Na Ranong, Managing Director of Beacon VC, said Ookbee is one of the promising Thai startups, which has successfully redefined the digital publication landscape for the Southeast Asian market.

At the early stage of business, Ookbee provided e-book products with content provided by publishing companies. Currently, its products have diversified to professional- and user-generated content, focusing on new trends and digital innovations with comprehensive online payment channels, it said.

Since its inception in 2011, Ookbee claims to have become the leading provider of digital lifestyle platform in Southeast Asia with over 10 million users and more than 1 billion page views per month.

Natavudh Pungcharoenpong, CEO of Ookbee said that the company’s vision is to grow and expand platforms to accommodate creative content creation and consumption, as well as strengthening economic returns for creative communities.

The startup is expected to scale up to Series C funding round by the end of this year.

In January last year, Chinese tech giant Tencent formed a joint venture with Ookbee with $19 million investment to target and promote user-generated content and cover a diverse array of online media in the region. The startup received Series B investment of $7 million from Tokyo-based IT outsourcing firm Transcosmos for a 10 per cent stake in April 2014. It raised $2 million from venture capital firm Invent in September 2012.

Founded in 2016, Beacon VC focuses on strategic investments in early to growth-stage technology startups covering not only financial technology (fintech) but also consumer lifestyle and deep technology sectors such as artificial intelligence (AI) and enterprise IT.

Its portfolio companies include Event Pop, an end-to-end event management platform, and FlowAccount, an online accounting software for SMEs and startup companies.

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