The year 2020 saw a great deal of adaptation and change, with the COVID-19 health crisis presenting an entirely new set of difficulties and problems. It had a significant impact on how people lived their lives, interacted with one another, and made commercial investments. In the face of this transformation, emerging Thai startups continue to expand rapidly as demand for innovative technology increases due to the worldwide lockdowns implemented to combat the pandemic.
Here are five promising Thai tech startups 2023 is likely to be a bumper year as they capitalise on the growth they are already experiencing.
Thailand’s leading e-commerce site for beauty products, Konvy, was created in 2012 and currently carries over 1,000 international and domestic beauty brands, including skincare, makeup, and perfumes, among other categories. By capitalising on two important customer behaviours that have steadily evolved over the last decade, Konvy has been crucial in unlocking higher value for both local and international beauty brands. These are the increased spending on beauty products in the country and the trend of shopping online, particularly through social media channels, as the youthful population increase their hours spent online.
The startup has acquired USD 10 million in a Series A fundraising round from Insignia Ventures Partners, marking the Singaporean venture capital (VC) firm’s first investment in a Thai company. Konvy intends to utilise the institutional venture capital injection to accelerate the expansion of its omnichannel and international distribution of health and beauty goods and increase team hiring.
Rental management software, RentSpree, helps connect renters, real estate agents, and landlords to simplify the entire rental process, from listing to lease. It aspires to become Thailand’s first property technology unicorn, an unlisted firm with a market capitalisation of over USD 1 billion through its growth in the United States.
It secured USD 17.3 million in Series B funding led by US-based fintech venture capital firm Green Visor Capital in August 2022. Rally Ventures, the California Association of Realtors, Venture MLS, and 645 Ventures also participated in the funding round, and the startup has also recently locked in partnerships with significant players such as SentriLock, Form Simplicity, and the MIAMI Association of REALTORS.
Thai agritech startup, Freshket provides consumers, hotels, and culinary businesses with a variety of locally sourced agricultural products, with 30% of Freshket’s products currently sourced directly from farmers.
In May 2022, it secured USD 23.5 million in Series B funding, led by PTT Oil and Retail Business (PTTOR), a subsidiary of state-owned oil and gas firm PTT. Other investors included Openspace Ventures, Volta Circle, and Betagro Holding. The new funds will help strengthen Freshket’s operations by developing supply chain technology and creating demand forecasting technology to help reduce food waste. The startup plans to grow beyond its existing operations in Huahin, Bangkok, and their surrounding areas over the next one to two years, with an eye on Pattaya, Phuket, and southern Thailand.
The Thailand-based fintech startup, Ascend Money, is behind TrueMoney, an eWallet service that operates as a payment channel for B2B, including large brands, local SME owners, and street market vendors. The company has managed to attain a total of 50 million users through TrueMoney and other channels.
The startup recently revealed that it raised USD 150 million in Series C funding, increasing the company’s valuation to USD 1.5 billion. The round was led by the principal stakeholder of Ascend Money, Charoen Pokphand Group, with participation from Bow Wave Capital Management and returning investor, Ant Group. Ascend Money will use the funds to expand its e-wallet application, TrueMoney Wallet, and its digital financial services across Southeast Asia.
Another Thailand-based fintech startup, Omise, facilitates online payments in Thailand, Japan, and Indonesia and is similar to global leader Stripe. It recently rebranded as Opn Payments and is striving to become Asia’s go-to, seamless, borderless payment system.
Since 2015, the startup has disclosed more than USD 45 million in funding from investors, including a staged token sale to raise funds for the development of Omise Go. Its products allow users to share funds over the network without a bank account or cross-border fees. In addition to peer-to-peer payments, the company is signing up retail partners to extend the system’s value to purchases and is partnering with other payment players such as AliPay+ and PayNow.
Despite other businesses experiencing enormous losses, these emerging Thai startups have experienced tremendous development in recent years and are maintaining momentum in the face of the looming global recession. For these five promising Thai tech startups, 2023 should prove that there still is a growing demand for new businesses. The pandemic has played a significant role in their rapid growth, and the changes in how people in Thailand shop and conduct business inspired by COVID-19 should continue to help them flourish.