Lightnet, the Bangkok-based fintech company has received A round funding of US$31.2 million in fresh capital. With this round completed, Lightnet is Asia’s first blockchain company to receive financial backing from six large conglomerates, providing access to millions of Asian users searching for improved financial mobility.
Lightnet was co-founded by Chatchaval Jiaravanon – a family member of the Charoen Pokphand Group in Thailand – and serial tech entrepreneur and former investment banker Tridbodi Arunanondchai.
The financing round was led by UOB Venture Management, Seven Bank, Uni-President Asset Holdings, HashKey Capital, Hopeshine Ventures, Signum Capital, Du Capital and Hanwha Investment and Securities. The proceeds from the latest fundraising will go towards strengthening Lightnet’s investment in the underlying blockchain technology on the Stellar Network, and to build a next-generation financial mobility network.
“We launched Lightnet to offer low-cost and instantaneous financial inclusivity and mobility to the four billion lives across Asia Pacific – all powered by Stellar’s fast, scalable, and sustainable blockchain technology,” said Chatchaval Jiaravanon, Lightnet’s chairman.
Lightnet aims to disrupt a trillion U.S. dollar global remittance market, starting with the millions of unbanked migrant workers who rely on outdated, costly and fragmented services in major Southeast Asian markets. These services, valued at $150 billion, are ripe for the advent of Lightnet’s smart contracts and distributed ledgers, now well-positioned to replace the decades-old, inefficient SWIFT system and unreliable underground banking.
“It’s vital that we build an ecosystem to provide Lightnet access to our partners’ vast user base and facilitate deeper penetration into local markets. We project that within three years, Lightnet will facilitate over $50 billion worth of annual transactions through our industry- leading partner network,” says Tridbodi Arunanondchai, Lightnet’s vice-chairman.
The lead investors, UOB Venture Management and Hanwha Investment and Securities, represent two of the largest financial conglomerates in Singapore and Korea, respectively. In addition, Seven Bank (TKO: 8410), a group company of Seven & I Holdings Co. Ltd, owns all the 7-Eleven stores in Japan and approximately 69,200 convenience stores globally. Uni-President Asset Holdings is the investment arm of Uni-President Enterprises Corp., which also owns over 9,000 7-Eleven and Starbucks across Taiwan, China and the Philippines. Hashkey Capital is the investment arm of China’s automotive and financial conglomerate, WanXiang Group.
“Lightnet is offering three innovative solutions, BridgeNet, LiquidNet and SmartNet. The main platform has been completed, and the first transaction is slated for Q1 2020. In addition to the potential 500,000 cash agents across our ecosystem, Lightnet will integrate with several renowned payment and remittance partners such as MoneyGram, Seven Bank, Yeahka, Ksher across Japan, South Korea, and several other South East Asia nations to ensure successful activation of our ecosystem,” said Lightnet Chief Executive Officer, Suvicha Sudchai.
By harnessing the combined strength of blockchain technology, local market insight, Pan-Asia partnership and its proprietary ecosystem, Lightnet accelerates the mass adoption of blockchain technology, delivering accessible and efficient financial services for the many.