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.