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Start-ups on the rise

Posted by pakin On December - 21 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

For those with passion to join the start-up community, 2016 might be the right time, said Ruangroj “Krating” Poonpol, founder of Disrupt University, an intensive project that teaches start-ups and venture partner of 500 TukTuks.

500 TukTuks, a micro-fund of 500 start-ups focused on promising Thai firms announced it will increase the fund size to US$12 million (433 million baht) and will invest in 60 to 70 start-ups over the next three years. Led by Ruangroj together with CEO of Ookbee Natavudh Pungcharoenpong, 500 TukTuks has been operating for about three months now.

“There are more numbers of high quality start-ups, so we decided to increase the fund from $10 million to $12 million, which is the size suitable for Thailand’s market,” Ruangroj said, adding it is the right time for the company should to in many small firms in order to create the new wave of start-ups.

500 TukTuks expects to increase its funding to 40 to 50 million by next year.

A few years back, start-up companies gained experience from incubation programmes supported by telecom operators. This year, the country’s start-up community has gone a step further as they have received funds which will help them develop faster.

There has always been a concern that the start-up industry is a bubble. But Ruangroj does not think that way, saying technology is an important part of every business equation.

“Next year will be a turning point, it will be a once-in-a-lifetime chance for SMEs to transform themselves into start-ups because the funding, the connections, the market and consultation are now ready. Otherwise it will be too late. Those who do nothing now and next year will certainly miss the train,” Ruangroj commented.

According to Natavudh, at the end of the day, not all start-ups will survive, but it takes three to five years to prove which start-ups grow or die. For those who survive and are growing, 500 TukTuks will help them by raising the second round of funds. The first round of fund-raising will take 12-18 months.

In the first round which takes around three years, 500 TukTuks plan to invest in some 60 companies or 20 start-ups a year with $100,000 in each start-up. For the second round, the funding will be around $200,000.

So far the company has invested in 10 start-ups which all are now in their seed rounds.

In the meantime, Ruangroj noted that Thai start-ups can take the opportunity of the AEC to expand their markets as Thailand is geographically the centre of linkage in the region. The well-recognised “unicorn” start-ups like Lazada and Grabtaxi are already in Thailand, but they are not Thai. Over the next few years, we will see which start-ups are thriving and failing.

According to Ruangroj, the Thai government should review the laws and regulations for start-ups. The issues of regulatory frameworks and IP frameworks, and many things that apply to public companies, should be also applied to the private companies, the same as in Singapore, otherwise more Thai start-ups will go to register in Singapore for better advantages and incentives.

“[If Thai start-ups choose to register in other countries] the government will lose benefits, not the start-ups, because money will only flow out to other countries,” he said. “Therefore the government can catalyse and accelerate the start-up ecosystem as this is the global current and we have seen some potential Thai start-ups will be competitive in the region.”

n  Omise: A payment gateway designed to make payments easier for everyone.

n  ClaimDi: A mobile application for claiming insurance.

n  Blisby: An online marketplace for crafts and handmade products in Thailand.

n  Hubba: The first and the best co-working space in Thailand.

n  Wishbeer: The top premium craft beer e-commerce store in Thailand.

n  Skootar: A platform to find cheaper but more reliable messengers to deliver packages or documents.

n  FlowAccount: A cloud-based accounting platform for SMEs.

n  TakeMeTour: An online marketplace that matches travellers with local experts.

n  Stylhunt: E-commerce fashion platform to find reliable and stylish shops online.

n  WashBox24: The laundry dropbox with a mobile application to track clothes and notify customers.

Shipping and transport firms enjoy streamlined services

A new start-up, Giztix.com, which has won three major start-up pitches and competitions this year, has an ambitious dream of being a global platform for supply-chain systems.

It won a Thailand ICT Award in the Start-up Category, the Digital Winners Award from DTAC Accelerate Batch 3, and Echelon Thailand 2015’s Start-up LaunchPad award. It also walked away with the title of Most Promising Start-up.

Sittisak Wongsomnuk, 25, Giztix.com’s chief executive officer and co-founder, said it started offering services in September by positioning itself as an e-marketplace for logistics services to pinpoint addresses for shippers and transport providers. It can help shorten a logistics service’s quotation period from two hours in the domestic market, 10 hours in Asean market, and two days for with Europe or North America to nearly real time.

It provides lists and details of shippers and transport providers so users can quickly and easily find logistics services.

The service is provided free of charge to shippers, and its revenue comes from commissions and transition fees charged to transport providers that get customers via Giztix.com.

Shippers can source the transport providers verified by Giztix.com and quickly get transport and freight clearance, while transport companies have a greater opportunity to get customers easily. They can increase revenue by not needing to invest in technology and sales procedures.

Giztix.com currently serves around 100 shippers and more than 100 transport companies, 20 of the latter in Thailand. The rest are in mainland China, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Sir Lanka, Britain, Australia and the United States.

The competitive advantage of Giztix.com is to offer easy ways to handle logistics for both shippers and transport providers. The shipper can compare prices, while the transport company can sell its services anywhere.

Sittisak said Giztix’ platform made the logistics services enjoyed by large companies available to smaller firms at an affordable cost.

Next year, Giztix.com aims to have more than 10,000 active users per day, of which 80 per cent are shippers and the rest transport providers. It also expects to be available in 15 countries with total transaction value of US$10 million (Bt357 million).

He said Giztix.com aimed to cash in on the high potential logistics value in Asean, a market worth around $20 billion and which is expected to grow by 2-6 per cent per year.

From being an e-marketplace for logistics services, Giztix.com by mid-2016 plans to extend its service to cover the whole supply-chain system through partnerships with large e-commerce service providers.

“We aim to be the platform hub of the global supply chain system through integrating Giztix.com with international e-commerce players such as Alibaba and Priceza.com,” Sittisak said.

He said Giztix.com was seeking venture-capital fund-raising worth $300,000 for team expansion. It is also applying for support from the Board of Investment.

It plans to launch a mobile application early next year.

Out of 100 applications, 15 teams were selected to make their pitch in front of judges on the first day of “Echelon Thailand” in Bangkok. Five start-ups were shortlisted to make a presentation in front of a live audience and a panel of five judges. They were Ardent Capital CEO Adrian Vanzyl; Linear Venture founding partner Harry Wang; Andrew Kvalseth, head of the strategy and innovation division of Total Access Communication (DTAC); Gobi Partners investment director Victor Chua; and GREE Ventures associate Albert Shyy.

As part of the grand prize, Giztix received three years’ access to BizSpark, BizSpark Plus and $120,000 worth of Azure credits from LaunchPad prize sponsor Microsoft. These prizes will allow Giztix to access software and tools like Visual Studio and Office, alongside training courses and a vibrant technology community.

Additionally, the Giztix team received a pair of tickets to “Echelon Asia Summit 2016”, and an exhibition booth at the international summit to be held in Singapore next June.

Echelon is Asia’s premier technology and business conference that celebrates the start-up industry and its change-makers. It is organised to convene the region’s tech space, investors and influencers to discuss Asia’s emerging trends and ascend to a higher value proposition.

Patients can save crucial time in getting to the hospital

Stroke is one of the top three non-communicable diseases causing Thai deaths every year. Stroke patients who reach the hospital within 270 minutes have a chance of being cured. But in past years, few have been able to reach the hospital within that time frame.

Khon Kaen University’s department of medicine has initiated a “stroke fast track” with the launch of the “Stroke KKU” system to help stroke patients and their relatives to get in touch with hospitals and Emergency Medical Service System (EMS) 1669 centres in an emergency.

Dr Somsak Tiamkao, a lecturer in the department, said Stroke KKU came as both a mobile application and a Web-based service.

The mobile app is designed to be easy to use. It is now available for iOS and Android platforms.

The app provides not only information about every hospital in the country but also which ones provide thromboclasis treatment, and where they are. Thromboclasis is a procedure to dissolve a thrombus, a stationary blood clot that can cause a stroke.

The app also provides information on how people can check themselves for stroke risk.

To get the app for a smartphone, people are required to register with their names, identity numbers, contact numbers, and their relatives’ contact information in case of emergency.

Once they need help, they just open the app and use the alert feature to inform EMS 1669. The Emergency Medical Service will be alerted and then coordinate with the appropriate hospital while sending an ambulance.

Meanwhile, the hospital and EMS centre are provided with a Web-based service linked with the Stroke KKU application. They will be alerted once people ask for help via the app. Then they can immediately send an ambulance to get the patient to the hospital quickly.

This initiative aims to increase the number of stroke patients who can reach a hospital within 270 minutes to get thromboclasis treatment in time.

“Generally, around 50 per cent of stroke patients can be cured by getting treatment in time,” Somsak said.

The Stroke KKU system will be available in Khon Kaen province first for a trial period in order ensure the app functions properly, and then it will be offered throughout the country.

This app is a collaboration of the Khon Kaen University’s Department of Medicine and the National Institute for Emergency Medicine, operator of EMS 1669.

The Stroke KKU application and the Web-based system were developed by Digix Technology, a software company in Khon Kaen province.

Disakul Waidee, founder and chief executive officer of Digix Technology, said the company worked closely with the doctors, and after getting information from EMS 1669 and the hospitals, they spent two months developing the app.

The Stroke KKU Web-based application, at www.1669stroke.com, has one database but two groups of users, the hospitals and the EMS1669. They both will be alerted when patients send an emergency alert.

The app developer

Established five years ago, Digix Technology mainly provides software development for corporates. Most of its customers are in Bangkok.

The company has three main products: MoMag, Bookish and Dropthing. MoMag and Bookish are publishing platforms for magazines and books, respectively, while Dropthing is a tracking system for logistics businesses.

MoMag and Bookisk can be both bookshelf and standalone apps, in PDF and interactive formats. MoMag generates revenue from monthly fees, and Bookish from licence fees. Dropthing generates revenue from transaction fees. Currently, two logistics businesses, KWC Logistic and Niko’s, use the Dropthing service.

Disakul said that this year, the company targeted revenue of more than Bt10 million, up from Bt9 million in 2014.

“We have 14 people in our team, all in Khon Kaen province and nearby areas. Being [outside Bangkok] for a software business does not matter. It is good for us, since we have very low employee turnover,” Disakul said.

“Next year, we will have a new project that is expected to be able to scale up our business.”

Thailand’s first world-class fair for makers and innovators

Chevron Thailand Exploration and Production, the Ministry of Science and Technology’s National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) and maker groups in Thailand launched the first Bangkok Mini Maker Faire, a showcase of innovations and inventions that aims to inspire and foster a “maker” culture within Thai society. Bangkok Mini Maker Faire was open to the public free of charge on September 26-27, in front of Hard Rock Café, Siam Square.

Pairoj Kaweeyanun, Chevron Thailand president said, “The Bangkok Mini Maker Faire is part of the five-year ‘Enjoy Science’ program aimed to inspire the general public, including children and parents, to see the four STEM subjects as interesting and relevant in everyday life. Chevron and NSTDA both realize that in an era of digital economy and innovation, the country’s competitiveness relies greatly on the capability of the people to innovate, whether innovations are in the form of inventions, handicrafts, or technology-related entrepreneurship. Innovations should not be restricted within academic or specialist area. We believe that the maker movement is one of the fundamental components that can help leverage Thailand’s competitiveness. It is our goal to support and raise more awareness of the maker culture among Thai people and to inspire them to become a maker.”

Thaweesak Koanantakool, NSTDA president said, “Being a maker is far more than just a hobby. Their inventions can be the foundation of thriving businesses that are uniquely capable of tailoring their products to match the needs of each individual customer in a way that traditional mass production simply cannot compete. Therefore, it is important that we support the maker movement which can spark innovations and drive economic growth in the digital era – an age in which technology and innovation are always in demand. A strong maker culture can make significant and sustainable contributions to the nation’s scientific and technological competitiveness.”

Sharnon Tulabadi, CEO and founder of Gravitech Thai and Home of Maker who represents makers at the event said, “In Thailand, the maker movement continues to expand as seen by the increase in number of maker spaces, workshops and other activities in Bangkok and other provinces. Maker space like Home of Makers functions as a co-working space for makers to exchange knowledge and ideas and further improve their work. However, the maker concept is not yet well known among the public and we are glad that Chevron and NSTDA joined forces to create awareness of the maker culture through Bangkok Mini Maker Faire. At the fair, makers will have the opportunity to showcase their works and exchange knowledge and ideas with other makers while inspiring and sparking creativity for the public, further garnering attention for the maker culture. ”

“In fact, Thai people have always been makers in their own right. Local wisdom is a great example of how local people adapt things around them to use in their daily lives. We believe that if the maker culture becomes widely known and the public are introduced to maker’s technologies such as 3D printers or laser cutters, we will be seeing a lot more innovations by Thai people. This will help effectively and sustainably increase Thailand’s competitiveness in science and technology, which is exactly what Enjoy Science project is all about”, Pairoj added.

Bangkok Mini Maker Faire showcases creations from makers from across the country and offers a variety of workshops which include demonstrations on how to make a 3D printer from leftover materials, a robot contest for dummies or “Hebocon” as well as inspirational talks. Makers from across the country participated in the event namely Maker Zoo, Home of Maker, PINN Creative Space, Fab Café, TRIBES, Ne8T, Maker Asia, iNex, Chiang Mai Maker Club, Phuket Maker club and many more.

Chevron and NSTDA jointly announced the results of 3D printing contest Enjoy Science: Let’s Print the World and showcased the finalists’ works from the contest. Miss Sirilak Sangwarnworawut won the first prize in the student category with her 3D printed ‘artificial coral reef’ and Ms Saowakont Pummalee won the first prize in the general public category with her 3D printed ‘Tossakan’ . Each received a set of 3D printer & Scanner worth 100,000 baht and a round trip ticket to Maker Faire Berlin in October this year to be introduced to innovations created by world-class makers and to inspire them to apply their newfound experiences to the development of 3D printing in Thailand, as well as motivating the next generation of Thai innovators.

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