- dtac accelerate is accepting applications for its sixth batch of startups.
- At least 70% of startup under dtac accelerate program received follow-on funding, versus a regional average of 20%.
- dtac accelerate also has deep ties with Google Launchpad and LINE, making it the only real accelerator in Thailand’s startup scene.
- dtac accelerate is now focused on driving Thai startups towards a global footprint
Ookbee is among the first to hop on the startup bandwagon in Thailand. It was set up in 2012 to provide an e-bookstore platform in Thailand. It has now become a leader in Southeast Asia in less than four years. It recently purchased Storylog, a dtac accelerate batch 3 alumni.
Wong Nai, the country’s leading restaurant review website, has 70% growth in revenue annually and aims to become a “Super Lifestyle Platform Provider”. It was incubated in dtac accelerate batch 1.
These startups reflect how fast Thai startups are growing. Sompoat Chansomboon, managing director of dtac accelerate, is the only Thai mentor on Google Launchpad. He spoke to us about the state of Thailand’s startup scene. Batch 6: Get it real!
“dtac accelerate’s sixth edition is under a “’et the facts talk, Get it Real’ banner. The point is that dtac accelerate is not just the number one accelerator house in Thailand, it’s the only one with real results,” said Mr. Sompoat.
dtac accelerate’s acceptance rate is about 2% or 12 selected teams from over 600 applicants per year. And the competition is likely to get more intense in the years to come. This means that it is required to ensure the position of the No.1 accelerator house in the country.
“A huge development from the applicants was their use of advanced technology, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, empowered across industries, such as agriculture, health and education,” he said.
“For instance, Ricult, the AgTech startup from batch 5, received investment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. And we’re finally getting startups in the health industry, such as Health at Home. This indicates a tipping point,” said Mr. Sompoat.
The common characteristics of a successful startup is what Mr. Sompoat calls the 3H : hustler, hacker and hipster. You need a team that’s strong on tech (hacking), business (hustling) and marketing (the hipster).
“What makes this year’s program even more exciting is the collaboration between dtac accelerate and global and local partners, such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, Line, PTT, Siriventures and Muang Thai life Insurance.”
Inside Google’s Headquarter
Mr.Sompoat is the one and only Thai mentor in Google’s Launchpad 2018. The initiative is a two-week program in San Francisco, letting about 30 later-stage startups from emerging markets in Latin America and Asia to be mentored and nurtured by over a hundred mentors from around the world.
“The gathering among mentors from around the globe is a precious opportunity, given us to share hands-on experience and knowledge in order to develop another level of startup know-how in the future,” said Mr. Sompoat.
Joining Google’s Launchpad Aceelerator program allows dtac accelerate to see a global view of startups’ sphere, which inspire it to apply international practice in Thailand, such as the objectives and key results (OKR) framework.
In search of unborn unicorns
Mr. Sompoat views that the Thai startup is growing fast. Startup investment grew up more than 100 times compared to the past 5 years with 100 million dollars in investment each year, reflecting a massive potential of Thai startups.
However, the figures are still far less than its peers, including Singapore and Indonesia, due to their better ecosystem – education, human resource, innovation and technology progression as well as private and government supports.
“dtac is proud of being a supportive engine of Thai startups as at least 70% of startup under dtac accelerate program entered to later stage of financing cycle, attracting investment from foreign venture capital funds.”
“We are on the path to driving Thai startups make a presence in the global stage,” said Mr.Sompoat.
“Take a look at the state of startup, 80% of startups failed. 10% represent the so-called ‘zombie,’ the companies that keep going after funding runs out but don’t grow. The only 0.04% of startups will achieve goal of becoming unicorn.”
“We pledge to take care of them (the selected startups) as part of family until they don’t need us. anymore It’s our responsibility as dtac accelerate” said Mr. Sompoat.