Project targets startup funding
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Project targets startup funding

The Thai startup community has launched the "Thailand Accelerator" project, aimed at bringing more qualitative talent startups to scale and fostering growth in the startup ecosystem. The project targets firms from seed to the pre-Series A funding round.

At least US$5 million is expected to be allocated for investments in 10 startups.

Oranuch Lerdsuwankij, founder and chief executive of Techsauce Media, a key partner in the project, said Thailand has seen 36 deals worth $530 million for startup investments this year. The number of deals has fallen by half from last year.

The investment sum and number of deals continued to be low in 2022, she said. The slowdown has been evident over the past three years.

To increase the number of startups in Thailand, she said her company has joined hands with 25 partners to embark on the Thailand Accelerator project, targeting startups in Thailand and Asean.

Charle Charoenphan, co-founder and head of the Thailand Accelerator project, pointed out that the country still has the potential to attract corporate venture capital, venture capital funds, private equity and angel investors.

"Many Thai startups can survive by themselves and their values are still lower than peers in Indonesia and Vietnam. This makes the country more attractive in the eyes of investors," said Mr Charle.

There are still fewer than 10 private accelerator programmes helping to facilitate early-stage growth.

The Thailand Accelerator project can help to increase the number of talent startups and power the country's startup ecosystem.

According to a study by Startup Blink, Thailand is fourth in Asean for startup ecosystems, and 99th in the world.

"We should be in the top 20 globally if we can rebuild the ecosystem," said Mr Charle.

The programme expects to attract 500 applicants, of which 10 will be selected.

The application runs until the end of next month. The 10 qualified startups will be able to participate in the intensive learning and capability building programme over the course of three months, starting in February next year, before pitching to investors in May.

"We are targeting startups which have an impact in tech, climate tech, software as a service, and artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies," Mr Charle said.

Sarun Sutuntivorakoon, president of the Thai Venture Capital Association, said the global recession has had an impact on the funding for startups. There is a Series A funding crunch in Thailand and a Series C funding crunch globally, he said.

Thailand's economy is expected to fare better next year, which would make investors look for startups to invest in, Mr Sarun said.

Pariwat Wongsamran, director for entrepreneurs and enterprise at the National Innovation Agency, also threw his support behind the Thailand Accelerator project, saying it could potentially boost the startup ecosystem.

He said it was important to connect startups with research institutes as Thailand was moving towards the bio-, circular and green economic model, deep tech, agriculture, food and medical services.

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