Startup Weekend- Creative Edition @ PAH

This past weekend (March 28-30th, 2014) PAH Creative Space, the new coworking space for creative professionals, hosted the Startup Weekend Bangkok- Creative Edition event.  The event welcomed ninety participants from Thailand and neighboring countries purchasing tickets to take part in this popular program, which has become an established event in Bangkok.

Startup Weekend is a non-profit organization headquartered in Seattle, USA with a global mission to empower entrepreneurs. Their mission is indeed global. In 2014, over 1,800 Startup Weekend events in 120 countries were held. These weeklong events provide an excellent forum for startup teams to form. The weeklong program comprises of an intense series of pitching, brainstorming idea generation, workshops conducted by local entrepreneurial leaders and team-building activities organically formed around the best ideas. 

Ma’D – New Coworking Space in Bangkok for Social Entrepreneurs

Yesterday, I had the privilege to attend the official opening of the Ma’D Coworking Space on Ekamai Soi 4 down the road from its sister spaces- Hubba and Pah. It is easy to believe that Ma’D will soon become the social entrepreneurial hub for Thailand. This attractive space, a converted trendy bar/restaurant, set on a spacious lot with ample parking and outside areas, was conceived and co-founded by Khun Preekamol Chantaranijakorn (Gift) and Khun Sakolrit Chanphum (Keng). Gift has a marketing background and extensive experience working with social impact projects throughout Thailand. She currently serves as Chairwoman of the Thai World Summit Awards Nominating Committee charged with selecting a nominee in each of eight categories to represent Thailand in this prestigious United Nations-affiliated global competition of the most promising social entrepreneurial ventures in the world. Keng is a strong social reformer and the pair make a perfect founding partnership for this new space.    

Review: PAH – New Coworking Space for Creative Professionals

As we discussed in our three-part TSR Year-In-Review article series, we expect the local startup ecosystem to continue to expand in 2014. We included the continued proliferation of coworking spaces as part of this expansion.  This month two new coworking spaces, in partnership with the trial-blazing team at Hubba, will be officially opening their doors in Bangkok. What is new about both of these coworking spaces is that they are designed to cater to a particular type of professional or entrepreneur? In this article we will review Pah, a coworking space designed for creative professionals. In the next post, we will review Ma’D, a new space for social entrepreneurs. 

Pah Official Opening

Review: Echelon 2014 Thailand Satellite

On Wednesday, March 12th, the much anticipated Echelon 2014 Thailand Satellite was held at Bangkok University. This is one of the largest pitch events of the year and in just a few years Echelon has already established itself as one of the premier startup events in Thailand. Twenty Thai startups pitched for the honor to represent Thailand in June at the regional Echelon competition in Singapore. The teams pitched in front of a jam-packed auditorium of about 300 to 400 attendees.

The event opened with an address by Thaddeus Koh, COO & Co-Founder of the Singapore-based organizer- e27. During his address, he revealed Echelon’s immediate plans and the products they offer startups such as the Investor Kit and Tech Alley. Immediately following Thaddeus the stage was taken by Opie Lopansri, CEO & Co-Founder of Stamp. Stamp was the Echelon Thailand winner of 2013. Opie graciously shared his echelon experiences last year on the same stage and in Singapore. For him the most valuable thing he got from his involvement with Echelon was the relationships he was able to forge.   

Review: The Mai Bangkok Business Challenge @ Sasin

From February 27th through March 1ST, 2014, the 12th annual Mai Bangkok Business Challenge @ Sasin was organized and hosted by Mai and the Sasin Graduate Institute of Business Administration at the Sasa Patasala Building. The event was held over three days and included teams from all over the world, including Australia, India, China, Indonesia, Denmark and Singapore to name a few. A team from Sasin and a team from Chulalongkorn Business School participated and represented Thailand well. 

The Thai Teams

Redigen, a team of Sasin students, was one of the six Finalists. They did a great job throughout the competition presenting their revolutionary green product, a multifunctional composite produced from 100% recycled components that can replicate or enhance current building materials in the marketplace. What is impressive about the Sasin teams is that their ventures are not a degree requirement of their school program and the team members exert their creative efforts without expectation for school credit. The teams are thus personally driven to pursue their ventures. This is very different from other competing teams who come from university programs that are required or, at least, receive school credit for work on their ventures. As we have seen in the past this formula is effective as Sasin teams have been more likely to continue their ventures after graduation and many of them such as Siam Organic (2011 winner) and AGcerez (2013 finalist) have become successful businesses.

Global Social Venture Challenge Hosted by IMBA Thammasat

The beginning of the year is the season for international business plan competitions. Bangkok held the honor of hosting two of these prestigious competitions conducted by the IMBA Program at Thammasat University and Sasin Graduate Institute of Business Administration of Chulalongkorn University, two of the top graduate business schools in Thailand. In this article, we will cover the Global Social Venture Challenge. In the next post, we will cover the Mai Bangkok Business Challenge @ Sasin.

The Global Social Venture Competition for Southeast Asia (GSVC-SEA)

Ini3 and Softbank Partner to Become a Leading Player in SEA Mobile Gaming

On March 4, 2014 Ini3 held a well-attended press conference at the W Hotel Bangkok to announce its new partnership with Softbank Ventures Korea (SBVK), who invested an undisclosed sum to secure a 23% equity stake in Ini3. Ini3 has been a pioneer in the online games industry in Thailand. They have been operating in Thailand for the last ten years and currently have 140 employees. They have now set their sights on regional expansion. Softbank Ventures Korea (SBVK) is the venture capital arm of Softbank Group, which became the 3rd largest telecom company in the world with the acquisition of Sprint Nextel last year. They also seek to expand their presence in South East Asia.

The two speakers on stage were Khun Pattera Apithanakoon, CEO of Ini3, and Khun Daniel Kang, COO and partner of SBVK. Khun Kang will be assuming a seat on the Board of Ini3 in accordance with the deal.

Review: Mobile Monday Bangkok #8 at Doubletree

MoMo BKK #8Last night Ian and I enjoyed meeting friends and networking with visitors and new members of the Thai startup community at the always packed Mobile Monday event hosted by Hilton Doubletree Hotel on Sukhumvit Soi 26. We estimate that between 400 and 500 people attended the event which showcased speakers from three successful tech startups that are either Thai-based or have had an enormous impact in the Thai online marketplace. 

Thailand’s Inaugural Participation in the WSA Awards

This past month, the World Summit Awards invited Thailand to join the other 168 countries currently participating in the WSA global nomination process to identify the best e-content providers.

The World Summit Awards is an organization based in Salzburg, Austria with the mission to find the best in e-content that meets the challenges set forth within the United Nations World Summit of Information Society process. It is a vast network of high-level experts spanning the 198 UN Member States who provide the expert knowledge to select the highest-quality e-content in contributing to the mandate originating from the 2003 and 2005 World Summit on Information Society.  By promoting the best e-content it is hoped the digital divides and content gap between countries can be bridged.

Thai Startup Community: Year-In-Review Part III

Year in Review Part IIIDuring the previous two parts of this review, we covered the developments and events that defined the Thailand startup community in 2014. We will now complete the review by covering the results of these events and developments in support of the fund-raising efforts of individual Thai startups. An examination of the positive market trends that will support the continued growth and success of the community will follow before we offer our concluding observations.

Successful Fundings

During 2013, there were ten notable venture investments in Thai startups. The startups that successfully secured institutional funding can be categorized into four areas- e-commerce, social media/marketing, consumer internet/marketplaces and a follow-up funding for a management tool. Although they target a diverse range of markets all have one thing in common- All possess a regional growth strategy.

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