Hubba sees major start-up boom for 2018

Corporate January 29, 2018 01:00


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HUBBA has joined hands with its business partners to set up three new co-working spaces to support the high growth potential of start-up companies. The company is responding to an estimated 60-per-cent growth in start-ups through this year.

Amarit Charoenphan, co-founder of co-working space provider Hubba, said the firm this year will scale up its business and work together with business partners to create three new co-working spaces with areas between 1,000 and 4,000 square metres. 

The first new co-working space will be officially announced in the first quarter, he said, declining to disclose the area or the investment at this time. The company currently has three co-working spaces located at Ekkamai, Onnuj and Siam Square with areas totalling 1,600 square metres. 

He said the number of start-up companies in Thailand this year would reach 1,000, a big jump from last year’s estimated 600 start-ups.

Retail, PropTech, and automotive are the top three start-up categories for this year, said Amarit. 

Factors driving Thai start-ups are support from government agencies, investment of corporate venture capital such as SCG AddVentures, Siri Venture and PTT Digital Solutions, as well as foreign venture capital, including from Singapore and Japan. Moreover, around 60 companies among the top 100 companies listed in the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) have flagged their interest in investing in start-ups. 

Hubba sees the retail sector taking an aggressive approach in using new technology and innovation created by start-ups. 

The retail industry needs to innovate to provide better services and products that support customer lifestyles in the digital era, said Amarit.

The property sector has also demonstrated a willingness to invest in start-ups in order to create new services for their customers. And the automotive sector will support e-commerce and undertake research and development to compete in that highly competitive industry. 

Growth of start-ups will continue in 2018, said Amarit.

Last year’s venture capital invested in Thailand’s start-ups was valued at more than US$105.5 million (Bt3.3 billion), the highest value since 2011. aCommerce raised Series B investment funds from venture capital investments valued at $65 million, followed by Pomelo Thailand at around $19 million. The top five categories for start-ups that received funds last year were e-commerce, fintech, logistics, payment, and food and restaurants – all were major areas with high potential growth. 

Meanwhile, mergers and acquisitions also played an important role in improving business efficiency and expanding their business base in the market last year, including the Omise acquisition of Paysbuy, a local payment gateway. Line (Thailand) also acquired DGM59, a local start-up that will develop new services and solutions for Line to support customer demand in the digital era.