Those in the crypto world may have heard of DAPP Pocket, a Taiwanese blockchain company with two products and over 100,000 users. They might have also heard that they just got acquired by Turn Capital, the family office run by Joseph Phua. This adds to their growing portfolio which includes SoundOn, another Taiwanese podcast startup.
Acquisitions happen all the time, but it is the future plans for DAPP Pocket that have the biggest implications for Southeast Asia. Led by seasoned startup investor Evie Zhang, who is also a Partner at Turn Capital, they are looking to launch a brand new Southeast Asian crypto-exchange called Coinomo.
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We had a chance to speak to Evie about her latest venture, as well as how she plans to bring her experience from managing Vertex Ventures’ investments into Grab, PatSnap and Paktor to running the cryptocurrency exchange in Southeast Asia. This is to take advantage of the increasing interest in decentralized finance in the region.
The two products launched will be OMO and OMO Finance, which are focused on the Southeast Asian market, using Dapp Pocket’s technology and expertise. OMO merges Dapp Pocket Wallet & Cappuu into a single platform and is aimed at being the gateway for Southeast Asia’s new and mainstream adopters to the world of crypto. The product is ideal for new adopters, offering a high quality user experience and eliminating unnecessary details and confusion. OMO will be a simple, secure and intuitive gateway into the world of “everything crypto”.
While the OMO finance platform caters to more seasoned crypto investors in Southeast Asia, to help them join and capitalise on the growing market.
Could you share a bit more about OMO and OMO Finance?
OMO is a crypto gateway designed for Southeast Asian retail investors who are entering the crypto world for the first time. The basic elements of our back-end technologies like custodial vault, crypto trading platform, centralized or decentralized, etc. are solutions readily available in the market. We are leveraging these technologies by packaging them into a solution that’s real world facing – Not just only for the crypto savvy audience.
OMO Finance is somewhat different: It is built for the more savvy and experienced crypto investor, who want more from OMO. We provide aggregated DeFi products to OMO Finance users to realize their appetite, match them with investment products and solutions to satisfy their needs.
Why target Southeast Asia specifically, as most crypto exchanges are global in reach?
The crypto world has seen its ups and downs. The largest players in the market have tens of millions of customers around the world and they have too many things to worry about and many products to launch. It is very hard for them to focus on a single market or one single demographic.
In contrast, we are a new company, the founders’ experiences are around serving the needs of Southeast Asia. Joseph built many consumer tech businesses from the ground up, he understands how mass consumers behave digitally, what their comfort zones may be and how to present new products to them. I covered the Indonesia market for many years as an investor and invested in Grab and Happy Fresh, and they both operate in Indonesia. I have witnessed firsthand the inception and rapid growth of this current generation of unicorns like Tokopedia, Garena/SEA/Shopee, Gojek, Grab,etc., how they brought e-commerce and shared economy to the masses.
We believe we are serving a need here if we stay super focused on the mass retail market in Southeast Asia.
What potential is there for crypto trading in Southeast Asia?
Global pandemic has brought about a tailwind for many digital businesses including Crypto. Because of the pandemic, people have been forced to accept digital payments and e-commerce has grown at an escalated pace. Our potential customers have as such crossed the first mental barrier of crypto trading as a result.
Secondly, the pandemic has disrupted most businesses and is forcing a retreat in the economy, forcing governments across the world to be more aggressive on their monetary policies. The increased fiat liquidity inflated asset prices everywhere, especially for traditional investment instruments like real estate, equities, mutual funds, etc. The volatility and lack of fundamentals in the traditional financial markets have made it difficult for the retail population to invest. Crypto currencies and DeFi products on the contrary are vibrant, and not dressed up the way traditional investments are. This is perfect for the generally younger population in Southeast Asia, who are probably exploring the investment world for the first time.
Which markets do you see as being a key focus for OMO in the region?
Definitely Indonesia, with its sheer size and rapid development. However, we believe we can replicate what we do in Indonesia once our operations here become more mature, as we believe the same market fundamentals and desire to explore new investment products are the same across the younger population in Southeast Asia. We love this part of the world and we want to grow here.
Do you see OMO having the same unicorn potential as Grab and Patsnap, given your experience with them?
Yes, of course. I have been in venture capital for almost ten years, and have evaluated and invested in unicorns like Grab, Patsnap and hard tech companies like Landscape (Chinese version of SpaceX). I evaluated exciting businesses daily, and have multiple operational opportunities as a result. I have chosen to build OMO because I believe with my experience in the VC world, Joseph’s experience in building consumer facing products in Southeast Asia and Anderson’s technological “genius”, all combined into OMO, we represent a new generation for the crypto space in Southeast Asia.
What’s next for Coinomo?
There are a million and one new things we want to offer on OMO, but at the same time we are laser-focused on launching our product in Indonesia first, not taking on too many risks or spreading ourselves too thin. We want to make sure we only take on something we can chew, and this is customer experience all the way – We will not compromise customer experience for anything. We are obsessed with it, you may say.
Things are happening very fast, and we will keep you posted on our progress.