Creating a Fintech Unicorn at Topp Speed

20222 m 35 sBangkok StudioFinance

How can a mediocre, rogue schoolboy go onto graduate with a Master of Philosophy in Economics from Oxford University? How did the same young man then decide to carve a career as a cryptocurrency exchange pioneer in Thailand and, in Bitkub, create a Fintech Unicorn in 4 years?

Topp Jirayut Srupsrisopa, the founder and CEO of Bitkub, was not an ambitious child at school. After struggling to get a place at university, he adopted a winning mindset and graduated at the top of his year. He went straight to Oxford University to complete his Master of Philosophy in Economics, but then he had no idea what he wanted to do with his life.

Investment Banking & Financial Consulting

He went to Shanghai for a few months working as an investment banker. That didn't inspire but it was where he was first introduced to Bitcoin. He then became a financial consultant in San Francisco. That too did not inspire, but whilst there, he met Dan Schatt who was, at the time, General Manager of Financial Innovations at PayPal. Topp Jirayut asked Dan what he thought of Bitcoin and the reply was that it would change the world.

Bootstrap a Fintech Company in Thailand

Topp now knew that cryptocurrency was his calling and he packed his bags and returned to Thailand to bootstrap his own fintech company. The problem was though, cryptocurrency exchanges were all but illegal in Thailand at that time. He was committed now though, and despite being investigated not once but twice and being ordered by his father to shut down his company, in Topp created and sold Thailand’s largest Bitcoin wallet company.

Bitkub: From Startup to Fintech Unicorn in 4 Years

In April 2017, Japan finally confirmed that Bitcoin was a legal tender and method of payment and towards the end of that year, Topp became aware that digital asset exchange licences would finally be available in Thailand. Topp scrambled to start up a new Fintech company in record breaking time to ensure that he would be first to market. He achieved a record breaking initial seed round and to expedite the process, took over an existing IT company which became Bitkub.

Within 4 years, Topp drove Bitkub from startup to fintech unicorn (Unicorns are late-stage startups that have a valuation of more than US$1bn, and are either private or have gone through an IPO). His group of companies continue to be Thailand’s largest blockchain and cryptocurrency exchange today and he has not finished yet! Southeast Asia is very much on Topp Jirayut’s cryptocurrency market radar, and beyond.

A change in mindset was the catalyst that transformed Topp from being unambitious to ambitious and goal driven with laser sharp focus.