The idea for Investment in Startups

Thai startups industry has become more exciting after the announcement of Thailand 4.0 policy. Meanwhile, new venture capital investors including angel investors, venture capitalists (VC), corporate VCs have also sprouted up to catch up with the trend.

Kongkiat Opaswongkarn, the Chief Executive Officer of Asia Plus Group Holdings, one who led one of the most successful financial firms with more than 30 years of direct experience investing in private equity. He also has had 24 years of going through ‘dotcom’ and crisis in 1999; and past two years of funding in 3 new startups. His investment in Lalamove, the first 24-hour delivery service application is a proof of his sharp eyes on investment.

Lalamove initially had businesses in 12 cities in China. In a short period, the company has expanded to more than 40 cities, including Bangkok. The fast growth of this startup reflects the sharp eyes of Kongkiat in choosing startup for investment.

Kongkiat always keeps himself up-to-date on information about startups in overseas so he could predict whether, in the next couple of years, the startups in Thailand will become outdated or not.

He travelled to Israel, where is among the world’s top markets for startups, as to study information about startups in various fields such as medical, data security, Fintech, and loan extension. He also talked to a few top venture capitalists. The trip was also to survey and to learn of himself what kind of an investor he is so that he could make a valuable investment that would lead to business growth.

“Some people may invest in several businesses. If the business is good, they invest more. If it’s not, they just let it go. Or if they are angel investors, they would invest at the start of the business, but they might have to invest several businesses to increase the chance of success. But for VCs, they would be more specific in investment.”

Each person has the different style of investment. Kongkiat realises that he is not an angel investor because he doesn’t like to monitor but prefer to be a VC which invest in pre-series A startup or series A which own products in the market.

“Sometimes it can be series D. Before I make any investment decision, I’d prefer to wait for a while to see that startup makes some progress first to see whether they can survive or not. I’d rather take a slow but sure approach, the investment cost might be higher, but a chance to fail is also lower.”

Proper research is the first crucial step that the investors should do if they are interested in startups. The key to success of investing in a new business is by providing financial support and advice that can guide them the way to add a value of their companies when they have tso raise fund next time.


Credit: Forbes Thailand