Ascend Money, Thailand’s digital payment firm, has become the country’s first fintech unicorn, after raising $150 million in a funding round that valued the company at $1.5 billion, according to a statement.
The latest funding round was led by US-based investment firm Bow Wave Capital Management and backed by existing investors CP Group and Ant Group.
Thailand now has two unicorns, the other one being logistics firm Flash Group, which made it to the unicorn club in June following a $150-million round.
Founded in 2013, Ascend Money has a presence across six Southeast Asian countries – Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.
The company operates TrueMoney, a digital payment and financial service platform, which now serves more than 50 million users through its e-wallet application and 88,000 agents.
“Our digital payment and financial services are created to better everyday lives of our users. And each of their story is a great inspiration to our efforts,” the firm said on its website.
The company is under Ascend Group, a digital technology business conglomerate providing digital financial, e-commerce, data, and cloud services
In a statement, the startup said it will use the fresh funds to expand its e-wallet application – TrueMoney Wallet – and to launch digital financial services, including digital lending, digital investment, and cross-border remittances across Southeast Asia in 2022.
Ascend Money claims to have grown significantly in the past few years. Between 2019-2020, it saw an 84% increase in its total payment volume in Thailand.
Across the six countries, it saw an increase of 40% in total payment volume during the same period. In 2020, Ascend Money’s total payment volume stood at $14 billion.
The latest funding comes as demand for payment and digital financial services continues to rise in Southeast Asia. Last year, digital payments grew by 3% while online remittances jumped by nearly 2x, according to data cited by Ascend Money.