Siri Ventures plans to incubate proptech
Siri Ventures Co, the technology investment arm of SET-listed developer Sansiri Plc, plans to spend 1.5 billion baht over 2018-20 on property technology (proptech) to support the parent firm's residential development business.
Jirapat Janjerdsak, chief technology officer, said the investment will be in Thai and overseas startups with a focus on technology, in line with Sansiri's core business.
"We are a cost centre, seeking technologies and innovations that look promising for investment," he said. "These technologies should increase Sansiri's efficiency and also completely facilitate customers' living experiences."
Siri Ventures will invest and hold 10-25% stake in each tech startup as this proportion is suitable to allow startups to freely innovate, he said. Siri Ventures will also encourage startups to run their own business and sell products to other developers.
Since establishment last year, Siri Ventures has spent 40-50 million baht in four startups -- smart indoor farm Farmshelf, home automation software developer Appysphere, Thai voice artificial intelligence developer Onionshack and Techmatics, the developer of the Sandee delivery robot.
"We have two Sandee robots at two condominium projects and will install it at new condo projects. It will be developed to police the project site and monitor intruders," he added.
Siri Ventures is looking for four fields of technology to invest in -- property, living, health and wellness, and construction technology.
"We are in talks with more than 10 Thai and overseas startups. Most of them develop living technology such as renewable energy and smart home automation," he said.
A few overseas startups develop a construction technology by combining augmented reality and virtual reality with building information modelling to help improve construction speed and quality.
Health and wellness technology will focus on ageing. Sansiri is searching for technologies that can connect the lifestyles of three generations.
"Proptech to create online agents is the most difficult to look for as the technology is specific to each location. For example, in Thailand, property transactions do not need brokers as there are no law requiring them, unlike in the US or Singapore, so we cannot apply overseas technology directly to the Thai market."
Siri Ventures' technology acquisition will also include a partnership with international technology ecosystem networks for proptech and living technology startups.
It recently joined two global innovation platforms including Plug and Play from Silicon Valley in the US and Sosa from Israel.
These partnerships will help Sansiri connect to a global network of almost 10,000 startups worldwide.
"We can access potential startups faster through joint activities like identifying issues, hosting accelerator programmes, pitching and exploring investment opportunities," said Mr Jirapat.