Pongsawat Krishnamra, left, Patai Padungtin, centre, and Teeraboon Ariyasuthiwong, right, co-founders of Builk One Group.
Pongsawat Krishnamra, left, Patai Padungtin, centre, and Teeraboon Ariyasuthiwong, right, co-founders of Builk One Group.

Start-ups the new engine of growth

Economy December 28, 2017 01:00

By ASINA PORNWASIN
THE NATION

15,350 Viewed

THAI START-UPS have played a key role in helping major and small businesses achieve digital transformation, while helping create direct and indirect employment.



They also contributed to the economy by bringing direct investment from overseas venture capitalists and investors.

One of the most prominent start-ups who played a key role to help increase efficiency in the real estate industry is the Builk One Group. The company has provided software, big data analytic, e-commerce platform, and communication platform to all stakeholders in all construction and real estate industry supply chains. 

Patai Padungtin, founder and chief executive officer of Builk One Group, said that the group’s mission is to help reduce risk while increasing efficiency in the industry. A start-up contributes to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) by increasing the efficiency of the real sector industry (in each vertical industry) through digital transformation, he said. 

“In real estate, Builk has helped increase industry efficiency by 5 per cent of total construction value (via Builk’s business platform) of Bt30 billion. It is my role since start-ups come to solve existing [industry] problems,” said Patai.

Builk provides free software to small contractors and small construction material shops to help them with digital transformation. Currently, there are 25,000 companies using software and there are over 1 million purchase orders recorded via Builk’s software that are turned into big data assets for the company to offer big data analytic service to manufacturers and brands. 

Builk also provides the intelligent e-commerce platform called Yellow, which connects contractors, suppliers, and manufacturers. The intelligent platform will help match transactions between small contractors and suppliers; and large contractors and manufacturers by sourcing the best price for them. Currently, there are 5 million real-time product prices on Builk’s platform. This year’s total e-commerce revenue was Bt220 million, increasing from Bt70 million in 2016. It aims to reach Bt1 billion in 2018. 

“The beauty is it is a win-win situation for all because Builk plays the role as an intermediary, providing them benefit, offering them free software and offering the best price for products [they order via e-commerce]. We connect manufacturers and supplier to contractors. We play a role as a virtual wholeseller for them to help bring online-to-offline (O2O) e-commerce in the construction industry,” said Patai.

One of its main focus is to help transform traditional construction material shops into digital businesses by offering free software and getting them into the e-commerce network as a distribution channel. This year it has encouraged 40 shops and next year it will have 160 shops in 77 provinces nationwide. He said there are 6,000 shops in the market. 

Moreover, Builk has helped 300 large contractors achieve digital transformation for years by offering enterprise resource planing (ERP) software. For real estate companies, Builk also offers customer relationship management (CRM) communication platform. Currently, it provides for 15,000 condo units at three real estate properties. Next year, it plans to offer 50,000 units from more developers.

He said the role of a start-up is to help drive Thailand 4.0 in the real sector, in each vertical sector to undergo digital transformation. Thai start-ups can play an important role in helping a lot of SMEs transform their traditional business and help them to increase efficiency and competitive capability. Well-established start-ups also help the country by hiring more workers. 

Meanwhile, Krating Poonpol, manager of 500 TukTuks, one of |the most active venture capitalists in Thailand, said that start-ups are the new economic engine for the country. 

This year, the role of start-ups in Thailand is to play a role in generating employment. It estimates that start-ups can help 100,000 people earn through both direct and indirect employment. 

500 TukTuks invested in 46 start-ups, and 47 per cent of them are growing and have fund-raising in bigger rounds. Start-ups under 500 TukTuks’ portfolio have together created 1,000 direct jobs and |created almost 10,000 jobs for people in Thailand. For example, Skootar has 3,000 messengers, Claim Di Bike has 3,000 messengers, Seekster has 1,000 house-mades, Pomelo employs 300 staff, Fastwork has 1,000 freelancers, and Ookbee has 100,000 writers. 

Meanwhile, it expects that in the next 10 years, Southeast Asia can create many tech start-ups with company value of US$100 |billion (Bt3.27 trillion). If there |is one Thai start-up worth $100 billion it can help increase the country’s GDP immediately.

Sompoat Chansomboon, director of Business Innovation & dtac Accelerate, one of the most impactful start-up accelerators in Thailand, said that this year the prominent start-up ecosystem would see collaboration between start-ups and large corporates. The role of a start-up is to help corporates do innovation as part of corporates’ digital transformation journey. For example, SCG and Giztix and Finnomena and fund houses. 

Apart from collaboration with corporates, the other prominent role of start-ups is to draw direct investment from overseas to inject into Thai-based start-ups totalling $87 million, excluding non-disclose-value deals. The government has budgeted Bt20 billion into the local start-up ecosystem. Meanwhile, dtac Accelerate itself has enabled 34 start-ups and together have raised $3.5 billion, drawing oveseas direct investment of over $10 million. This has helped create 10,000 jobs for Thais.

Vachara Aemavat, president of Thailand Tech Startup Association, said that Thai start-ups in the past year had played a prominent role in helping create jobs, careers and business in many real sectors such as real estate, finance and banking, logistics, and healthcare. The role of the association is to connect the real sector and commercial associations with start-ups as well as to connect start-ups among themselves to increase their capability.

“The association did a survey of 240 start-ups in Thailand and found that 25 per cent of them had received fund raising, while 50 per cent of start-ups had success in seed fund raising. It is rare for them to achieve series-A fund-raising,” said Vachara.

He said, one strategy to help start-ups grow is to match them with corporates and the association will play a key role in matching them.