Venture capitalists target tech start-ups

M8VC Co, a new venture capital fund, has outlined plans to invest at least 300 million baht in innovative tech start-up companies next year.

From left: Sua Kanjanasakchai, Varut Bulakul, Krisd Aksornwong, Permsiri Tiyavutiroj, Shakrit Chanrungsakul and Ponthep Sethiwan, with Pawoot Pongvitayapanu on the screen.

The company was founded by Ponthep Sethiwan, Shakrit Chanrungsakul, Pawoot Pongvitayapanu, Kit Arunanondchai, Sua Kanjanasakchai, Varut Bulakul, Permsiri Tiyavutiroj and Krisd Aksornwong.

The partners are former pioneering tech entrepreneurs and financial advisers.

"We aim to be an engine to promote Thailand as an innovation hub in Southeast Asia," said Mr Ponthep.

He said Thai tech start-up firms have high business potential but lack financial support.

This year alone, foreign venture capital funds have acquired shares in Thai firms worth hundreds of millions of baht.

Mr Ponthep said M8VC has two types of investment policies: incubator and venture capital.

The incubator model is to support the development of early-stage start-up companies, with investment of 300,000 baht to 1 million baht. "We expect to have 3-5 incubator start-ups in 2013," Mr Ponthep said.

The venture capital model will make investments of at least 10 million baht each.

Mr Ponthep said the company would prefer to invest in Thai firms but would consider foreign start-ups with a presence in Thailand.

M8VC now has up to 30 foreign and Thai investors as well as venture capital firms in its investment network, mainly in Asia.

Mr Ponthep said the company is looking to invest in tech-related firms involved in science and information and communications technology.

He acknowledged that the venture capital business is considered to have high risks but high returns. The success rate of venture capital-backed investments averages 50-60%, while the rate for incubator investments is 30-50%.

The ultimate goal of a venture capital firm is to list its invested firms on the stock exchange and raise capital, he said.

About the author

Writer: Suchit Leesa-nguansuk
Position: Senior Reporter