Thailand Announces $570m Startup Venture Fund


Thailand is getting serious about establishing a startup ecosystem as the government announced over the weekend it would launch a US$570 million venture fund for this purpose.

The fund will finance some 2,500 existing startups in Thailand, Bangkok Post quotedInformation and Communication Technology (ICT) minister Uttama Savanayana as saying. The minister added the aim was to raise the number of startups in the country to 10,000 in two years.

The fund will be split between two ministries: the ICT and Finance. Half of the amount will be allotted for tech startups, and the other half will go to “general” companies that are just starting up.

The money from the government will give startups a boost since there are few VC firms moving in Thailand. The country hasn’t figured prominently on the radar of investors, who often go first to more advanced neighbors Singapore or Malaysia, or one of the world’s most populous nations, Indonesia.

Thailand’s startup scene is still very nascent and you can see activities from only angel investors and VCs focusing on seed stage. VCs include the likes of Ardent Capital, CyberAgent, Inspire, and now 500 Startups. 500 Startups has been keen on Thailand, setting up a dedicated fund called 500 Tuktuks, named after the country’s iconic mototaxis.

That said, the Thai government believes 2016 will be a golden year for its startup industry. It plans to roll out some changes: apart from this fund, it will set up “startup zones” nationwide to promote innovation and grow its digital economy.

The Thai tech startup association will also soon submit recommendations to the government on certain policy changes, mainly in relation to taxes, to help the ecosystem thrive.

Source: Bangkok Post

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