Something is bubbling out there in the East.
While you may think of Silicon Valley in San Francisco when you think of tech startups, there’s another up and comer that’s quickly taking over this title and surpassing what America’s got to give. Thailand, especially Bangkok, seems to have exploded over the last year or so when it comes to tech startups.
Let’s take a look at this recent phenomenon and why it’s making international news.
What’s New and Exciting to this Scene?
When thinking about what’s current and trending in the Thai tech startup scene, we’ve got to go back a couple of years to understand the catalysts.
The Rocket Internet effect led to Thailand becoming a hub of investors, new talents, and a place for startup founders. The people who had been involved in the Rocket Internet came to Bangkok and began separate startups, including Rabbit Internet and Hotel Quickly. This inevitably led to a concentration of the market between 2016 and 2017. Companies like Lazada and FoodPanda are bought by external companies owned by China and Germany respectively. This meant fewer new talents and startups, and an invasion by giant tech companies that mostly came from China, the USA, Singapore, and Indonesia.
Today, there are up to 10,000 new startups in Thailand. While less than 300 of these actually have traction, there are definitely some to look out for. These include the likes of health tech company Medical Departures, restaurant reviewer Wong Nai, hotel booking website Hotel Quickly, restaurant booking website Eatigo, logistics company aCommerce, and gamification corporation Playbasis.
What’s Making the Most Noise?
We’ve got a good handle on who’s new and exciting to the scene of the Bangkok tech startup. However, this doesn’t mean that everyone has a chance of scrambling to the top.
Out of this elite group of tech startups, who are making the most noise and pegged for prosperity and longevity as we get ready to enter another fiscal year?
Let’s break down the key players into categories, based on both global and local predictions:
- Hotel Quickly
- Local Banks
- Thai Post
- Line Taxi
- Healthy Food Startups
- DYO Food Startups
- Happy Fresh
- Honest Bee
- Hungry Hub
Who are the Key Investors?
With all these companies jostling for your attention and working hard to remain a staple on the Thai map, it’s no wonder that investors have a hard task ahead of them determining where their interests lie.
Dr. Jay Jooter, Chairman of the VC Group, explains that his investment tastes might not be the same as someone else’s. Personally, he tends to gravitate towards the companies who are focusing on cloud infrastructure and enterprising software.
However, Dr. Jay sees the merit in looking elsewhere – he believes that there is a profit to be made in every field, regardless of the subject matter. With this in mind, let’s take a look at who the main accelerators and investors are in the Bangkok tech startup arena:
- Bangkok Bank
- Golden Gate Ventures
- Monk’s Hill Ventures
- Gobi Partners
What Growth Areas Should You Look Out For?
We’ve gathered all the information together about the tech startup scene in Bangkok and have a good grip on where to be looking and what to focus our attention on the most.
Moving ahead into the future of this newfound tech startup hub, what are going to be the most significant areas of growth?
Dr. Jay Jooter continues by explaining that he believes the pioneers of this unprecedented Thai venture capitalism are corporations, as opposed to financial institutions. He believes this because he can see that the three largest Telcos, which are Dtac, AIS, and True, each have their own startup initiatives ready for investment.
While these will be the more prominent players going forward, there are still other industries that are being discreetly invested in. Companies that fall into the book publishing, petroleum and construction materials industries are also actively investing in Bangkok tech startups – just a little more under the radar.
We are starting to see a trend, here, that’s running parallel to the tech startup scene famously known as Silicon Valley. An unassuming camera company decided to invest in a semiconductor company, leading to the wildly successful Intel Corporation that’s continued to ride the wave of success all the way through.
We can see the same happening in Bangkok, with similar stories already beginning to emerge.
It’s still early days for the tech startup scene in Bangkok.
What this means, then, is that you need to watch this space. The investment opportunities are slowly starting to warm up and won’t be public forever. Some are private from the get-go, which we know has its advantages and disadvantages.
All you need to know at this point is that you can expect to see a lot coming out of the booming startup tech scene in Bangkok.
While it’s hard to predict the specificities, what we can guarantee is that it won’t be long until Bangkok is known as the new Silicon Valley.
Max started The Responsive Agency in 2014 to help business owners to navigate the fast-paced world of digital marketing. With a focus on solutions that offer high-performance growth, clients have seen dramatic increases in turnover and profit.