By Jon Russel for techCrunch
It isn’t often that you see startups buying chunks of large corporates, but that’s what has happened in Thailand this week.
Following the closure of its $25 million ICO token sale yesterday, Asian fintech startup Omise has bulked up its core payment business after it acquired Paysbuy from Thailand-based mobile operator Dtac.
The deal will see Omise take over Paybuy’s assets and services, which include a payment gateway and digital wallet used by both consumers and businesses in Thailand and Myanmar. Omise is based in Thailand, and it has raised over $20 million from traditional VCs. Its service also operates in Indonesia and Japan with plans to expand in Asia, while it is hatching grand plans for a decentralized payment network called Omise Go.
Dtac, which is owned by European mobile giant Telenor, acquired Paysbuy back in 2008 in an undisclosed deal that was one of the first startup acquisitions in Thailand. (Side note: one of its two co-founders, Aung Kyaw Moe, started a new payment service called 2C2P following the DTAC deal. 2C2P, which has raised over $10 million from investors and worked with Facebook, is a rival to Omise.)
This is a curious offload from Dtac. But it seems likely that in the near-ten years that have passed since it acquired Paysbuy, the operator has realized it makes better business sense to work with the best payment firms in the industry directly rather than be, or own, a payment company itself. In a statement, Dtac’s chief strategy and digital officer Andrew Kvalseth confirmed that the combined entity will continue to power payments for the operator.
The deal helps Omise increase its marketshare in Thailand, while the company said it will use the Paysbuy digital wallet to develop its Omise Go service. This week’s successful ICO was held to finance the development of Omise Go, which is a decentralized payment service aiming at disrupting the current financial system dominated by banks.