Startup Ascend Money reaches a valuation of $1.5 billion
Ascend Money, a startup from Thailand, was valued at $1.5 billion after the completion of another round of financing. The company became the first unicorn in the country.
During the round, the startup received $150 million; in addition to the main investor Ant Group, Bow Wave Capital Management from the United States invested in the project. The round was led by CP Group. The company’s management plans to use the investment to improve the functionality of its TrueMoney mobile platform, as well as to increase the list of digital financial services for Southeast Asia.
The startup was founded in Thailand in 2013 by Suphachi Cheravanont. It operates in the online payments segment, as well as providing digital loans and money transfers. The company now operates in six states. Last year, payments processed by Ascend Money totaled more than $14 billion.
The pandemic was a major boost to the fintech segment, and online payments have become a necessity. In less than a year, the number of users of the Thai company grew from 17 million to 20 million, and transactions showed an increase of 75%. Currently, the company’s TrueMoney app and offline channels have a combined total of over 50 million customers, including 88,000 agent networks. This opens up excellent opportunities for reaching out to other regions.
Ascend Money’s leadership notes the enormous potential of its region’s digital economy, and the startup’s success demonstrates the importance of investing in this segment, which will grow exponentially. From 2019 to 2020, the volume of payments made through Ascend Money grew by 84% and continues to grow strongly. The startup now has a 70% market share in Thailand, with 70% of its profits coming from that country.
B2B transactions can be made through the TrueMoney app. It is used by large brands and small and medium-sized businesses. The Ascend Money product is especially convenient for small merchants who don’t have a standard credit rating or history, and they can get a loan through the startup’s platform. In addition to lending, the money-transfer service is popular. Last year, the company improved the functionality for this by moving the offline agent to the online plane. This improves transaction processing and speeds up transfer processes. The offline agents are Thai businessmen registered with the company. Through them, they pay bills, replenish accounts and other transactions, for the provision of these services agents receive additional income.
Ascend Money service is aimed at the lower social groups who do not have a bank account, and the list of traditional financial services for them is limited.