#Asia Thailand’s answer to Square gets series A investment from Singtel-owned company


Digio mPOS

Photo credit: Digio.

A Thai fintech startup described as the region’s answer to Jack Dorsey-founded Square has just completed a series A financing for an undisclosed amount. Among the participants in the round was InVent, a VC arm of telecoms-focused holding company InTouch.

Bangkok-based Digio – which aims to turn your smartphone into a mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) system – counts payments giants Mastercard and Visa among its partners, as well as big tech corporates including Epson and Samsung.

It develops a range of products, including a device that allows vendors to take card payments on their smartphones, an ewallet, and a secure solution for receiving customers’ signatures electronically. Digio also offers a more substantial POS system for business owners to use in-store.

In a statement, Digio’s founder and CEO Nopphorn Danchainam suggested that the company would be using the funds, as well as the extensive partner network provided by InTouch, to recruit more personnel and begin plotting expansion into neighboring countries.

He also said that Digio’s system can now accept payments from third-party ewallets, including Alipay and WeChat Pay.

Chinese online payments firms have been keen to gain a foothold in Thailand of late, driven by the high number of Chinese tourists visiting the kingdom. Since May last year, users of Alibaba’s Alipay have been able to use the service to make purchases in Thai 7-Eleven outlets, free of any transaction fees.

Beyond the opportunity presented by international tourism, there is also an internal push for greater adoption of online payment technology. In December 2015, the Thai government launched its National e-Payment initiative (see here, in Thai). The scheme is aimed at reducing the country’s reliance on cash while increasing transparency, combating corruption, and generating data that can inform future socio-economic policy.

Fintech was by far the largest area for Thai venture funding last year, with the total deal volume tracked by Tech in Asia clocking in at over US$27.7 million. Some of the startups that attracted this funding in 2016 include online payments API Omise, electronic payments system Rabbit, and ewallet DeepPocket.

According to a statement, Digio is the 11th company that InVent has invested in, and the first fintech startup in its portfolio. Singaporean telco Singtel is currently the largest shareholder in InVent’s parent company InTouch. Singtel acquired its shares from Singapore state fund Temasek, which purchased a controlling stake in InTouch – then called Shin Corporation – from the prominent Shinawatra family in a controversial 2006 deal.

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