Surge in startup funding led by e-commerce, marketplace
The total funding raised for startups in Thailand last year is estimated at US$106 million (3.33 billion baht), with e-commerce and marketplace the biggest sector, says Techsauce Media Co, a local tech content provider.
Total startup funding raised from venture capital last year grew by 22.7% from $86 million in 2016.
Those funds were raised from venture capital, not initial coin offerings (ICOs), said Oranuch Lerdsuwankij, Techsauce Media's chief executive and co-founder.
Among the top five categories, e-commerce and marketplace is the biggest sector, in which 27 startups received funds last year, followed by fintech (12), logistics (11), payment (11) and food and restaurants (nine).
Those nine food and restaurant startups are food delivery service providers, Ms Oranuch said.
Apart from e-commerce, fintech and logistics, there will be more extensive use of technology in other industries, particularly in the food and agriculture sector, where Thailand plays a crucial role on the global stage, she said.
"There will be more food tech startups and food biotech startups in the ecosystem," Ms Oranuch said, adding that a huge chunk of the Thai population works in the sector.
Food and agriculture technology will make radical changes by adding more value to commodity products, she said. The health and wellness and energy sectors should also be empowered by tech.
The startup community has evolved with the help of corporate venture capital (CVC), especially from the telecom and financial sectors.
This year, more CVC is expected from the real sector, including real estate, energy, health and food.
Ms Oranuch said the key issues startups should be concerned with this year are massive funding from several giant Chinese companies, including Alibaba, Tencent and JD.Com, which will invest through mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures; blockchain technology, which made its presence felt in the banking and financial sector last year and will hit others industries this year; and ICOs, which will serve as a double-edged sword in terms of having both positive and negative characteristics.
"We will see more organisations in the real sector introduce the new position, chief disruption officer, underlining the growing importance of tech startups," she said.
Meanwhile, Techsauce will hold its third annual international technology conference June 22-23.
The event is touted as Southeast Asia's biggest tech conference, aimed at connecting tech ecosystems in the region with a range of global players.