NIA focuses on regional deep-tech startup plan

NIA focuses on regional deep-tech startup plan

Mr Pun-arj (left) says the NIA is working with True Digital Park to make the Punnawithi area a cybertech district.
Mr Pun-arj (left) says the NIA is working with True Digital Park to make the Punnawithi area a cybertech district.

The National Innovation Agency (NIA) is gearing up for the development of deep-tech startups in regional areas, with the aim to groom 100 startups in this field over three years.

The "Deep-Tech Regionalisation" programme is meant to propel economic growth and create jobs in the future.

"Deep tech is the next phase of growth for Thailand's startup ecosystem because it draws support from large corporations and conglomerates in Thailand and entices investment from foreign venture capitalists," said Pun-arj Chairatana, executive director of the NIA.

The agency will work with universities and science parks countrywide to groom deep-tech startups under the Deep-Tech Regionalisation progamme, he said.

NIA has the Youth Startup Fund and Startup Thailand League programme, which are ready to support these deep-tech startups.

"We aim to have 100 deep-tech startups with intellectual property rights by 2023," said Mr Pun-arj.

The NIA defines deep-tech as including bio-based materials, energy, food, farming, astronomy, medical fields and genomics.

Over the past 10 months, deep-tech startups have been attractive to venture capital and corporate venture capital (CVC) firms.

In Thailand, more than 30 CVC firms have expressed interest in investing in deep tech, he said.

"Deep tech creates high-value employment and prepares the workforce for the future," said Mr Pun-arj.

"In Asean, venture capitalists are interested in investing in Bangkok, Singapore and Jakarta for deep tech and critical digital startups."

Meanwhile, NIA is also working with True Digital Park to make the Punnawithi area a cybertech district, which would serve as a digital hub and a one-stop service for local and overseas startups.

The area could also support startups in using deep tech for value-added services, said Mr Pun-arj.

True Digital Park was designed by True Group, which aims to make Thailand a global hub for digital innovation. The park offers services to 91 startups and 53 firms, which have a total of 4,151 employees from eight countries.

Over the next 10 years, True aims to help seven startups become unicorns -- meaning they are valued at over US$1 billion. These seven startups could be worth around 210 billion baht in total.

According to Mr Pun-arj, the cybertech district next year will be expanded to cover the southern Bangkok corridor, covering the Bang Na intersection, Udom Suk and Bang Chak.

In the post-pandemic era, the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions segment is expected to make use of deep tech, ranging from temperature sensors to virtual reality and data analytics, he said.



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