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Thailand’s Kasikornbank partners Vietnam incubator to grow regional startups


Kasikornbank - BSSC

26/6/2019 – Thailand’s second-largest lender Kasikornbank is partnering with Vietnam’s Business Startup Support Center (BSSC) to aid Thai and Vietnamese startups with their regional expansion plans.

According to a memorandum of understanding signed in May, the government-backed BSSC will support Thai companies to expand in Vietnam where entrepreneurship and startups are booming, especially in the area of fintech and ecommerce.

“We will help Thai startups understand Vietnamese traditions, politics, and business practices,” said deputy director of BSSC Hang Nguyen, adding that the center would also support in other areas, including finding local partners and navigating the legal landscape.

Thailand has yet to have a unicorn, while Vietnam is only home to one: online game operator and e-tailer VNG Corporation. Answering that, Hang Nguyen added that, “BSSC is ready to help create new Thai and Vietnamese unicorns.”

Pattarapong Kanhasuwan, the chairman of Kasikornbank subsidiary KVision said the company has earmarked US$245 million to invest in Thai and foreign startups, with a particular focus in Vietnam.

“We plan not only to invest in Thai and Vietnamese startups but also want to use this framework as another step to find partners in Vietnam willing to invest in other businesses there,” said Pattarapong.

Since 2016, Vietnam has been actively nurturing and developing its startup ecosystem. The local government has been welcoming foreign investment in high tech and investing in the country’s communications infrastructure.

This has increased the country’s internet penetration rate to 52%, which is higher than Thailand at just 42% – setting up a welcoming environment for Vietnamese startups in fintech and other technologies.

Hang Nguyen of the BSSC said it is too early to name the Thai or Vietnamese startups with cross-border expansion plans. However, there are many companies that are good candidates and holds potential due to strong demand in certain sectors, she said.

“At this stage, we see strong potential in fintech, e-commerce, travel tech and edutech, as demand in these sectors is quite strong.”

Indonesian coffee-chain startup Kopi Kenangan raised US$20M from Sequoia India

Kopi Kenangan 2

Kopi Kenangan 1

25/06/2019 – Indonesian brewed coffee-chain startup Kopi Kenangan announces today a fresh injection of funds worth US$20M from Sequoia India.

Founded in 2017 by Edward Tirtanata and James Prananto, the company is already profitable and plans to expand the serving of Indonesian style coffee across the Southeast Asia region, backed by the fresh fund. Meanwhile, in its home market, the startup plans to open up 150 outlets by the end of 2019, and down the pipeline in 2021, a total of 1000 outlets.

Currently, there are 80 Kopi Kenangan outlets in Indonesia spanning 8 cities, a big leap from the 16 outlets back in 2018.

“Our mission is to bring high-quality coffee, made with the freshest local ingredients to consumers across Indonesia – and the rest of Southeast Asia, too,” said Kopi Kenangan co-founder and CEO Edward Tirtanata.

Tirtanata added, “Indonesia is the world’s fourth-largest coffee exporter yet has the lowest coffee consumption per capita in the region because there is no large, affordable coffee chain with localized taste,”

The startup aims to fill in the gap between the high priced coffee served by international chains and instant coffees served by local street vendors. Creating a unique blend featuring local-sourced ingredients including a proprietary coffee blend from four different regions of Indonesia, fresh milk and organic palm sugar.

Focusing on providing a personalized experience, the company launched a Kopi Kenangan app back in April, marketing it as a personal barista who knows a customer’s coffee preference such as how sweet they like their coffee.

Incorporating tech into their business model, Kopi Kenangan customers can order a coffee for pick-up via their app, forgoing the queue time at their coffee kiosks. The coffee chain has also teamed up with food delivery services such as GrabFood and Go-food, delivering a dose of sweet caffeine right to customers’ doorstep.

“The majority of our order is consumed in takeaway format by the young generation who live an increasingly fast-paced life in urban areas. The idea is to bring a moment of delight to our customers every day, making Kopi Kenangan more than just a coffee brand — but part of the urban lifestyle,” said COO Prananto.