InTouch allots B200m a year for startups

InTouch allots B200m a year for startups

InTouch Holdings Plc is looking to invest 200 million baht a year in startups involved with 5G and advanced technology via its venture capital arm InVent as part of a move to explore more revenue from growing businesses.

Umawan Songsiri, manager for group investor relations at InTouch, said InVent invested in three startups in the first quarter, bringing its portfolio value to 1.2 billion baht, up from 1.05 billion at the end of last year.

"We will focus on investing in those associated with 5G tech, especially in telecom, media tech and digital groups," said Ms Umawan. "We pivoted towards emerging tech and 5G-based tech, such as cloud computing, cybersecurity and smart manufacturing."

The company will earmark 200 million baht per year for investment, she said.

InVent, in operation for eight years, has invested in 22 startups, including those InVent has monetised and exited. A total of 15 companies are now in its portfolio.

Two of the startups InVent invested in during the first quarter are cybersecurity service provider Datafarm and insurance tech provider Igloo.

Datafarm provides cybersecurity service for the Bank of Thailand and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Singapore-registered Igloo uses artificial intelligence tech and big data to provide insurance services. It focuses on insurance for mobile phone screens and electronic products as well as items delivered by e-commerce platforms.

The startup is operating in Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Australia.

"In the future, we aim to expand our investment in more countries, such as Indonesia, Japan and Israel," Ms Umawan said.

InTouch reported first-quarter profit of 2.74 billion baht, down 5.6% year-on-year and up 45% from the final quarter of last year.

InTouch is the major shareholder of telecom operator Advanced Info Service (AIS) and satellite service provider Thaicom.

InTouch gained a contributed profit of 2.74 billion baht from AIS and 82 million from Thaicom in the first quarter.

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