Telenor Group and CP Group announced that they will raise up to USD$200 million or 7.3 billion baht to support startups to promote innovative technologies.
It includes a new VC fund to identify best ideas from Thai startups, supporting them to become successful at regional, national and international levels. Promising Thai start-ups will have access to technology and expertise from Telenor’s business in Nordic and Asian countries as well as from CP’s related businesses.
Telenor and CP will provide funds to support startups, plus have experts and mentors to coach and connect founders to the startup ecosystem and regional and global networks. The VCF also aims to create innovative technology through new products and services, and aims to support the creation of at least 30 – 70 new patents. The VCF plans to support innovative technology in targeted sectors including agriculture, healthcare and education. The VCF could also reach out to foreign start-ups to relocate to Thailand while stimulating investment in new tech frontiers, such as deep and advanced tech, space, artificial intelligence and even the metaverse.
Based on studies on the impact of venture investments’ on GDP in the UK, estimates suggest that venture investments can contribute up to 4.5 times that of the original investments to GDP. Employment at VC-based companies have also shown to grow 2.8 times more than non-VC-backed companies. Venture investments are also known to result in greater innovation, such as measured by the number of patents yielded.
In Southeast Asia, continued shifts in consumer and merchant behavior, matched with strong investor confidence, have ushered the region into its “Digital Decade” – the region is well on its way towards 1 trillion USD in gross merchandise value, which measures the value of e-commerce, by 2030.
Thailand has a huge potential to be a digital champion in the region and harness the perfect storm. Thais are digital natives. 9 out of 10 Thais have made an internet purchase, and this trend will only continue. Thailand had the highest proportion of new digital consumers coming online in 2021, compared to other Southeast Asian nations. The extraordinary shift in consumer behavior has also led to the rise of the digital merchant in Thailand. A Bain, Google and Temasek report expects Thailand’s internet economy to triple in value to $57 billion by 2025. The government is also playing its part as an enabler.
Digital start-ups will play an important role for Thailand. Telenor Group and CP Group are ready to go further to support the development of a vibrant Thai start-up ecosystem, leveraging Thailand’s strong foundation as a digital economy.