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Startups that stole the show

Startups that stole the show

TUESDAY, December 25, 2018
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PROMINENT startups Fastwork and Tourkrub gave a good performance throughout 2018, creating an impact on both the economy and people and securing series A fundraising.


They also share a few other things in common. Both were founded in 2016, have good traction, and enjoy huge potential to expand their service and business.
Thus both Fastwork and Tourkrub have been chosen Startup of the Year 2018 by The Nation.


Fastwork is a platform designed to connect professional freelancers and service provider to hirers.
Vasa Iamsuri, 28, co-founder and chief executive officer of Fastwork, says their aim is to provide an all-services platform to help professional people to get jobs and to aid small businesses to get their job done.
In the three years since their start, Fastwork has signed up 40,000 professional freelancers across 70 job categories. Around 20 per cent of them can earn an average monthly income of Bt7,500 from the platform.
That sum is around one-third of the average Bt20,000-a-month household income in Thailand, notes Vasa. “Importantly, professional freelancers in our database are in all provinces nationwide and our platform can help them gain additional income,” said Vasa.
On the demand side, he said, there are around 300,000 buyers who need professional freelances to get their jobs done. 
“We called then ‘buyers’ who are looking for professional freelancers to compete for their jobs. Buyers range from an individual to small and medium-sized businesses, as well as large corporates. For example, King Power, Jubilee, Unilever need professional freelances to help with their jobs, such as graphic design or video presentation.” 
He said he continues to discover new types of jobs that need to be done by other people, such as a net idol.
The revenue stream of Fastwork comes from a commission per transaction. This year, its revenue increased 11 times over last year’s. 
Fastwork began as a professional freelance marketplace. But its goal is to become the first-choice platform for all services delivered by professionals and freelancers to all buyers, who are not only companies but also individual persons who need someone to do something for them.
The 2019 goal, Vasa said, is for Fastwork to add more services categories, raising it to 200 from today’s 70, and to increase number of professional service providers or freelancers on the platform to five million from the 40,000 now. 
Fastwork six months ago expanded its services beyond Thailand to Indonesia, with 10 Indonesian staff running the service for that market. There, it has around 6,000 people listed on the platform as professional service providers/freelancers. 
He said Fastwork has its own algorithm called Fastwork Score to match professional freelancers with buyers. 
“We are not a data company, we are a people business,” emphasised Vasa. 
Fastwork this year secured series A fundraising of US$4.8 million (Bt156 million) from investors that included China’s Gobi, Japan’s Line Corp, Partech Partners and Vickers Venture Partner. 
“The company is expanding our business and team. Next year we will increase staff, both Thai and Indonesian, up to 200 people, three times bigger than the current 70 people,” said Vasa.

Jakapan Leeathiwat, 30, co-founder and chief executive officer, describes Tourkrub as an online marketplace for outbound tour packages. 
Currently, Tourkrub has a total gross merchandise value above Bt1 billion. In the three years since set up, it has posted 10,000 tour packages, and now has around 800 to 1,000 packages live on the marketplace. 
More than 50,000 people went on an outbound tour package from the platform, spending an average of Bt30,000 each.
And around 500,000 monthly active users spend time on Tourkrub. 
“Our beauty is to help local wholesale tour agencies to digitise their package with the big data we have. They can customise a package to serve the needs of tourists according to their favourites. Now, we can encourage another 40 from a total 50 wholesale tour agencies to utilise their resource to create interesting tour packages,” said Jakapan. 
Thailand’s outbound tour sector is expected to be worth between Bt50 billion and Bt60 billion per year, calculated from a total of 2.4 million tourists spending an average of around Bt25,00 each. This market is growing at 15 per cent per year. 
“There was no trusted place where all tour packages are aggregated and allows people to pay for packages immediately. At Tourkrub, we aggregate all packages in one place and facilitate their online payment,” said Jakapan.
Tourkrub revenue comes from commissions of around 5 per cent, with revenue growing by above 150 per cent yearly. It grew 300 per cent in its first year. 
Tourkrub has also secured series A of US$3 million (Bt97.5 million) led by Kingpower Click, Government Saving Bank’s SME Equity Trust #3, 500 TukTuks, and Itthipat Peeradechapan (the Thai entrepreneur owner of Tao Kae Noi).
In 2019, Tourkrub aims to grow at least five times in terms of GMV. 
“We have 80 people on our team,” said Jakapan. “We have been profitable since day one since this market is ready to spend. Both supply and demand sides need technologies to empower them.”