Kasikornbank, or KBank, one of Thailand’s largest private banks, launched a flagship fund to invest in artificial intelligence (AI). The fund, named KXVC, will target AI, Web3 and deep tech startups with a focus on the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region.
According to a press release published on Sept. 13, the fund will possess a $100-million investment budget with Krating Poonpol, chairman of KBank Business Technology Group, in charge of the enterprise. In Poonpol’s words:
“KXVC will be a stepping stone for global founders to drive their business expansion in APAC with strong synergy with KBank and our partners.”
More precisely, KXVC is going to invest in consumer-focused AI, cybersecurity, AI and machine learning tools, such as deployment platforms, data annotation and model optimization, and problem-specific AI startups. Within Web3, its investments will aim at Web3 infrastructures, node validators, remote procedure call providers, middlewares, modularity technologies, privacy, zero-knowledge proofs, wallets, alternative layer 1s and layer 2s, shared securities, liquid staking derivatives and consumerization of nonfungible tokens.
However, as Thanaarmates Arriyavat, venture director at KX, explained to Cointelegraph, the fund will avoid the rigid limits on its investment areas:
“We’re focusing at the infrastructure level mostly. It doesn’t have to be like a pure Web3 decentralized product or service or platform to really serve the masses. Because, like normal users, they just don’t actually care about what’s underneath the application they use. But they care about the benefits.”
The fund plans to invest in over 30 startups and funds globally, with geographic focuses in the United States, the European Union, Israel and APAC.
KBank is not new when it comes to the digital economy. In 2021, it began experimenting with decentralized finance (DeFi) services as part of its business expansion plan. And back in 2018, the bank joined Visa’s blockchain-based business-to-business solution for cross-border payment transactions.
KBank is the second-largest bank in Thailand in terms of assets. In 2023, it holds 3.6 trillion Thai baht, which is roughly $100 billion.
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