Priceza has compiled over 10 million products online to help users compare prices in seconds. (Photo by Ratchanee Sriwattanachai)
Thailand’s start-up ecosystem of 2017 continues to grow, as more established companies begin to scale up in the wake of early funding rounds. Since 2012, the country has experienced a more than 2,000% increase in fully funded start-ups.
Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and big data are key technologies adopted by tech start-ups for developing their applications. In 2017, blockchain, behaviour analytics, cloud adoption and consumer mobile payments are the top technological trend affecting every sector, especially financial and marketing.
In the first half of 2017, Thailand saw at least a US$80 million (2.6 billion baht) investment in local tech start-ups — compared with $86 million for the entirety of last year — with online payment platforms the biggest winner.
Here are the top ten Thai start-ups that have been proven successful this year.
Omise is one of Thailand’s most successful online payment start-ups, and this year secured $25 million through an initial coin offering (ICO), which is a type of kick-starter crowdfunding campaign increasingly used by blockchain teams to fund the development and scaling of decentralised projects.
Omise claims to be an expert in online payment and blockchain technology, and its technology has been adopted by Krungsri Finnovate, a subsidiary of Krungsri (Bank of Ayudhya) and member of the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, which invested in Omise. The synergy between Omise and Krungsri represents another solid step in Omise’s journey to build on its foundation of payment services and underpin its base not only in Thailand but in other countries throughout the region.
Founded in 2012 by Amarit and his brother Charle Charoenphan as a place where people with great ideas can collaborate, Hubba is Thailand’s first co-working space and has become a tech ecosystem builder with three locations across Bangkok and more than 20,000 engaged members and alumni.
Hubba has become the newest member of the Google for Entrepreneurs partner network. As of today, the community of Hubba has access to more than 25 member co-working spaces and Google’s six campuses. Hubba members will also have opportunities to participate in programmes Google runs for start-ups, such as Google Demo Day and the Google for Entrepreneurs Exchange.
Priceza is a shopping search engine and price comparison platform. The application has complied over 10 million products online to help users compare prices in seconds. Positioning itself as a place for buyers to find hot promotions and best deals quickly, Priceza also helps sellers promote their stores. Sellers can see popular products and prices from other merchants.
Last year, Priceza secured an undisclosed amount of Series B funding from German giant Hubert Burda Media Group, helping foster the company’s growth in Southeast Asia.
Priceza is currently available in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore. Up to 65% of its customers are between the ages of 18 and 34.
This payment service provider found an opportunity amid growing social media, introducing social commerce payments for Facebook.
The two companies have partnered in developing the payment system, which integrates Facebook Messenger. Dubbed Qwik, it will enable online merchants with Facebook pages to receive payment from buyers via Facebook Messenger.
Thailand has 48 million Facebook users and around 300,000 Facebook pages for online shops. Thailand was chosen as the one country in which to launch the platform.
Qwik had a pilot programme last year, and now there 20,000 Facebook pages that are Qwik customers.
The Seekster app was created for those looking for reliable maids or technicians. The on-demand cleaning, repair and maintenance service marketplace enables customers to find reliable service providers, tracking their backgrounds and helping customers hire trusted professionals for all their service needs.
Seekster has curated their service providers and secured their information. The system was designed as a crowdsourcing model, with jobs distributed and users serviced as long as the service provider is present in their area.
Operating since January 2016, Seekster is responsible for more than 48,000 completed jobs, and has serviced over 12,000 households with more than 3,000 verified providers.
Builk is Asia’a first free online web-based application for the construction business with a concept to digitise the construction industry.
Builk is a professional social network connecting construction professionals through their business activities, such as budgeting, job costing, purchasing, invoicing and site collaboration.
Today, there are more than 18,000 small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in five countries within Southeast Asia that have used the Builk system. The SEA countries are Thailand, Indonesia, Lao, Myanmar and Cambodia.
Last year, Builk helped construction businesses control projects worth over $800 million across Southeast Asia. Simple workflow designed for construction business management can save up to 10% in time and costs.
PillPocket is an integrated solution providing personal assistance from pharmacists for patients with high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and diabetes. The mobile app features a chatbot connected to pharmacist services for follow-up care, medication refills and home delivery, and free patient care management. It’s helpful for patients in remote areas, where healthcare providers are limited and transport difficult.
The application has a medication reminder function that triggers alerts via chat, and a component that helps users track their general health.
Founded by engineers and software developers, PillPocket won the Grants4App Singapore Open Innovation Challenge, a web-based crowdsourcing initiative that calls for innovative health-tech solutions to improve medication adherence in elderly people with chronic diseases across Asia Pacific.
The first online travelling platform matches people looking for a local experience in Thailand with experts who tailor their trips. It connects local tour guides who curate their own trips with tourists who want an authentic experience. The website enables travellers to set their own price. Every trip is created on a price-per-person basis, adjustable according to the number of travellers.
This year, TakeMeTour received the 2017 Asia Pacific ICT Alliance (Apicta) Award in the tourism & hospitality category.
ConvoLab, a start-up focusing on an AI-powered chatbot, helps businesses improve communication with their customers through AI technology.
ConvoLab developed a tool that allows the chatbots to quickly retrieve information so it can answer customers’ questions immediately.
The chatbots are designed to work well with human staff. They automatically notify the administrator and step aside once human staff take over the chat. With uniquely natural comprehension, chatbots can handle more than 50 languages. As chatbot technology improves, businesses can scale back on their customer support staff, because one chatbot can support millions of users — unlike real human staff.
Zanroo was officially founded in 2013 with proprietary technology invented in 2008. First it focused on keywords and trends to build business insight, and now it’s evolved into a total web-based social intelligence solution that integrates listening, monitoring, engagement and customer service.
With a strong competence in big data analytics, Zanroo’s software enables real time performance and data tracking, complete with analyses and trends to help brands maximise the benefits of actionable insights in their marketing moves, crisis prevention and management. Within four years, the company has grown exponentially, having built a multi-industry client base of more than 300 brands in banking, automotive, telecom, e-commerce, aviation and consumer goods.
Today, Zanroo is active in 15 markets. It has recorded year-on-year growth from 200-400%, and is the first company in this field to have been awarded an ISO27001 certification for customer data protection.
The start-up expects to be the first Thai unicorn by 2019, when it will have presence in 40 global markets and obtain $30 million in revenue.