- dtac accelerate points out that 90% of Thai startups get caught in Series A round of funding.
- The A Academy program is launched to help Thai startups get closer to the VCs.
- Improving quality of life for Thai people by connecting technologies from startups to create the 5G ecosystem.
February 20, 2019 – dtac accelerate introduces the batch 7 with a new program, A Academy, for startups that receive Series A round of funding by venture capital and corporate venture capital firms between 1 – 15 million USD or 33 – 495 million THB. The program helps create opportunities for Thai startups, that are struck with Series A bottleneck, to grow by getting closer to the funding sources in Asia and worldwide.
Ms. Alexandra Reich, Chief Executive Officer, Total Access Communication PLC. or dtac, said “dtac’s greater ambition is to go beyond connectivity and build strong industry ecosystems that can support 5G sustainably. dtac accelerate is key to this mission, as startups constitute critical building blocks to the industry verticals we are invested in, such as smart farming and smart vehicles. dtac accelerate also supports our internal transformation very directly, providing mentorship for our employees to embrace more agile ways of work.”
Make Thai startup a unicorn
Presently, dtac accelerate’s portfolio consists of 6 startups in Series A round and 23 startups with seed funding that is in between 20,000 – 50,0000 USD or 600,000 – 1.5 million THB. They still cannot raise to the Series A round. Therefore, the A Academy will help these startups reach the Series A round of financing by focusing on preparation for mega-funding round, connection with customers, and adaptation of advanced technologies, such as machine learning and AI, to the business. In this program, the leading VCs of Asia, for examples, 500 Tuktuks, Golden Gate Ventures, Line Ventures, KK fund, and Monk’s Hill Ventures, are invited to share their knowledge about fundraising, financial management, and other related techniques. With the collaboration with Google Launchpad Accelerator, the program gets Google’s executive workshop called “Leaders Lab”, which is one of the best executive workshops for technology-related business, to train the attending startups, along with experts in Machine Learning and AI from Amazon Web Service and Google Cloud.
The A Academy program tends to boost up the startup company values to 100 million USD. The program is a part of dtac accelerate to make Thai startup become a unicorn. The goal of dtac accelerate batch 7 is to look for businesses that adopt technologies to develop solutions for a variety of industries, such as healthcare, agriculture, real estate, energy, e-commerce, tourism, insurance, etc.
The investment in Thai startups falls for the first time
Mr. Sompoat Chansomboon, Managing Director of dtac accelerate, stated that less than 10% of total Thai startups have steadily received funding from Seed to Series A round, which certainly is a very small number. Thus, dtac accelerate has helped unlock the potential of Thai startups to secure the funding in Series A round, so that they can grow their business and will not become zombies. Twenty-five percent of dtac accelerate startups receive Seed to Series A round of funding, compared to the national average of 10%. dtac accelerate wants to increase this figure of investment in Thai startups.
According to Techsauce Startup Report 2018, the investment in Thai startups had been constantly rising since 2015 until 2018, when the funding was down to 61 million USD from 105 million USD in 2017. There were no big deals worth over 50 million THB in the previous year.
Three main reasons for not having immense investments on Thai startups:
- Investors have found other countries in Southeast Asia more attractive than Thailand. For example, they invest in Vietnam since Vietnamese people possess more technological capabilities than Thai people do, resulting in 92 financing deals with the total valuation of 890 million US dollars.
- Intense competition from the super app platforms, which cover all services for people’s daily life, forces startups in small and medium-sized businesses to step aside as they cannot compete with these super applications, e.g., Line and Grab. The super application can easily find partners or engage in merger and acquisition to create ecosystem and offer new services that address customers ‘needs by just one application, such as delivery service, food delivery, financial service, etc.
- The customer acquisition cost (CAC) has continuously rising. Many startup businesses have started to change from B2C (Business to Consumer), selling products or services directly to individual customers, to B2B (Business to Business), selling products or services to corporate customers or between businesses, because they can generate greater revenues. However, the effective B2B that is a repeatable and scalable business model is very difficult to achieve.
In 2018, there were 34 Thai startups secured 61 million US dollars in investment. Seven of them are startups in dtac accelerate program with the total funding of 11 million US dollars or 17% of the total investment in Thailand in the previous year. The successful Thai startups are Fastwork, which received the highest valuation of investment from Series A round of funding and Ricult, which secured the funding in the Seed stage, the highest fundraising deals among agricultural tech startups in Southeast Asia. Currently, dtac accelerate has a total of 46 startups in the program with a combined valuation of over 5.1 billion baht and the success rate of 70% of its startups receiving follow-on funding that is worth total of 870 million baht.
dtac accelerate introduces 2 programs to create Thai startups and Series A round startups
dtac Accelerate batch 7 offers 2 courses as follows:
- Incubator program for rookie startups consists of: 1. Incubator Track for startups who have ideas but have not started running the business; and 2. Accelerator Track for startups who want to grow their businesses rapidly.
The A Academy program for startups of the dtac accelerate family, who receive Series A round of funding with Google, 500 startups, and leading VCs in Asia. The program helps startups get $100 million US dollars fundraising and push them to become the first Thai Unicorn.