A decade ago Thailand was a developing country where majority of its population worked in the agricultural sector. In a span of ten years, Thailand developed its human resources and homegrown technology, and significantly increased its access to information by utilizing technology.
Today, Thais are definitely tech-savvy. Thailand's population is about 65 million but there are more than 94 million mobile subscriptions. It has been said that Bangkok is Facebook's capital and it is a fact that a popular mall in Bangkok earns the number one spot as the world's most photographed place published on Instagram.
Thailand's Startup Ecosystem
Thailand is home (or second home) to multinationals; but the business startup scene is quickly picking up. In recent years, much attention was given to Thailand by venture capitalists and foreign technological companies. Key players in the startup ecosystem are the people, different organizations in a physical or virtual location, and startups on different stages. All these key players interact as one system to establish new startup companies. The different organizations can be divided into groups such as funding organizations; universities; support organizations e.g. accelerators, incubators; service provider organizations e.g. financial and legal services; and large companies.
According to Thanawat, founder of the successful startup Priceza.com, Thailand's tech startup ecosystem will boom within three years. Thailand is definitely all set for tech acceleration.
Startups are classified by category and stage.
A Promising Startup is in its early development phase. These stage 1 startups have pitched at different events and are backed by angel funding. This type of Startup Company is developing and progressing for the seed funding stage.
Funded Startups have received funding either from venture investors or traditional banks and lenders or from other institutional investors.
Exited Startups are no longer fledgling startups as this type of company has either been acquired by or partnered with a conglomerate. It is the goal of every startup to “exit” at the earliest stage possible.
Successful Startups in Thailand
Thailand's startup ecosystem is flourishing as there are more than a handful of startups in the country that made it big. The following companies are Exited Startups.
Agoda Company Pte Ltd is an online travel agency that affords accommodation booking services through its mobile application and website. The company has more than 390,000 property listings worldwide and over 4 million reviews from customers on its listed properties. The company slogan may well be “Best Price Guarantee” as it has endeavored to offer lower prices than competitions. The company has been acquired by Priceline.com.
Ensogo is a social online marketplace that offers its members discounts on hotel accommodations, restaurants, aesthetic treatments, spa services, and all kinds of retail products in Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Pagemodo is a social media site that provides its users custom creation solutions for personal and business Facebook Pages. Over a million people have used Pagemodo to design their Facebook cover photos and custom tabs, search for content to share, launch online contests, schedule posts to Twitter and Facebook, and more.
Funded Startups in Thailand include 2C2P, Ookbee and Whatsnew.
The website 2C2P.com is an online payment company that offers full banking and payment solutions for financial establishments.
Ookbee.com is an online bookstore. Customers can avail of magazines, newspapers, books and digital publications. The e-bookstore services are available in Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam. The e-bookstore mainly sells local publications.
Whatsnew.com is an e-commerce site for the trading of products and services. The company carries brands for pet products, infant needs, health products, skin and beauty products for men and women, and e-commerce solutions for online marketers. The company is funded by Ardent Capital
Thriving Startup Ideas
The mindset for a successful business startup is to start with the local market but with the intention of expanding to regional and global markets. A scalable business idea is better than a business that is hard to develop and expand.
The following are some of the most promising startup categories in Thailand: E-commerce, M-commerce, E-learning, E-recruitment, M-health, Mobile Advertising, Digital Marketing, Fashion, Marketplace, Consumer Research, Finance, Social Media, Social Impact, Tools, Gaming, Dating, Lifestyle & Entertainment and Crowdsourcing.
Thais want the convenience and ease of using wireless technology in addressing needs such as shopping, hotel bookings, bills payment, banking and so on. Technology affords people to do almost anything online, anywhere, anytime. There are websites for learning, socializing, dating, gaming, entertainment, health services, advertising, entertainment activities such as hobbies and leisure, and lifestyle services and products.
A virtual marketplace where third party sellers can offer their wares is another good idea for a startup business. Addressing any of these needs in terms of providing online solutions is a viable business startup idea in Thailand.
Thailand's startup ecosystem is quickly accelerating. Now is the time to act.
Don't know how to start? Call Servcorp for guidance and more information.