How bright is Thai startup scene?

Adam Sharpe talks about stumbling across an exciting startup community in Bangkok, and how it will prove invaluable to his own success

coworkingspacesthailand

Launching your own startup can be daunting wherever you are in the world. But when you make Thailand your launch pad, a country under military rule, the task can feel all the more unnerving.

Thailand is still a great place to be for many reasons. It’s the hub of Southeast Asia and is home to many different cultures, ethnicities and nationalities. Being one of strongest economies in the region, the cost of living is affordable. It’s not difficult to understand why thousands of expats like us choose to stay despite the recent news headlines. However, the best reason to launch Crowdid in Thailand had yet to reveal itself to us.

The co-working revolution
Scanning the net for offices, we were surprised to find ourselves inundated with co-working spaces to choose from. They were dotted across Bangkok. One stood out for us and that was Hubba – the city’s first co-working space for tech and creative startups. Tick!

As soon as we walked into the place, we knew it was the best place for us to launch Crowdid; a cosy two-storey house stocked with web designers, coders, app developers and gamers from around the world.

We soon discovered that all these co-working spaces including Pah, Cluster Office, Pun Space, Hubba and more were a part of Coworking United. This collective of office spaces was founded to help drive a revolution in the way we work and encourage technology leaders, entrepreneurs, investors and creators to come together and build entrepreneurship ecosystems. We knew immediately that we had to be a part of it.

Also Read: The case for embracing co-working spaces in Singapore

A real startup community
In no time our calendar was filled with events that were relevant to our business and mission. A WordPress Meetup, a social media crash course, a Geeks on a Plane Startup Showcase, a Pocket Playlab party for game developers, a Women’s Startup Weekend were just some of the events going on. It seemed like at every event we met at least one person we could work with.

We’d had no idea that a bustling energetic and ambitious tech startup community had been growing for years right under our noses. And by launching Crowdid, we were thrust right into the middle of it.

One of the people who made it his business to fill our calendars was Amarit Charoenphan aka Aim, Co-founder, Hubba. He realised while trying to become an entrepreneur himself how a support network is desperately needed for entrepreneurs in his home country.

“The environment in Thailand wasn’t at all conducive to entrepreneurship,” he told me. “We knew that becoming an entrepreneur was something many Thais aspired to do but the Government, the banks and the private sector don’t do the best job in supporting them. Moreover there was always this culture of secrecy in Thailand, an idea that if you work with too many people who aren’t your family or friends that you’d get screwed. … There are very few ways to make a name for yourself, be successful and well off in the private sector, unless you have a big last name or your Dad is a big shot in some company.”

By building a co-working space, Aim was able to bring a scattered tech community together, becoming the catalyst for a host of other co-working spaces across Bangkok.

“Today we’re inspired not just to help entrepreneurs have fun, to make friends and collaborate in the space, but also to get s**t done. We want to see the projects that come out of Hubba be successful.”

Also Read: Co-working in Thailand? HUBBA shares on supporting startups

The future is bright
There are so many reasons to be excited by Bangkok’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Human resource: We have a network of talented professionals in our industry we can hire right on our doorstep.

Information sharing: This community is full of knowledge and information that we are all ready and willing to share with one another. Sharing is key to our success.

The economy: The community acts as a support network helping those within the community succeed. When startups succeed, jobs are created and the economy benefits.

Inspiration: Being surrounded by other startups is important psychologically. Starting your own business is hard work and it can feel lonely when your team is still small. Knowing you’re not alone is invaluable.

There is an exciting independent professional sub-culture being driven by Thais like Aim and expats who want to innovate, to educate and to share their knowledge and resources for the betterment of the community. Bangkok’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is working and we are committed to helping it grow.

The views expressed are of the author, and e27 may not necessarily subscribe to them.

e27 invites members from Asia’s tech industry and startup community to share their honest opinions and expert knowledge with our readers. If you are interested to share your point of view, please send us an email to writers[at]e27[dot]co.

Adam Sharpe

Adam is one of those people who gets over-excited easily. Anything related to technology, social media, politics, music or food could tip him over the edge at any time. Having launched his own startup digital agency Crowdid Digital, he has discovered the perfect outlet for his energy.

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  • http://www.aroundtheworldinaday.com/ Carina

    For new businesses it is important to have a good quality and stable internet connection. Compare the internet speed in Thailand and the Philippines on
    http://aroundtheworldinaday.com/philippines_thailand_comparison/internet_speed_thailand_internet_speed_philippines/

  • John Berns

    Hmm. I’m going to be a curmudgeon here and risk being flamed by people enthralled by the idea of doing a startup in Thailand.

    First off, I’d say that two months into a startup in Thailand doesn’t provide a lot of depth to the author’s viewpoint. (The editors at e27 should have pointed this fact out.)

    Having had a couple startups in Thailand, I’d say that the startup realities in Thailand are less than rosy. There are too many deep, structural flaws (political, cultural, educational, financial, legal) that will keep the Thai startup scene from realizing it’s full potential.

    If you want a “nice social startup scene” or a lifestyle business that allows remote work, enjoy yourself in Thailand. (If you can, the visa situation is making small foreign startups almost impossible from a legal stadpoint.)

    If you want an environment for a real business to grow and flourish, look elsewhere.

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