Thailand’s Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) is about to launch its first venture capital fund for tech start ups.
The fund, which is expected to be launched in the first quarter of this year following approval from the Bank of Thailand, will help tech start ups raise Series A or higher stage capital funding.
“The fund size will be around $30-$50 million and it will invest in technology-focused startups,” a source exclusively told DealStreetAsia.
“SCB will also set up a new subsidiary, which will focus on doing FinTech-related research. The research budget will come from 1-1.5 per cent of the bank’s net profit,” the source added.
The new fund will reportedly be run by Thana Thienachariya, former marketing executive at DTAC.
Whilst those of us based in Thailand will know that not a week goes by where this country isn’t labelled as the new hub of something or other, the kingdom’s growing number of tech startups is genuinely attracting ever increasing interest from venture capital funds as the country steadily becomes a home to a thriving startup ecosystem. (Ed – notice we didn’t drop the ‘h’ bomb there).
Perhaps most notable of the funds investing in Thailand startups is the 500 Tuks Tuks fund, which set aside $10 million to invest in early stage startups when it launched in March 2015.
Other prominent venture capital firms active in Thailand include Ardent Capital and Inspire Ventures, in addition to locally based funds established by Thailand’s leading telecoms companies: AIS, True and DTAC.
Even the Thai government has recognised the important role the country’s tech start ups can play in its proposed ‘Digital Economy’ scheme, which it hopes will drive the country’s development.
However, the Digital Economy scheme and the involvement of tech startups in Thailand has been overshadowed by the government’s plans to increase online censorship and launch a Single Gateway, which some have dubbed the ‘Great Firewall of Thailand’.