KVision announces Beacon’s investment in Vui App
KASIKORNBANK FINANCIAL CONGLOMERATE has geared up for scouting innovative services to serve customers across the AEC+3 region. To this end, KASIKORN Vision Co., Ltd. (KVision) has announced its advisory role in the investment of Beacon Venture Capital Co., Ltd. (Beacon) – a KBank subsidiary – in Vui App, Vietnam’s most-often used earned wage access (EWC) platform. The company aims to expand its reach to retail customers, especially blue-collar workers, a sector that was extremely affected by the pandemic, which triggered a major change in the needs of such workers; in this case, Vui App provides an alternative solution with the purpose of serving low and middle-income workers in Vietnam through the provision of loan and insurance products in the Vietnamese market.
Mr. Pattarapong Kanhasuwan, KBank Executive Vice President and KVision Chairman, noted, “Vietnam has a population of almost 100 million. According to a World Bank projection, Vietnam will see GDP growth of 7 percent annually during the next five years. Its household debt to GDP has risen every year, but the figure remains relatively lower than that of Thailand. This demonstrates that loan demand of low- and middle-income labor in Vietnam has risen steadily, and is poised to grow even further. Meanwhile, Vietnam has the highest growth of middle-class population in ASEAN. Over the past 10 years (2009-2019), its labor market has expanded 1.36 percent per year on average. Blue-collar workers, amounting to 80 percent of Vietnam’s total workforce, are an important customer base of the earned wage access (EWA) service business, which has grown 1.94 percent p.a. on average in recent years. Additionally, the EWA model is being investigated by local employers to make EWA services as part of their welfare program for workers and the promising solution to labor shortage. This will be an important factor supporting the EWA service business in Vietnam, going forward.
KVision, with a mission to explore businesses having innovation potential that meet the needs of KBank’s customers in the AEC+3 region, has advised Beacon BC to jointly invest in Vui App, the leading EWA platform in Vietnam as its users are mainly blue-collar workers who have difficulty accessing financial products –particularly loans – before scheduled payday. The EWA solution from Vui App will allow workers of the company which has entered into a service agreement to link with the Vui App to access their earned wage with no need to submit additional documents or details of their qualifications. The Vui App, therefore, can meet the needs of users, including workers who need cash and companies which can provide welfare benefits for their employees more conveniently.
Mr. Dzung Dang, Co–Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Vui App, noted, “Presently, Vui App’s main business is earned wage access (EWA) services giving employees access to their earned pay at any point of the month. More and more employers connect to Vui App to provide a distinctive benefit for their workforce. The number of employees granted access to their earnings on Vui App has accrued from 60,000 to 100,000 in just three months. Vui App is expanding its business in order to provide additional services such as mobile phone top-up, electricity and water bill payment, and high-yield saving accounts. In the future, Vui App also plans to be an intermediary in offering other financial products such as loan and insurance products tailored for blue-collar workers. This makes Vui App number one in Vietnam’s EWA industry at present.
KBank and KVision have referred Beacon Venture Capital Co., Ltd., the venture capital arm of KBank, to jointly invest in Vui App. For this pre-series A funding round, the lead investor will be Openspace Ventures (Singapore’s leading venture capital investor). Other venture capital firms and investors include Golden Gate Ventures (regional fund in SEA), FEBE Ventures (early-stage venture capital investor), Good Water Capital (global venture capital), and Ventura Capital (American venture capital).
KBank established KASIKORN VISION COMPANY LIMITED (KVision) as an investment holding company. KVision has a seed capital of 1 billion USD, or approximately 34 billion Baht (registered capital of 12 billion Baht), with an investment scope that spans the globe. KVision is initially focused on building a strong foundation in four target countries, including China, where there is a large pool of fintech companies; Indonesia and Vietnam, where tech startups have been among the fastest-growing sectors in ASEAN; and Israel, an incubator of tech talents where new technologies originate. KVision invests in startups with potential through the formats of direct investment and investment through Beacon Venture Capital Fund, which was established in 2017.
About Vui App
Vui App was founded in 2020 and is currently the leader in the earned wage access (EWA) business in Vietnam. Vui App provides EWA services in the format of B2B for employees via mobile application, including payroll analytics, dashboard and B2C as value-added services such as top-up, cash advance and high-yield savings account.