Thailand’s startup media outlet Techsauce published two detailed reports this month; Investor Guide Q1 2017: Thailand Tech Startup Report and its annual Southeast Asia’s Top 75 Fintech Startups Report. What were the key takeaways to know about Thailand’s startup ecosystem and Southeast Asia’s tech investment landscape? We take a look at both reports:

How did Thailand startups do in terms of funding?

An introduction to Thailand

Total funding figure in Thailand is getting bigger – no less than $85.2 million as seen in the chart below. The exact number can’t be pinpointed as there were several undisclosed Series B investments.

Notable funding mentions: 

  • E-book platform Ookbee raised $19 million from Chinese giant Tencent to create a digital content ecosystem in Thailand
  • Fintech startup Omise raised $17.5 million led by Japanese firm SBI Investment
  • Ecommerce marketplace Orami (now Moxy) raised $15 million from Facebook’s Eduardo Saverin B Capital
  • 3 food tech deals were made in 2016. At the beginning of 2017, B2B food supplier platform Freshket has raised an undisclosed six digit funding round
  • Corporate Venture Capital was a trend in 2016 that saw numerous corporations shift focus to technology and innovation as both direct investors and limited partners. This trend is expected to continue well into 2017 with the emergence of property tech in Thailand, pioneered by real estate giant Sansiri

In the graph below, you can see that the number of funded startups has shot from 3 to 75 in only four years. The number of active angel investors and the number of VCs have also grown in tandem.

Data from the report also shows that ecommerce still remains the top category for investors and increased steadily on a year-to-year basis. The second category is logistics with funding raised by aCommerce, Giztix and more.


Only two months into 2017, and already eight startups have already raised funding this year.

The diversity of Thai startups attracting investors show that there is more room for verticals such as education tech (edtech) and travel tech.

The report also predicts that by Q2 2017, there should be more funding given to a variety of startups in different sectors and investment opportunities in Thailand’s ecommerce landscape.

Southeast Asia’s top fintech trends

  • While core technologies such as blockchain and AI have gotten a lot of publicity, startups that can realistically develop it or utilize it are still limited but extremely attractive to investors
  • Each country in this report is making moves to launch regulatory fintech sandboxes to test out financial technology framework – Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam.
  • Many fintech firms in the region have mandates to work with banks and regulators, which means expanding beyond their domestic market may be a challenge
  • The entry of Alibaba’s financial arm, Ant Financial, into the region has caused startups that offer similar services to quickly adapt or risk getting squeezed out

Fintech players by country

The image above shows that Singapore is well ahead of other countries in terms of number of fintech companies with 31 players, followed by Thailand with 14 players. More doesn’t necessarily mean better, it will be time until one emerges.

With each country taking initiative to become less cash dependent, for example, Thailand government’s PromptPay initiative, this will be a continued trend into Q2 of 2017.

Insurance technology is still a minority but with Thailand’s Asia Insurance introducing online insurance packages and companies such as AXA and FWD offering online insurance in Singapore, the space is growing.

Financial technology in Southeast Asia is still growing and must in a region where only 27% of the population has a bank account. That leaves around 438 million people unbanked and endless opportunities for fintech firms to bridge the gap that traditional financial institutions are struggling to fill.

2017 is already shaping up to be another year of startup growth in Thailand but investors will be more strategic with their money. As fintech matures, it can only nurture the growth of online transactions.

The original reports from Techsauce can be found here and here.

Kick start your Monday morning with these headlines you should know.

1. Xiaomi begins manufacturing in Indonesia

Amid a global decline in sales, Xiaomi has seen recent success in India and it is determined to remain a key player in Indonesia’s smartphone market, which remains one of the largest in the world.

Since January, foreign smartphone makers must prove that 4G LTE phones sold in Indonesia are made up of least 30% “local content.” Assembly, packaging, design, and even software and R&D investments factor into that number.

Read the rest of the story here.


2. Thailand’s T2P wants to improve mobile payments in Burma

Earlier this week, T2P signed a joint venture deal with City Mart Holdings Co.,Ltd, a leading Myanmar retail chain with over 200 outlets across the nation, which includes fast food restaurants, bookstores and supermarkets. The joint venture will see T2P integrate its suite of fintech offerings including its payment platform, loyalty and e-gift platforms, as well as e-wallets.

Fact of the day: mobile penetration in Myanmar has reached 90%. 80% of users own smartphones.

Read the rest of the story here.


3. More pure-play retailers go offline: Hong Kong’s SmartBuyGlasses launches store

The brand has been purely online for 10 years prior to the launch in Kennedy Town.

Co-founder David Menning said, “the decision to branch out into brick-and-mortar stores reflects the wider industry omnichannel trend, which involves brands and businesses linking their online and offline strategies in order to provide a truly comprehensive customer experience across all touch points.”

Read the rest of the story here.


For more on the omnichannel retail strategy, check out Pomelo co-founder’s David Jou’s insights here.

Here’s what you should know.

1. Chinese fintech startup Wecash enter Indonesia through joint venture

What: Beijing based fintech startup that uses big data to assess various credit-based metrics will enter Indonesia through a joint venture with two Indonesian partners, PT Kresna Usaha Kreatif and PT JAS Kapital.

Goal: To be a go-to place for SME loans. Wecash has built a tool to help the ‘missing middle’ evaluate consumer credit, co-underwrite consumer loans and detect fraud.

Why?: As Indonesia’s middle class continues to grow, the existing methods of credit checking will not scale, and a data driven approach is needed to help the underbanked apply for loans.


2. Indonesian mall integrates tech in the shopping experience

Supermal Karawaci, one of the largest mall entertainment center in Western Jakarta, has launched an interactive mobile application that would allow retailers to offer personalized content.

How? The app is integrated with Supermal Karawaci’s mobile apps and touchpoints. Using location and contextual data, retailers would be able to offer individualized content such as vouchers, special offers, event alerts and store information.

Read the rest of the story here.


3. Silicon Valley is no longer ruling the startup game

“The day of America as the single IT leader is over,” writes founding partner Takeshi Ebihara of Rebright Partners on his blog. Takeshi believes the US$37 billion pumped into Chinese startups in the first half of 2016 alone shows China is now on par with Silicon Valley.

Unicorn distribution and the amount of money spent on research and development are also shifting to Asia. “China is probably going to be the biggest winner the human race has ever seen,” explains Keith Teare, co-founder of TechCrunch.

Read the rest of the story here.

Here’s what you need to know.

1. On demand startup Lalamove gets $30M for expansion to 100 cities

Hong Kong based Lalamove announced it has secured $30 million from investors. Xianghe Capital, a relatively new firm, led the round, while Blackhole Capital and previous investors MindWorks Ventures and Crystal Stream contributed. Now active in 40 cities in mainland China, plus Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore, Bangkok, and Manila, Lalamove wants to be in 100 cities by the end of the year.

Read the rest of the story here.


2. Amazon Go: Open for business to employees only 

Image credit: Taylor Anderson linkedin

There are five ways that Amazon will disrupt a typical American neighborhood before Amazon Go becomes readily available for the public. This includes the digitization of home services and voice enabled digital commerce.

In other news, Amazon Go may open in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.

Read the rest of the story here.


3. Indonesia’s Tokopedia will explore more fintech services

In the past one year Tokopedia has been aggressively launching new features starting from payment channels to services such as mobile phone and home electricity credits purchase

Throughout 2017, Tokopedia still aims to present more new payments channels to ease transaction for every Indonesian. The company will also open access to more financial services such as loans, insurance, savings, and investment for users in different ends of the country.

Read the rest of the story here.


Here’s what you need to know today.

1. After the $4.8 billion Verizon deal, the remains of Yahoo will rename itself ‘Altaba’

Basically, Verizon is paying $4.8 billion solely for Yahoo’s core internet business, leaving behind Yahoo’s 15% of Chinese retail giant Alibaba and a part of Yahoo Japan, which is a joint venture with Softbank. Those assets will continue to exist in a separate company that will now operate under the catchy Altaba name.

Yahoo’s name change represents a sad ending to one of the most familiar names on the internet.

Confused? Here’s what’s happening: Altaba will still be Yahoo. It will be a zombie company comprising of a bunch of assets and few, if any, tasks. (via Marketwatch). It has also been announced that CEO Marissa Mayer is resigning from Yahoo’s board of directors.

What to think about: What could Yahoo’s fate spell for old school portal businesses like Sanook in Thailand?

Read the rest of the story here.


2. In other news, Jack Ma has met with The Donald

The meeting comes as a bit of a surprise because Donald Trump has been pretty blustery when it comes to criticizing China and Chinese companies. On his campaign website, he called on the US to go after Chinese companies for IP violations.

The pair reportedly discussed Alibaba’s plans to bring more jobs to the United States.

Surprising? Yes. But then again, you never really know what to expect when Donald Trump is involved.

Read the rest of the story here.


3. New $1.5b fund fuels Asia’s fintech boom

Startups working on new financial products, a sector called fintech, now have an extra US$1.45 billion on their side after China last week launched the Asia Fintech FOF.

The new Asia Fintech FOF will pour its riches into funds looking at startups working on mobile payments, blockchain technology, artificial intelligence, wealth management, and consumer finance. The Asian fund could benefit Southeast Asia’s fintech startups.

Read the rest of the story here.

Before you start your Wednesday, check out these ecommerce headlines.

1. Subscription ecommerce startup Rockets of Awesome raised $12.5 million

Although a Western startup, Rockets of Awesome showcases the rising popularity of subscription ecommerce models. Users can sign up for the services, which survey them about their likes, dislikes, preferred brands and price points, then they begin receiving pre-scheduled or on-demand deliveries of clothes that they can either keep or return. The startup is geared towards kids, and sends parents seasonal items of clothing.

The company makes its own apparel, hereby cutting out the middle man and producing in-house.

Read the rest of the story here.


2. Thailand’s Bank of Ayudhya mulls more fintech investments

Bank of Ayudhya (BAY) and its financial technology venture arm are looking to directly invest in three companies in order to keep the bank’s competitive edge. Krungsri Finnovate is eyeing two payment fintech firms and another that uses artificial intelligence, said Thakorn Piyaphan, head of digital banking and innovation and head of Krungsri Consumer Group.

Read the rest of the story here.


3. Ecommerce’s demand for Chinese postal services

According to China’s State Post Bureau, online purchases generate more than 21 billion of the 30 billion packages delivered this past year in the country. The year before saw 20 billion total packages, including both ecommerce and other parcels. And as Alibaba and are gaining international appeal, more shipments are going and coming overseas.

Nearly 30 percent of the total are packages being shipped from the United States.

Read the rest of the story here.


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