Banks participate in $5m DeFi fundraising

Banks participate in $5m DeFi fundraising

Sum raised for tech startup Forward

Forward's co-founders, Mr Chanon, centre, Mr Udomsak, third from right, and Mr Supavat, second from right.
Forward's co-founders, Mr Chanon, centre, Mr Udomsak, third from right, and Mr Supavat, second from right.

The venture capital (VC) arms of Kasikornbank (KBank) and Bank of Ayudhya (BAY) have participated in a US$5-million (about 160 million baht) fundraising to support decentralised finance (DeFi).

KBank's Kasikorn X and Krungsri Finnovate from BAY, a member of the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, took part in the $5 million seed funding round of Forward, a Thai digital asset and blockchain startup focusing on protocol development for a decentralised derivative exchange and DeFi platform.

Together with RPVAF-1, a global VC fund under Primestreet Capital, as well as Ratanakorn Technology Group, GBV Capital and Varys Capital, the fundraising was closed within six months despite economic uncertainty and high volatility in the digital asset landscape.

According to Chanon Charatsuttikul, Forward's co-founder and chief executive, the majority of trading volume occurs at Binance, the world's largest crypto exchange, and it mainly comes from derivative products.

Forward, he said, is the world's first DeFi project to receive investments from global funds and two major Thai banks. "I believe that there is hope for Thailand to become a centre of innovation and technology. We have investors who are ready to support new talent," he noted.

The trading volume of derivative products is approximately three times larger than the spot volume and is still growing. Thus, Forward is focusing on developing a decentralised derivative platform, which is non-custodial with a system that prohibits transactions from sanctioned countries and addresses, Mr Chanon added.

Co-founder and adviser Udomsak Rakwongwan said Forward is aimed at being a "one-stop service" protocol solving limitation and pain points in the DeFi economy. "It will be a secure and easy-to-use platform where users can earn sustainable investment returns," he noted.

This means that the returns generated are the result of a business model that was designed for long-term operation. Forward's user-friendly interface will reduce the barrier to onboarding new users into the blockchain space, Mr Udomsak explained.

Co-founder Supavat Nam Cholvanich, who is also a partner at PrimeStreet Capital, the lead investor in this fundraising round, said the company has a strong interest in finance-related blockchain technology.

"Digital asset is a high volatility landscape, and Primestreet Capital puts emphasis on the importance of safety and sustainability in the protocol," Mr Supavat said.

"Our team looks for a platform that has meaningful enhanced features with the possibility of standing out and elevating the DeFi ecosystem. We believe Forward is well set up and its DeFi platform should easily navigate market volatility and grow sustainably in the digital asset world."

Primestreet Capital is a Southeast Asia-based global fund management company with $150 million of assets under management. The firm manages three flagship funds, including real estate private equity, growth private equity and global VC. RPVAF-1, its global VC fund, has invested in several impact technology companies globally.

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