Startups have become one of the most lucrative and fastest growing areas of the business world globally. Walking hand in hand with a myriad of entrepreneurs; many of which have started their career with minimal experience and capital, startups have seen unrequited growth through Southeast Asian nations, in particular, Thailand.
Thailand has its eyes set on competing with booming startup brother, Singapore and is anticipated to take the market by storm over the coming years as the nation offers compelling tax incentives for international investment. Although Thailand still faces challenges in certain key areas, when looking to sustain a viable startup ecosystem, many successful start-up’s and founders have begun to emerge out of the bustling Southeast Asian nation.
Let’s take a look at five of the leaders and their subsequent initiatives which are making waves in the Thailand startup scene.
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Sarun Pinyarat: Fungjai
By name, by nature, Fungjai puts the “fun” into music streaming, with a focus on supporting up-and-coming musicians in the Thai music scene. In a music world that’s inundated by the likes of streaming giant Spotify, Fungjai founder, Pinyarat, realises the struggles that musicians experience when they are just starting. These challenges are reflective of a music industry that is constantly changing shape and steering away from radio and CD sales.
So how does Fungjai fare against other music streaming giants? Pinyarat himself admits that money is a challenge but the startup was a project that was driven entirely by passion. Fungjai has a distinct point of difference from the industry heavyweights in that the service is about creating a community, with concerts and seminars held specifically for Fungjai users.
Anchana Vallipakorn: Baania
Baania is a Bangkok-based real estate database, which addresses consumer demands in house buying and provides businesses in the property sector key investment insights. In the face of a real estate ‘fever’ which has seen levels of local and foreign investment in Southeast Asia’s real estate market skyrocket over recent years, Baania is essentially a one-stop-data hub for property information.
With a database outlining property projects throughout the nation, as well as boasting over 4 million active users, this start-up acts as a hub for consumer behaviour analytics and is seeing no sign of slowing their growth. Many industry leaders are dubbing Baania as the ‘upcoming leader’ in the Thai property sector. Founder Anchillia Vallipakorn confirmed in May this year that the PropTech firm has its sights set on expanding into Cambodia, Myanmar, and Laos, projecting that their database will grow to over 7 million users by the close of 2019.
Patai Padungtin: BUILK
When thinking about unconventional Thai tech start-ups, Patai Padungtin and BUILK springs to mind. After graduating as a civil engineer in 1997, Patai Padungtin put his knowledge to use by founding BUILK in 2005, a selection of online management tools which aid construction businesses and their staff to manage work quality, costs, and time.
Like the majority of successful startups, BUILK looks to provide solutions to recurring problems, in this case; to aid in eliminating wariness and risk in the construction sector. The result is that the cloud-based platform has created an ecosystem of trusted industry professionals which can connect with other suppliers and property owners to suit their needs.
Thanawat Malabuppha, Wirod Supadul, Vachara Nivataphand: Priceza
Thanawat Malabuppha is the acting CEO and one-third of the co-founding party of Priceza, a Southeast Asian-based online shopping search engine, launched in January 2010.
Currently operating in six different Southeast Asian nations, Priceza offers shopping solutions through their platform, which helps shoppers make decisions, access information about online stores, and enables participating merchants to connect with the online shopping community. As of 2015, the six websites brought in a monthly combined traffic of over 9 million unique visitors, and in 2017 the group extended their shopping offering to financial services such as credit card and personal loan applications.
The Priceza Group works directly with merchants and businesses offering product listings, advertising options to build brand awareness, and content marketing solutions.
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Kamonwan Achjanis: BestKru
Another classic example of connecting people to their required services with ease, BestKru tackles this in the realm of education. The online platform is conceptually simple; rather than actively scouring the internet for a tutor in Thailand, simply fill out the form with your requirements and the BestKru team will get back to you with the selection of tutors for your learning needs–which they guarantee will be ready to start immediately.
BestKru operates on the premise of saving teachers and students time and money by providing a transparent marketplace (all prices are shown upfront), anonymity prior to an agreement between the two parties, and will ensure that they live in the same area to save money on transportation costs. This online marketplace has seen over 38,000 students matched with teachers since the startup was launched in 2014.