Kasikornbank (KBank), the second-largest bank in Thailand, is embracing the world of Web3 by launching The KXVC fund. This strategic initiative focuses on investing in a wide range of advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), Web3 technologies, and innovative deep tech startups.
On a Wednesday, it was announced that the fund would be led by Krating Poonpol, who is the Group Chairman of Kasikorn Business Technology Group (KBTG). Assisting in this endeavor is Jom Vimolnoht, the Managing Director of KXVC, which is the venture arm of Kasikorn X (KX).
Poonpol has a successful track record as a venture capitalist, with over 100 projects under his belt across five different funds. Through these investments, he has helped to create four unicorns and successfully guided ten ventures through profitable exits.
In addition, Vimolnoht has invested over $400 million in 35 startups throughout the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. KXVC aims to be the premier financial platform for international entrepreneurs looking to access the vibrant digital market of APAC, which boasts a staggering 400 million digital consumers.
Poonpol, in response to the announcement, stated, “KXVC will play a crucial role as a platform for global founders to grow their business in APAC. We will leverage the synergies between KBank and our partners.”
About Web3, the fund aims to assist startups that focus on the blockchain infrastructure industry. This includes various areas such as node validators, RPC providers, modularity technologies, privacy solutions, ZKP (Zero-Knowledge Proofs) technologies, wallets, alternative L1/L2 solutions, shared securities, LsdFi (Layered Smart Contracts for DeFi), and initiatives that promote the widespread adoption of NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens).
The fund plans to invest in AI startups that have a consumer-focused approach. They are also interested in cybersecurity, AI/ML tools (such as deployment platforms and data annotation), and startups solving specific problem areas mentioned in their press release.
KXVC has invested in several regional unicorn companies, such as Grab, Nium, Carro, Builk (a cloud software company for the construction industry based in Thailand), PRIMO (an omnichannel marketing platform), and Ookbee (a digital magazine platform).
In addition, KX has formed collaborations with various AI and Web3-focused funds, including MagicLink, Transak, 1KX, Hashkey Capital, Symbolic Capital, L2 Iterative Ventures, Instari Ventures, and aifund.ai.
The launch of KXVC comes at a difficult time for the crypto venture capital industry, as investment volumes have been decreasing and market sentiment is bearish. Data from The Block Research shows that investment in crypto startups has declined for five consecutive quarters, and this trend is expected to continue in the current quarter. Despite these challenges, some crypto funds like Kraken Ventures, Electrical Capital, and CoinFund are actively raising capital or planning to do so.
The KXVC fund plans to invest in over 30 startups and funds globally, with a specific emphasis on the United States, the European Union, Israel, and APAC.
KBank has been actively involved in the digital economy, demonstrating its commitment to innovation. As part of its strategic expansion plan, the bank started experimenting with decentralized finance (DeFi) services in 2021. Furthermore, in 2018, KBank partnered with Visa to engage in a blockchain-based business-to-business solution for cross-border payment transactions. This collaboration highlights their dedication to leveraging technology for more efficient and secure financial solutions.
In 2023, Kasikornbank holds the distinction of being the second-largest bank in Thailand. With assets valued at 3.6 trillion Thai baht, which is approximately equivalent to $100 billion.