New VC funds to accelerate growth of startups
text size

New VC funds to accelerate growth of startups

Several new venture capital (VC) funds are expected to accelerate the growth of startups this year after activity slowed during the pandemic and "crypto winter" the past few years.

Among the new funds are the Finno Efra Fund worth 1.3 billion baht. The fund is slated to start operating in March in a partnership with EfraStructure and Krungsri Finnovate.

The former was founded by tech pioneer and angel investor Pawoot Pongvitayapanu to invest in startups, while the latter is an investment arm of Krungsri.

Another VC fund is expected to be set up by True Incube, a startup incubator under True Corporation.

Startups play a crucial role in driving innovation and stimulating Thailand's economy, said Mr Pawoot.

Mr Pawoot has invested in 48 startups. This year he switches his role from angel investor to invest via EfraStructure, aiming to increase the number of startups in the pre-series and series A funding rounds.

"Finno Efra will groom 10 startup teams for four months, with funds of US$200,000 to $2 million per startup," he said.

The new fund will focus on impactful businesses and digital transformation in fintech, edutech, healthtech, agritech and mobility tech.

In digital transformation it will focus on industrial tech, marketing tech, human resources tech, travel, e-commerce and lifestyle tech.

Sam Tansakul, managing director of Krungsri Finnovate, said the new fund focuses on investing in small startups, aiming to create sustainability and facilitate economic development.

Mr Pawoot said he is investing in a diverse startup portfolio to minimise risk and create synergy among startups, helping them to grow together.

He said the startups he has invested in over the past few years range from e-commerce, e-logistics, fintech and advertising to healthtech and games.

In 2023 his investment generated revenue 2.6 billion baht, involving 1,623 employees and 344 programmers.

"Our startup portfolio helped entrepreneurs generate sales of 82 billion baht, enabling them to export to more than 100 countries and employ 17,600 staff, help 300,000 patients and reduce travel costs by 1 billion baht as well as provide digital skills to 18,540 people," said Mr Pawoot.

He plans to have three startups in which he has invested launch initial public offerings in the near future. They are social listening platform Wisesight, construction platform Builk and telehealth platform Dietz.

"We saw that in the past few years there was a lack of new startups, particularly in the seed and pre-series A rounds," added Mr Pawoot.

Earlier Suphachai Chearavanont, chairman of True Corporation, told the Bangkok Post that True might use True Incube as a mechanism to establish a VC fund worth $200-300 million.

The company will also seek more strategic partnerships to increase the fund size to $500 million, which will make a much greater impact.

Areas of investment will cover the digital economy, quantum computing, robotics, artificial intelligence, electric vehicles and battery storage, green and alternative energy, nuclear microreactors, ageing and health tech with the ability to reduce PM2.5 pollution.

True Incube has invested $100 million in the past 7-8 years.

Jutamard Ngamwattana, head of True Incube, said the incubator believes it needs to look beyond Thailand to fulfill its goal of becoming the region’s top corporate VC outfit. Its focus is now outside Southeast Asia as it intends to pursue deep tech.

Do you like the content of this article?