The firm is set to expand to Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam in the next two years.

It all began with a challenge. In 2012, Thailand’s e-commerce landscape was already burgeoning thanks to the surging penetration of the 3G mobile broadband network and the rising use of smartphones. Yet, online businesses had major problems in completing transactions due to a complicated checkout system.

“Consumers could not store their credit cards on e-commerce sites. The payment experience was not seamless at all. Still, no player in the market was offering a solution for this,” Jun Hasegawa, co-founder of Thai payment and blockchain startup Synqa, told KrASIA.

As a serial entrepreneur, Hasegawa moved to Bangkok in 2012 and began to explore opportunities in the budding e-commerce sector with his local friend, Ezra Don Harinsut. Initially, the idea was to build an e-commerce platform equipped with a smooth checkout process. The two founded Omise Holdings (which means “shops” in Japanese) in June 2013, but the financial plight soon loomed over the young company, to the point where Hasegawa had to sell his watches and shoes to keep his business afloat.

Hasegawa and his team decided to split from their initial e-commerce ambitions and bet on the payment venture. Shortly after the pivot, Omise secured USD 300,000 from East Ventures in a seed financing round in August 2014. The business has grown rapidly since then. While Hasegawa did not disclose actual figures, he said that his company has reported “over 2x” year-on-year growth in a recent time frame.

Omise Holdings was rebranded as Synqa Holdings last April, which is reminiscent of “evolution” in Japanese. Just a few months after the rebranding, in June, Synqa bagged USD 80 million in a Series C led by SCB 10X, the venture capital arm of the Siam Commercial Bank PCL, and Tokyo-listed asset manager Sparx Group.

Thai payment and blockchain startup Synqa, USD 300,000, OMG network

Jun Hasegawa, co-founder and CEO of Synqa. Photo courtesy of Synqa.

Envisioning financial inclusion via blockchain

The goal of democratizing financial services continued to linger on Hasegawa’s mind. “Our vision is that payments should be available for everyone. This is not a privilege but a human right,” said Hasegawa.

Hasegawa and his team have continued to delve into the core payment infrastructure, looking for ways to allow people to get easier financial access whether they have bank accounts or not. Under Synqa, the firm manages two business verticals, a payment gateway business named Omise, and a fintech solutions provider called Opn, launched last March.

Omise is an e-payment processor that offers B2C and B2B payment services that can be adopted into websites and mobile applications. The platform currently operates in Thailand, Singapore, and Japan. It counts brands such as Pomelo, True Group, BMW, and McDonald’s as customers, as well as other small and medium-sized companies. Omise monetizes through a consumption-based system, where the commission fee depends on the size of the partnership deal, Hasegawa explained.

Synqa was also the developer of the OMG network, previously known as OmiseGo, an Ethereum-based money transfer and payments tool. The platform was sold to Hong Kong-based Genesis Block Ventures last December. 

“Bitcoin does not have smart contracts, meaning that there is no flexibility other than transferring the value. We thought Ethereum could be the technology to provide open financial access for everyone. That’s how we started OmiseGo,” said Hasegawa. A smart contract is a self-executing contract where the terms of the agreement between buyer and seller are directly written into lines of code.

After selling the OMG network, Hasegawa has continued his passion for blockchain technology through the Opn division. While Opn has not launched any product yet, Hasegawa hinted that commercial services, such as blockchain-based e-wallet solutions might come “very soon.”

“If there is a business that has already acquired 10 million end users, we can transform the company into a fintech firm by integrating our solutions. In return, we will also gain 10 million customers overnight. That’s how the approach works,” Hasegawa said.

“The payment industry has evolved. Enterprises have started to embed fintech solutions into their ecosystem. For example, Apple has started to embed payment solutions into its ecosystem throughout the years, from Apple Pay and Apple Card to Apple Cash. And now, there is Grab Finance and GoTo in Southeast Asia,” he added.

Hasegawa also revealed expansion plans for Synqa, which is set to enter Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam in the next two years. The company also plans additional fundraising activities.

“We are going to raise more money in another funding round. But we are not sure about when and how. An IPO would be another way of raising money, but the question is whether this is the right way to achieve our vision. Meanwhile, we also have to be responsible and accountable to our shareholders,” Hasegawa said.


Japan travel news, japan travel guides, japan holiday destinations and japan reviews

LATEST NEWS

NEWS RELATED

Koo stages a coup on Twitter in India

Downloads of Koo’s app skyrocketed after Indian ministers asked their followers to move from Twitter to the Indian platform.

Read more: Koo stages a coup on Twitter in India

Semiconductor squander: China’s chip drive leaves unqualified projects languishing

China’s public and private sectors are trying to accelerate the country’s domestic chip-making capabilities, but enthusiasm doesn’t always yield efficiency.

Read more: Semiconductor squander: China’s chip drive leaves unqualified projects languishing

Israeli startups smash funding records, reel in USD 10.5 billion in 6 months

Israel recorded an increase of 137% in funding growth for the first five months of 2021 compared to the same period last year.

Read more: Israeli startups smash funding records, reel in USD 10.5 billion in 6 months

GGV Capital leads USD 20 million Series A round in sales intelligence startup Slintel

While Slintel focuses on the US, EU, and APAC markets, it saw many inbound leads from India and Asia last year.

Read more: GGV Capital leads USD 20 million Series A round in sales intelligence startup Slintel

BukuWarung snags USD 60 million in new round led by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures and Goodwater

There is increased interest in Indonesia from American VCs, BukuWarung co-founder says.

Read more: BukuWarung snags USD 60 million in new round led by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures and Goodwater

How Meituan outcompeted Trip.com to become China’s hotel booking king

To the surprise of many, China’s largest OTA is Meituan, an internet behemoth that’s mostly known as a food delivery giant.

Read more: How Meituan outcompeted Trip.com to become China’s hotel booking king

China’s tech workers pushed to limits by surveillance software

A vicious cycle of monitoring and overwork is fueling productivity—and backlash.

Read more: China’s tech workers pushed to limits by surveillance software

Tiger-backed Indian logistics tech startup Locus raises USD 50 million

Locus plans to use the funds for improving geographical reach as well as building its research and development team to expand its product line.

Read more: Tiger-backed Indian logistics tech startup Locus raises USD 50 million

Deep tech startups are gems for investors with an appetite for risk, says Yoke Sin Chong of iGlobe Partners

Amid healthy investor appetite, Southeast Asia’s first agritech accelerator sees sector maturing

Digital payments firm Paytm eyes a USD 3 billion IPO this year

Top 3 contributor stories | Oasis May features

VIDEO | KrASIA tries Baidu’s first commercial autonomous ride-hailing service in China

Second wave of the pandemic sends Indian startups back to the drawing board

Kuaishou kicks off cross-border sales to boost growing e-commerce presence

E-commerce fraud prevention firm Forter raises USD 300 million

OTHER NEWS