By Staff Writer
The company behind blockchain protocol that runs on Stellar network has recently raised $31.2mn in a Series A funding from several major conglomerates based in Asian countries from Thailand to Singapore to Taiwan, according to a statement.
This is probably one of the most ambitious pan-regional blockchain initiatives yet aiming to disrupt the trillion-dollar global remittance market with the goal of facilitating $50bn in annual transactions within three years.
Co-founded by Chatchaval Jiaravanon, a family member of the Charoen Pokphand Group in Thailand, and serial tech entrepreneur and former investment banker Tridbodi Arunanondchai, it would start with the millions of unbanked migrant workers who rely on “outdated, costly and fragmented services in major Southeast Asian markets,” the statement said.
These services, valued at $150bn, are ripe for the advent of Lightnet’s smart contracts and distributed ledgers, now well-positioned to replace the decades-old, inefficient SWIFT system and unreliable underground banking.
The financing was led by UOB Venture Management, Seven Bank, Taiwan’s Uni-President Asset Holdings, HashKey Capital, Hopeshine Ventures, Signum Capital, Du Capital and Hanwha Investment and Securities.
The proceeds from the latest fundraising will go towards strengthening Lightnet’s investment in the underlying blockchain technology on the Stellar Network and to build a next-generation financial mobility network.
“We launched Lightnet to offer low-cost and instantaneous financial inclusivity and mobility to the four billion lives across Asia Pacific — all powered by Stellar’s fast, scalable, and sustainable blockchain technology,” said Chatchaval Jiaravanon, Lightnet’s chairman.
The lead investors, UOB Venture Management and Hanwha Investment and Securities, represent two of the largest financial conglomerates in Singapore and Korea, respectively.
In addition, Seven Bank, a group company of Seven & I Holdings Co. Ltd, owns all the 7-Eleven stores in Japan and approximately 69,200 convenience stores globally. Uni-President Asset Holdings is the investment arm of Uni-President Enterprises Corp., which also owns over 9,000 7-Eleven and Starbucks across Taiwan, China and the Philippines. Hashkey Capital is the investment arm of China’s automotive and financial conglomerate, WanXiang Group.
Lightnet is offering three innovative solutions, BridgeNet, LiquidNet and SmartNet. The main platform has been completed, and the first transaction is slated for Q1 2020.
In addition to the potential 500,000 cash agents across the ecosystem, Lightnet will integrate with several renowned payment and remittance partners such as MoneyGram, Seven Bank, Yeahka, Ksher across Japan, South Korea, and several other South East Asia nations to build the necessary scale.
By harnessing the combined strength of blockchain technology, local market insight, the regional partnership and its proprietary ecosystem, Lightnet accelerates the mass adoption of blockchain technology, delivering accessible and efficient financial services for the many.