T2P share sale lures 500 Startups' interest

T2P share sale lures 500 Startups' interest

Company to expand e-payment platform

Vichai Bencharongkul, president of Benchachinda (right), and Ruangroj Poonpol of 500 TukTuks (left) have signed a share purchase agreement with Taweechai Purithip, chief executive of T2P.
Vichai Bencharongkul, president of Benchachinda (right), and Ruangroj Poonpol of 500 TukTuks (left) have signed a share purchase agreement with Taweechai Purithip, chief executive of T2P.

Two global venture capital firms have co-invested with Benchachinda Holdings in T2P Co, a Thai-owned payment platform for e-business, in a bid to capitalise on burgeoning financial technology (FinTech) growth opportunities.

The US venture capital firm 500 Startups and its subsidiary 500 TukTuks have acquired an estimated 10% combined stake in T2P.

Benchachinda Holdings, owned by the founding family of mobile operator DTAC, took a separate 10% share in the company.

Natwut Amornvivat, the co-founder of T2P Co, said the company's four founders remain the major shareholders with a combined 80% share.

T2P is the first company in Thailand that 500 Startups has invested in directly.

Mr Natwut said T2P would use the proceeds from the share sale to expand the company's e-payment platform service to the consumer market.

T2P provides the e-wallet mobile app DeepPocket for multiple banking services.

Founded in 2012, T2P has already passed the break-even point thanks to strong revenue from the corporate market.

Mr Natwut said consumers in Thailand are increasingly aware of the digital wallet, which provides a significant opportunity to digital wallet providers and retailers, thanks to the arrival of full commercial fourth-generation wireless broadband connectivity and the government's national e-payment policy to steer the country towards a cashless society.

"Less than 30% of Thais have a credit card," he said. "This presents high potential for prepaid and online payment markets."

Vichai Bencharongkul, president of Benchachinda Holding, said FinTech is a growing area and could support the government's digital economy policy.

Benchachinda in the past two years has invested 100 million baht in five firms in cybersecurity, online games, digital content and cloud computing.

The company has a policy to invest in local small and medium-sized technology firms with high potential growth, Mr Vichai said.

Vilaiporn Taweelappontong, lead partner for PwC Consulting (Thailand), said FinTech is gaining significant momentum and disrupting the traditional value chain.

FinTech is a dynamic segment at the intersection of the financial services and technology sectors where technology-focused start-ups and new market entrants innovate the products and services currently provided by the traditional financial services industry.

Ms Vilaiporn said banks and financial firms are increasingly looking to protect their market share and profit margin from this disruptive trend.

"Disruption of the financial services industry is under way. In Thailand, we're seeing more venture capitalists on the lookout for the next FinTech start-up," she said.

"As FinTech continues to displace the intermediary role played by traditional financial services companies, we expect players like banks and payment providers to become even more vulnerable to this disruption over the coming years."

PwC estimated global investment in FinTech companies could rise to US$150 billion over the next three to five years.

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