Co-founders inject US$48M into Lightnet to grow its blockchain-powered global remittance solutions

Thai fintech startup Lightnet, which provides blockchain-based solutions for the Asian remittance market, has received US$48 million funding from its co-founders Chatchaval Jiaravanon and Tridbodi Arunanondchai, DealStreetAsia has reported today.

Jiaravanon is a family member of Thailand’s largest private company Charoen Pokphand Group. He also bought Fortune magazine in 2018 for US$150 million.

Arunanondchai is a serial tech entrepreneur and former investment banker. His previous companies include travel club Privepass.com and digital agency Play Media.

Lightnet is based in Bangkok and headquartered in Singapore.

Also read: How the blockchain infrastructure can make a major impact on the remittance industry

Founded in 2018 with Jiaravanon’s US$10 million, Lightnet leverages smart contract and distributed ledger technology to tap into “a trillion US dollar” global remittance market, connecting existing financial systems with its network of cash agents and wallets.

The startup claims it increases the efficacy of existing money transfer operators, financial institutions and other cross-border payment providers. According to it, these businesses are currently relying on “outdated, costly and fragmented” services. Lightnet pays close attention to the millions of unbanked migrant workers in major Southeast Asian markets.

In January 2021, Lightnet announced its adoption of Velo Labs’s Velo Protocol as its blockchain protocol. It now positions itself as the next generation clearing and settlement network across the Asia Pacific region.

Velo Labs develops Federated Credit Exchange Network, which allows partners in legacy finance, CeFi and DeFi industries to safely and securely transfer value between each other with maximised efficiency and transparency. The firm regards itself as one of few blockchain projects “with a clear path towards mass adoption.”

Earlier in January, Lightnet bagged US$31.2 million in a Series A financing round co-invested by six conglomerates and two VCs, including UOB Venture Management, Seven Bank, Uni-President Asset Holdings, HashKey Capital, Hopeshine Ventures, Signum Capital, Du Capital and Hanwha Investment and Securities.

According to the World Bank’s latest data, despite the COVID-19 headwinds, remittance flows remained resilient in 2020 in low- and middle-income countries, amounting to US$ 540 billion in 2020, down only 1.6 per cent compared to the 2019 total of US$548 billion.

In recent years, Thai fintech firms have snagged big deals, with Ascend Money becoming Thailand’s first fintech unicorn in September.

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Image Credit: Lightnet

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