Now that all three telcos are stepping up their games in Thailand with various incubation programmes, what should Thai startups look out for?
“Thailand has one of the strongest high-tech startup communities in the region, with rapid growth in digital services and local content development,” said Sigve Brekke, EVP and Head of Asia Operations, Telenor Group. The Norweigian telco had today announced its partnership with its Thai subsidiary dtac, and its co-investment of THB 100 million (US$3 million) to launch incubator programme dtac Accelerate.
Brekke also indicated that Telenor will be open to backing the “next big online game-changes” in Thailand. While dtac Accelerate is technically not new and is in its second year now, a lot of things have changed. For example, in 2013, dtac Accelerate was considered a campaign; it is now deemed as a separate entity.
If you have an idea, but have not created your product or listed a business model to base it off, the incubation programme might be for you. The programme is open to mobile apps, online health services, e-commerce, mobile commerce payment, online financial services, educational content, music, games, entertainment, books, online application services for SME, cloud applications for enterprises, and technology social ventures.
According to the official statement, selected startups will receive an investment of THB 500,000 immediately, which can increase to THB 1.5 million if they meet all of the consequent evaluation criteria available. There will also be mentorship sessions on pitching, building user experience, business models and marketing, and workshops to practice pitching to investors and understanding legal contracts.
At the end of the programme, winners will be given an opportunity to participate in a two-week long Blackbox Connect programme in the US. Their products will also be pitched to venture capitalists in Singapore and Europe.
Jon Eddy Abdullah, CEO, dtac, said, ” The dtac Accelerate program this year is not just another competition for startups, but a long-term commitment to help drive innovation in the local mobile internet ecosystem.”
The programme will be open for applications from today till April 16, 2014. We have reached out to dtac for more comments on the accelerator programme, and will update accordingly.