Kasikorn Bank (KBank) on Wednesday launched Beacon Venture Capital, a new investment arm with an initial capital fund of one billion baht ($29 million), focusing on financial innovations that align with KBank strategies.
It aims to make direct investments in three to five startups and investments in two or three venture capital funds this year, said the fund’s managing director Thanapong Na Ranong, who previously spearheaded InVent, a corporate venture capital arm of Thailand’s listed telecommunication firm INTOUCH Holdings.
He said, Beacon has made the first investment and been a lead investor in a Thai fintech startup, FlowAccount, together with three other investors on board. Besides, it has also invested in Singapore-based Dymon Asia – one of the leading VC funds in Asia which focuses on fintech investment.
“We have committed to two more deals with the outlays of more than 200 million baht,” he said.
Meanwhile, KBank’s president Kattiya Indaravijaya said that the changing lifestyles of customers have led to new pattern of banking services, which force traditional banks to develop and apply digital technology in business operations.
The bank recently set up the Kasikorn Business-Technology Group (KBTG) to focus on innovation creation in cooperation with its technology partners to offer new innovative services to its 14.2 million customers.
“Beacon VC and KBTG will work as a digital partnership. Beacon VC’s role is as an investor while KBTG’s role is that of an inventor. The Next Building Block concept will help promote startups to grow in a stable manner and bring a long-term sustainability to Kbank,” Kattiya said.
Most recently, the Bank of Thailand gave an approval to KBTG to test a new form of financial service in Regulatory Sandbox for the first time in Thailand. Based on a blockchain technology, this service is used to consider issuing a letter of guarantee.