THE HYPE over start-ups has been going around in Thailand for several years. An apparent increase in the number of start-ups emerging from all over the country has proved that Thais are now more motivated to become entrepreneurs.
With Southeast Asia being one of the toughest markets for Westerners to penetrate, there are clear opportunities for us to start up a business catering specifically to a need seen in this market. However, how many notable Thai start-ups do we currently see, know, and use? Many of them have turned into zombies or, even worse, have died.
There are many reasons some start-ups fail at the very beginning, and this is where accelerators can come to rescue. Start-ups that have been selected for accelerators tend to have more potential to grow and scale.
Knowledge is the key to minimising the possibility that your start-up venture will fail. Top accelerators will guarantee you access to the best speakers and mentors, from national superstars to world-class, start-up heroes straight from Silicon Valley and best-selling authors.
You will learn the key necessities such as growth hacking, scaling lean, agile learning, how to get your customers hooked on your product - the list goes on. You will also be introduced to tools you can use to improve the way you work, such as the "lean canvas" model.
This knowledge will reduce the time spent on trial and error and allow start-ups to grow faster and with a stronger background.
Acquiring your first customer is tough, but scaling to your next thousands and millions of customers is a whole new story. Being in an accelerator is like getting a fast-track ticket to reaching millions of customers who are already there.
This applies to accelerators backed by big corporates, a trend we are seeing more and more of lately. With big corporates already holding their customers in their hands, it is easier to introduce them to your start-up with just a simple push notification, a Line message in their official account, or a Facebook post.
In the start-up world, in order to survive, people you know may be more important than what you do. This is why we always see networking events in the start-up industry.
Being in an accelerator is like being in the creme de la creme of those networking events. You will be connected with famous VCs (venture capital providers) and introduced to them with credibility guaranteed by the accelerator, showing that you have been mentored and groomed to a |certain reliable level.
Another great opportunity start-ups get from an accelerator is the chance to collaborate with other world-class accelerators in other countries. This helps widen their views and prepare them for scaling and expanding outside their own markets.
Our latest winner from DTAC Accelerate Batch 4, Freshket, won an opportunity to participate in Blackbox connect, one of the most famous international accelerators based in Silicon Valley, and a tailor-made mentoring session designed specifically for the team by Google Launchpad, Google's own accelerator based in San Francisco.
Google Launchpad had never before accepted start-ups from Thailand. This program was previously targeted at only a few countries in Southeast Asia including Indonesia and Singapore. With the help of our DTAC Accelerate team, forming an official partner relationship with Google, we now are able to bring this opportunity to Thai start-ups.
This is an opportunity that start-ups on their own would never have had the chance to experience without the help of an accelerator.
Sompoat Chansomboon is director of Total Access Communication's DTAC Accelerate division. , with 21 companies under dtac accelerate Management of THB 1,700 Billion with company growth of 500% year on year on average and 70% secured follow on funding