3 ‘unicorn’ startups emerged in 2021
Despite the impacts of Covid-19 outbreak that have affected several industries in Thailand, in the year 2021 the country still manages to see up to three startup companies becoming ‘unicorns’, a term dedicated to startups valued at more than $1 billion. These companies are Flash Group, Ascend Money and the newcomer Bitkub.
Flash Express: The first unicorn
Flash Express is a private logistics and courier service provider under the management of Komsan Lee, who in June closed the investment deals with Buer Capital Limited, SCB 10X and several others valued at $150 million or 4.7 billion baht. It is the first Thai startup to achieve this fundraising target in under three years and the company’s value therefore soared above $1 billion or over 30 billion baht. Flash is now Thailand’s no.1 private courier that handles more than 2 million parcels per day.
Ascend Money: A fintech unicorn
In September, Ascend Money, a flagship digital finance arm of CP Group has secured over $150 million from fundraising with Bow Wave Capital Management and Ant Group, which drove the company’s value to $1.5 billion. The company’s flagship service “True Money” is a leading e-wallet platform in Thailand with more than 20 million domestic users and recorded over 2.2 billion transactions in 2020 worth $14 billion. True Money has also expanded to six countries in Southeast Asia and has secured more than 50 million users by the end of 2020.
Bitkub: A crypto unicorn
SCBX, the ‘Mothership’ company of SCB Group recently announced that it will take over 51 per cent of ordinary shares of Bitkub Online Ltd., a leader in digital asset exchange well known for cryptocurrency trading. The shares worth 17.85 billion baht will be held by SCB Securities (SCBS) who will work with Bitkub to build a digital asset ecosystem, whereas the deal has made Bitkub Thailand’s third unicorn startup with estimated value of over 35 billion baht.
There are still two more months before the year ends. Keep a close eye on Thailand’s startups and do not be surprised if the fourth or fifth unicorns will emerge before 2022 arrives.