Krungsri Finovate, a venture capital fund of Krungsri (Bank of Ayudhya) has committed to invest in Japan’s SBI AI & Blockchain Fund, marking its fourth deal since inception.
The quantum of the investment remains undisclosed but according to Krungsri Finnovate’s managing director Sam Tanskul, the decision came at a time where it fits with global financial trends and can support the financial institution’s digital banking and innovation strategies.
“Our investment in the SBI fund reflects Krungsri’s determination to leverage AI & blockchain technologies. We would multiply our investment returns through the expertise of SBI in identifying quality global startup players,” Tanskul added.
SBI AI & Blockchain Fund is set up by SBI Investments in January 2018 with a target corpus of JPY50 billion (about US$449.4 million) as a successor to its FinTech fund, formed in December 2015 with a total commitment of JPY30 billion (about US$269.52 million).
The new fund aims to invest in promising venture firms in a broad range of artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain businesses which include fintech, IoT, robotics, and the sharing economy.
Like FinTech Fund, the AI & Blockchain fund will provide support open innovation between investors and the funded startups, whereby investors will actively find ways to implement their technologies into real-world application.
Since its inception in May 2017 with a corpus of US$30 million, Krungsri Finnovate has directly invested in one proptech startup Baania, a Thai real estate platform that gives access to real estate listings in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lamphun and other cities.
Its investment portfolio also includes two fintech startups – Omise, a Thai online payment startup that adopts blockchain technology and Finomena, a fintech company that provides access to flexible financial credit.
This year, the VC fund aims to identify 40 startups to partner with the Bank and its subsidiaries. So far, the bank has enter deals with 25 startups. Meanwhile, the VC firm is also in talks to invest in two to three more startups in domestic and overseas before this year ends.