Thailand’s Beacon VC joins $32.5m Series A funding round of SG’s Aspire

Thanapong Na Ranong, MD, Beacon VC

Beacon Venture Capital, the corporate venture capital arm of Thailand’s Kasikornbank, has announced its participation in the $32.5 million Series A funding round of Singapore startup Aspire Financial Technologies Holding.

The round was led by Mass-Mutual Ventures Southeast Asia, a $50 million Southeast Asia fund of the US-based MassMutual Ventures (MMV), and participated by existing investors Y Combinator, Hummingbird and Picus Capital.

As previously reported, the corpus raised will be used by Aspire to boost its financial product offering and strengthen its local presence.

Founded in January 2018 by former Lazada executives, Aspire currently operates across markets such as Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam. It is building a scalable marketplace of banking infrastructure that leverages third party financial service providers to create a digital banking experience for its SME customers.

Its flagship product AspireAccount targets digital merchants and startups across the region. It is free and comes with an instant credit limit for daily business expenses and tools to help SMEs manage their cash flow effectively.

According to Aspire co-founder and CEO Andrea Baronchelli, the deal and partnership with Beacon will entail the tech company leveraging the infrastructure of Kasikornbank, which claims to have largest SME customer base in Thailand.

“Aspire hopes to offer services, including working capital loans, digitized merchant supplier payments, and remittance services to facilitate KBANK customers through this investment and collaboration,” he said.

Aspire represents the eighth direct investment by Beacon VC. Its most recent investments include Thailand-based wealthtech company Jitta, Southeast Asia’s leading cross-border payment company InstaReM, and ride-hailing and financial services unicorn Grab.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.