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KBank’s Beacon invests in Robowealth, targets total AuM of Bt30 billion in 2021

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Kasikornbank’s corporate venture capital arm Beacon Venture Capital has announced Series A investment in wealth tech start-up Robowealth.

The investment aims to leverage business strengths of both KBank and Robowealth to drive inclusiveness in the capital market by solving three primary issues that prevent Thais from investing – the lack of time, lack of knowledge and lack of capital – aiming for a total Bt30 billion of assets under management (AuM) in 2021, the firms said in a press release.

Managing director Thanapong Na Ranong said Beacon VC focuses on investing in high-potential start-ups, whose innovations and services can deliver real value to KBank customers through the creation of new financial products or services. 
“While we would normally scout for new investments and find collaboration potential with business units, this is the first time we are investing in a start-up that already has a working relationship with KBank,” he said. 
KBank and Robowealth, together with Lu International, launched the FinVest application in late 2020.
Robowealth provides complete solutions for robo-advisory and mutual fund investment. 
“Robowealth Group aims to liberalise the Thai financial industry by providing the public with efficient investment opportunities. Currently, only 5 per cent of Thais invest through mutual funds and the stock exchange,” Group CEO Chonladet Khemarattana said.
“Robowealth’s vision lies within the cooperation to build a stable financial ecosystem under the concept of ‘Empower Future Financial Ecosystem’ through the business to consumer [B2C] and business to business [B2B] schemes. This ecosystem will ultimately help Thais achieve financial freedom sustainably,” he said.
Robowealth currently plays an integral part in developing and offering two prominent investment applications under Robowealth Mutual Fund Brokerage Securities. Both can help investors gain access to mutual fund portfolios with only a miminum Bt1,000 investment. 
Each focuses on different target groups with distinctive and unique product positionings, the press release said. 
The first robo-adviser “odini”, which debuted in 2018, targets ordinary people looking for a simple way to invest through automated ready-made mutual fund portfolios. The customer can either make lump-sum investment or pre-specify the monthly contributions. Two years after the launch, Robowealth has enhanced the odini "with a more premium service under the odini Black sub-brand integrated into the existing application to serve the mass affluent segment better". 
The second application FinVest debuted in late 2020 as Thailand’s first curated mutual funds investment application. The investment committee, which consists of fund managers and investment analysts, has the primary responsibility of selecting a set of suitable mutual funds from both the domestic and global investment universe based on a thematic investment framework. Then, these featured funds will be directly served to the customer with precise and digestible content to make the final investment decision on his/her own. 
“The robo-adviser could provide a decent return by allocating Chinese and US equities as many tech stocks have greatly benefited from the Covid-19 lockdown,” Chonladet said. 
Thanapong added that one of the main interesting characteristics of successful Thai fintech companies is that their business and models don’t aim to disrupt financial institutions, but instead aim to collaborate with those institutions by bringing together each parties’ unique strength to add value to customers and grow synergistically.

Published : January 20, 2021

By : The Nation