We covered crowdfunding website for animation and related products Anipipo last month when it partnered up with Cartoon Club, a Thai-based TV network with a regional reach.
Founded by Hiroaki Taira, Vincent Sethiwan and Permsiri “Sam” Tiyavutiroj, the startup could be said as both Thai and Japanese — a hybrid of both cultures. Hiroaki, based in Japan, visits Bangkok, Thailand every few months while Vincent and Sam stay in the Land of Smiles, as they are both founders of a local co-working space, Launchpad.
On Monday, Anipipo participated with six other startups (five Thai-represented and one Japanese-represented) namely Noonswoon, AppDriver, AttackPrice, Ubiversity, SiamSquared and Mega Genius, in the second episode of Khun Seuk vs. Samurai, a startup pitching event.
Organized by Software Park, a Thai government agency, and Samurai Incubate, a Japanese tech incubator, the competition sees startups from both countries come together and pitch to a panel of experienced judges and 150 attendees.
Hiroaki arrived in Singapore to meet up with fellow founders and potential investors two days ago and I had the chance to speak to him face-to-face. He shared that the startup is currently looking for funding, especially with Japanese venture capitalists. He said, “Japanese VCs know the industry. We’re trying to get one like Y-Combinator. Money is not the issue. [We are looking at] less than US$1 million and networks.”
At the moment, Anipipo has seen six projects being hosted on their crowdfunding platform. While most of these were sourced from Hiroaki’s contacts, mainly University professors in the animation faculty, he shared that two actually came from Thai animators. It is evident that the Japanese or anime culture is extremely contagious and prevalent in the capital of Thailand; students would often gather at MBK, a shopping mall, on weekends to dance to Japanese music, or head over to Japanese-themed mall Gateway Ekamai to attend cosplay events.
Though growth has been slow on Anipipo in terms of submissions (they have seen only one successful project so far), Hiroaki shared that they have ambitious goals to see JPY60 million (US$600,000) in total funds being crowdsourced. At the moment, they have gathered JPY6.8 million (US$68,000) since their launch in May 2013.
Just do it
Hiroaki also shared that they have the right team to go forward with their current set of goals. Anipipo, he said, tackles what people need to know even though they think there’s no value to it. While most people grew up with ample time in front of the television set watching cartoons, we often forget that there are actually people, animators, creating these clips. The industry is slowing down, but no one seems to bat an eyelid.
He also said that if young budding entrepreneurs want to do something about their passions, just go ahead and do it already. “If they have some idea of what they want to do, just do it. You can’t educate yourself without doing it yourself. People think startups is about success. It’s actually about failure, failure and then, success. If you can’t fail, you can’t learn anything. You will never be ready.”
Want to know more about startups in Thailand? Check out Echelon Ignite, happening this coming September 5 to 6!