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 medium-sized 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.