Dtac Accelerate in joint move to boost start-ups

Tech March 14, 2018 18:45

By The Nation 

After five years helping 34 Thai start-ups to grow and succeed, dtac Accelerate says it has strengthened its “batch 6 accelerate program” with global partners Google and Line to bring Thai start-ups to the global market. 

Dtac Accelerate has annually groomed 10 to 12 start-ups, said Lars Norling, chief executive officer, Total Access Communication PLC or DTAC. The programme graduates are now able to create digital innovations to help enhance customers’ day-to-day lives and contribute to Thai society.

“DTAC is one of the pioneers in the start-up ecosystem,” said Norling.

Since its beginning, dtac Accelerate has been committed to creating the first start-up unicorn in Thailand and to help start-ups expand into international markets.

And while the unicorn so far remains elusive, dtac Accelerate batches 1 to 5 have helped nurture Thai start-ups to a combined value of over US$100 million (Bt3.13 billion), with graduates collectively securing $5 million (Bt31.31 million) in investment and 70 per cent follow-on funding, the highest in Southeast Asia.

For 2018, dtac Accelerate features a training program from the Google LaunchPad Accelerator and mentoring from world-class start-up gurus. The gurus include Jacob Greenspan, an expert in user experience and user interface (UI/UX) for product development, Jake Knapp, an expert in the “design sprint” process used to develop new ideas, and many other mentors from around the world. 

Moreover, DTAC is also collaborating with Line Thailand to offer Thai start-ups an opportunity to reach 42 million users on that platform.

Andrew Kvalseth, DTAC’s chief marketing officer, said that 2017 saw increased investments and steady growth in the Thai start-up industry, a reflection of the country’s expanding start-up ecosystem. Dtac Accelerate has played a key role in building this ecosystem.

In 2017 alone, dtac Accelerate alumni raised investment totalling $9.5 million, including three series A investments and eight seed investments. 

Its start-ups got 70 per cent follow-on funding compared to a 20 per cent regional average.

Exclusive Google partner

Google is clearly impressed.

“Google has selected dtac Accelerate as their exclusive partner for Google Launchpad,” said Kvalseth. “We have access to their full curriculum. We are the ones screening start-ups for their launchpad. And they’re sending us some of their top people, like Jacob Greenspan.

“We’re also the first, and currently only, accelerator to work with Line. Line will support our start-ups with user acquisition, thanks to their 42 million-strong customer base in Thailand. 

Line not only has an API platform for start-ups to plug into but is also launching its own venture capital fund, said Kvalseth.

The partnership with Google Launchpad Accelerator will allow selected start-ups from batch 6 to take part in the Google Launchpad Accelerator in San Francisco, USA.

As well, the partnership with Line Scale-up will offer start-ups a co-marketing opportunity with access to more than 42 million Line users, an investment opportunity from Line, and participation in Line Dev Day at Line Corporation headquarters in Tokyo in September.

“We also have partnerships with Thailand’s leading corporations such as Muang Thai Life Assurance, Siri Ventures and PTT’s Express Solutions,” said Sompoat Chansomboon, managing director of dtac Accelerate.

The dtac Accelerate batch 6 provides support in three areas: a technical pack by Clouds partners AWS, Google Clouds, IBM, and Tencent; a marketing pack by DTAC, FB, Line@, PTT, San Siri, MTL, Thairath, and Fastwork; and a talent pack by Getlink, Scoutout, Google Ignite, Skooldio, Disrupt University, Globish, Senseino and Google Developer Group Thailand. 

Application submissions are open for dtac Accelerate batch 6 until April 11, with participants announced on May 4, then Pitch Day on May 11, 2018, Boot Camp from May to August, and Demo Day on the last week of August.