Four Trends Affect Local Startups In Thailand

Four trends will affect local startups in Thailand in 2019 are: artificial intelligence (AI) for everyone, specialised blockchain and AI accelerators, mid-sized businesses being more interested in startup innovation, and the rise of deep tech startups attracting investment.

According to Oranuch Lerdsiwankij, chief executive of Techsauce Media Co.,local startups are still attractive for investors, both local and foreign corporate venture capital (CVCs) firms as investors and large corporates are looking for innovations from startups to deal with digital disruption.

Thailand has the largest number of CVCs in Asean during these past years.

The business must adjust themselves for new opportunities and being survived in a midst of technology change. The education sector must build new skills to students and reskill workforce to be capable with automation era and AI. The change in environment and pollution management will be key challenging issues.

She noted that the trend that will happen in the startup ecosystem in Thailand will have special accelerators in blockchain and AI, the same as in Singapore and Hong Kong and there will be more deeptech startups.

The mid-sized organisations will be more interested in startups for new innovation. AI will not be limited for those people with high technical skill, but for everyone and there will be simple learning courses for people.

According to Techsauce report, in 2018, Thailand’s startups continued to find funding, with 35 deals, up from 31 in 2017, though the value dropped to 61.2 million baht from 107 million in 2017 because the deals were mostly in small seed and Series A funding.

The top three deals in Thailand last year were US$20 million (634 million baht) for EKO in Series B, $10 million for Eatigo and $7.7 million for Gogoprint, both in Series A.

The food/biotech/restaurant segment had the highest number of deals, accounting for 14% of the total in 2018, followed by e-commerce and marketplaces (11%), then fintech, property and digital content (9%), travel, marketing tech, reward and enterprise platform (6%), construction, agritech, and robotics (3%) and others such as insurtech, gaming and retail making up the remaining 17%.

Thais invested $107 million in startups in 2018, of which $11.7 million was in local startups.

Thais invested $95 million abroad, comprised of fintech (38%), deep tech (25%), e-commerce (25%) and transport (12%).

Amarit Charoenphan, co-founder of Techsauce said unlike Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam, Thailand lacks unicorn startups because the local field cannot scale up to the regional level.

Technology and innovation by startups should not be limited to big organisations, but “technology should be for all”.