500 TukTuks sets high goals for fund



THE man­agers of the 500 TukTuks Fund II yes­ter­day launched the in­vest­ment ve­hi­cle with the aim of back­ing 150 startup ven­tures – in­clud­ing one with the prized unicorn sta­tus for a val­u­a­tion that grows to at least US$1 bil­lion.

They plan to use the fund to help at least six startups exit with a val­u­a­tion of at least $US100 mil­lion by 2023.

The 500 TukTuks Fund I in­vested in 50 startups, with only one fail­ure. The man­agers ex­pect to sus­tain this mo­men­tum with the sec­ond fund, which has more money avail­able for in­vest­ment, though the fig­ure was not dis­closed.

The man­agers say the 500 TukTuks Fund II will ac­cel­er­ate the de­vel­op­ment of the startup in­dus­try in Thai­land, as well as in the CLMV coun­tries: Cam­bo­dia, Laos, Myan­mar and Viet­nam. The sup­port from the fund is ex­pected to help re­alise the goal of see­ing at least six startups exit at $US100 mil­lion within five years.

The Fund II has the back­ing of many large com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing TCP Group, Cen­tral Group, Saha Pathana In­ter- Hold­ing Plc, Vachaphol Com­pany and South­east In­sur­ance.

Krat­ing Poon­pol, manag­ing part­ner of 500 TukTuks, said the Fund II, in sup­port­ing startups, would help to cre­ate a new eco­nomic growth en­gine for the coun­try, es­pe­cially in the tar­geted S-curve in­dus­tries. Thus the new fund is backed by the big com­pa­nies who need to sup­port startups while look­ing for op­por­tu­ni­ties in the S- curve in­dus­tries, Krat­ing said.

The Fund II’s in­vest­ment in startups will cover from seed fund­ing all the way up to Se­ries A.

“For the Fund II, we are ex­pand­ing our amount of in­vest­ment and the scope of sec­tors and coun­tries,” Krat­ing said.

“We are con­tin­u­ing to in­vest in fin­tech, in­sure-tech and travel-tech, but we are gear­ing up for more at­ten­tion to deep-tech de­vel­op­ment for the agri­cul­ture and food in­dus­tries as well.”

He said Thai­land needs to have startups that can exit with at least US$100 mil­lion in or­der to build mo­men­tum to drive the coun­try’s startup ecosys­tem to the next level and to drive Thai­land to be­come “a startup coun­try”.

“For Fund I, 500 TukTuks in­vested in the 50 startups over the past three years. The top five of these have a com­pany val­u­a­tion of at least US$30 mil­lion, and we have one cen­taur startup, which means a com­pany val­u­a­tion of over US$100 mil­lion,” Krat­ing said. “To­gether, they have cre­ated em­ploy­ment for more than 10,000 peo­ple.” “Our mis­sion is to cre­ate one or two iconic tech com­pa­nies from Thai­land that come from our port­fo­lios. We want to cre­ate the fu­ture lead­ers for the coun­try. There are three pil­lars to drive the coun­try’s econ­omy, large cor­po­rates, SMEs (small and medi­um­sized en­ter­prises), and startups – and we are in­volved in two of them.” Natavudh Pungchare­on­pong, manag­ing part­ner of 500 TukTuks, said the key cri­te­ria is to in­vest in startups that can cre­ate syn­er­gies with the com­pany’s in­vest­ment part­ners, both to cre­ate the new S- curve in­dus­tries and to be­come en­ablers for the large com­pa­nies.

“There will be a lot more syn­er­gies aris­ing be­tween startups and large cor­po­rates, es­pe­cially from our port­fo­lios,” Natavudh said. “The large cor­po­rates in Thai­land are very ac­tive in seek­ing out in­no­va­tion for cre­at­ing their new S-curve op­por­tu­ni­ties and for growth through in­vest­ing in startups.

“Within two to three years, we will see a lot more se­ries A and se­ries B startups in Thai­land be­cause of cor­po­rate ven­ture cap­i­tal.

“We have Bt400 mil­lion for Fund I and for Fund II we have more than that.” Sar­avoot Yoovid­hya, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of TC, Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal In­dus­tries, said that it is the first time that TCP group has in­vested in startups. This move is aimed at sup­port­ing the coun­try’s startup ecosys­tem, to seek out the new S-curve op­por­tu­ni­ties and new growth for the com­pany’s ex­ist­ing busi­ness.

Dana­pat Promphan, vice pres­i­dent - in­vest­ment, Cen­tral Depart­ment Store, said that the com­pany needs new ideas and in­no­va­tion for ex­pand­ing its core busi­ness.


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