Our mission is to serve as the primary source of information on the Thai Startup scene with the intention to increase interest in our tight knit startup community and build bridges with other startup communities throughout the region and the world.
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.
Last 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.
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.
During 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.
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.
Molome is an online photo sharing platform that offers users a selection of stickers and other embellishments that users can purchase (in-app) to decorate their photos before sharing with friends. In-app purchases are priced at $.99 USD for a set of stickers or other embellishments such as humorous frames. Molome users can share their photos with Instagram users as well allowing Molome to grow along with Instagram. Molome is different than Instagram in that Molome targets the fun-loving crowd typically in their twenties. The Molome platform is compatible with iOS, Android, Windows, Symbian and Blackberry.
During the course of 2013, there were many notable startup events in Thailand that shaped and defined the direction of the startup community. All the events to be examined were highly-charged and well attended. Several of these events counted a large contingent of international attendees which signified the increased international attention being received by the Thai startup community and has resulted in further engagement with our counterparts throughout the region. A common theme throughout these events is the anticipation of ASEAN economic integration and our favorable positioning within the region.
This is Part II of a three part series. Please click here for Part I.
Tuesday, January 21st, 2014, the first Seed Forum event in Thailand was hosted at Sasin Graduate Institute for Business Administration.
About Seed Forum
The concept and practice of Seed Forum originated in Norway in 2001. Since then Seed Forum has expanded from a local process to a global process which aims to provide a venue in which “investor ready born global companies” have an opportunity to pitch their innovative products or services to local, national and international investors. “Investor ready born companies” are startups that are seeking equity investments beyond their home country earlier in their life cycle. This is often part of a strategy to access overseas markets. This relationship has proven to be mutually beneficial as many investors see foreign investments as a means to leverage their existing networks to bring innovative products into their own home markets.
The six promising startups that represented the first batch of True Incube graduates finally had their opportunity to showcase their innovations during the first True Incube Demo Day at Launchpad this past Monday, January 20, 2014. Their journey started last year as one of 150 applicants to the program. Only a select six were admitted into the program. Once in they endured a crash 99-day program where they benefitted from working alongside experienced mentors and the other incubates.
The Bangkok tech community has been trying to setup a hackerspace in the city following the closing of the first space a few years ago. The community has been lucky to have some very nice co-working spaces established since that time that meet many of the community’s needs.
I was very excited to see a post in December, 2013 about the launching of a makerspace in Bangkok named, appropriately, Bangkok MakerSpace. I was even happier when on January 15th, 2014, the first ‘kick-off’ meeting for the newly established Bangkok MakerSpace was held in the actual space.
Hackerspace? Makerspace? What’s the difference?
Although some people consider the terms synonymous, the fundamental difference between a simple hackerspace and a makerspace is its focus. A simple hackerspace focuses on software and computer networking technologies while a makerspace focuses on hardware and physical fabrication. There is a cross-over between the two and definitely in the case of makerspaces if any of the projects people are working on involve programmable electronics. This is almost 100% of the time since cool makerspace equipment, like 3-D printers, require programming.
2013 was a banner year for the Thai startup community. There was much progress and growth in almost all segments of the local startup community, a diverse range of key startup events that symbolized such progress, highly favorable trends in social media and smart phone usage inside Thailand and several notable investments secured by Thai startups garnering regional and international attention. With a strengthened sense of community, greater regional engagement and international exposure and positive online trends there is a justified sense of optimism pervading the Thai startup community despite the challenging domestic political environment.
This Year-In-Review will be posted in three parts. Part I will cover significant developments in each segment of the Thai startup ecosystem during the past year. A review of the key startup events of 2013 will be covered in Part II. In Part III, notable venture investments in Thai startups during the past year will be highlighted, favorable trends pointing to a promising 2014 and beyond will be examined and our concluding observations will be given.