500 TukTuks expands to food in disruption hunt

500 TukTuks expands to food in disruption hunt

Mr Krating expects disruption to start from farms and spread to consumption.
Mr Krating expects disruption to start from farms and spread to consumption.

Following investing in fintech, logistics and property tech, 500 TukTuks is expanding its portfolio to food tech to capitalise on what is expected to be a US$10-billion (331 billion baht) market in Southeast Asia by 2022.

"We are very keen on food tech, as we expect the next digital disruption to be in bio/food/agriculture," said Krating Poolpon, managing partner and chief executive of 500 TukTuks, the local arm of the US-based venture capital firm 500 Startups. "Thailand is known for its food and aims to be the kitchen of the world, so it should take advantage of this trend."

Technological disruption has been occurring at the end of the food value chain, mainly in food delivery. Mr Krating said disruption is expected further down the food value chain in the next few years in food production, processing and delivery.

"We expect to see disruption from farm to fork, with entrepreneurs coming up with new innovative solutions," said Mr Krating, who is also founder of Disrupt Technology Venture, a leading startup incubator.

500 TukTuks and Disrupt recently team up with restaurant giant Minor Group to organise a business and technology Hackathon under the theme "Minor Tasting The Future".

The event invites innovators, startup founders and disrupters around Thailand to reimagine the future of food retail services and casual dining to serve the evolving demands of over 70 million Thai consumers in the next 50 years.

This is the first food tech project that Disrupt has been involved in, while 500 TukTuks has invested 25 million baht in five food tech startups and is looking to invest more in the future. Three of them are Thai B2B (business-to-business) fresh food e-marketplace Freshket, food delivery service Ginja and Indie Dish, a healthy food delivery startup, while a further two startups will be introduced next month.

Disrupt and 500 TukTuks bring years of experience working with startups, as well as knowledge and proven startup methodologies from Silicon Valley, Mr Krating said.

This Hackathon welcomes startup founders who are interested in food, food retail ecosystem, food enthusiasts, retail technologists and innovators who share a passion to transform the food retail service and casual dining sector. This goes along with those who want to scale their ideas regionally, with strong support from Minor Group, Disrupt Technology Venture and 500 TukTuks.

Participants will compete under the topics of "The Future of Food Retail Service", "The Future of Franchise", "The Future of Dining for Ageing Society", "Digitisation of Restaurant", "Dining for the Hyper Millennials" and "Delivery 4.0 and Beyond".

The winning team will receive a 100,000-baht cash award, with 70,000 baht and 50,000 baht for the first runner-up and second runner-up, respectively.

Most importantly, all the winners will have the opportunity to receive long-term support from Minor Group and 500 TukTuks.

Applications will be accepted until Nov 9, with only 100 people from 20 teams to be selected to participate in the Minor Hackathon, which will take place on Dec 1 and 2.

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