True Corporation, a Thai telecom conglomerate, recently announced the six finalists that will be participating in its incubation fund program, True Incube. Partnering up with 500 Startups, a global incubation venture fund, these six teams will receive an initial funding of THB 500,000 (US$15,598) and join its 99-day boot camp to kickstart growth in Thailand.
Punnamas Vichitkulwongsa, the managing director of True Incube, said that they have seen more than 150 teams sign up for True Incube since their launch in early-May. He added:
“Six finalist teams have been selected to receive seed funding of [THB] 500,000 and to join an intensive 99-day Boot Camp, plus training and consultation with experts and mentors from the True Incube team and the 500 Startups team. This includes an opportunity for the most ready team to learn directly from 500 Startups mentors in Silicon Valley. All teams will pitch to 500 Startups and have an opportunity to receive investment from 500 Startups as well.”
Punnamas also shared that True Incube’s collaboration with 500 Startups reflects the incubator’s commitment in building a “vibrant technology startup ecosystem in Thailand” and help these participants “be successful in the global scale”. The press release noted that these Thai entrepreneurs will be provided with the “opportunity to learn from the expertise and experience of more than 200 mentors in the 500 Startups network.”
The six finalist teams of True Incube are:
What’s the difference?
Given that True Incube is the latest incubator set up by a Thai telco, after its competitors DTAC and AIS, we were curious to know if there were any key differences. Punnamas said that firstly, they have “a management team with first-hand experience in building successful tech startup business.” He then added that each member of their team is passionate about the tech startup scene. I thought this was something most incubators would boast about, but well, you never know whether the team in another incubator is truly passionate.
Secondly, they have a “full-time” boot camp. As opposed to incubators which allow founders to continue their day-job while enrolled, True Incube requires all participating founders to quit their jobs in order for them to join the program. A little too harsh? Perhaps, but having a level of commitment helps propel these founders forward.
Lastly, Punnamas shared that True Incube has the resources and capabilities to push startup teams to extremes. He said,
“[...] We can leverage True Corporation’s capabilities, our mentors network and our global partners in Gobi Partners and 500 Startups in helping True Incube startup teams to succeed in their businesses. True Corporation can provide all kinds of support whether in knowledge or infrastructure. Our mentors can provide their first hand entrepreneur experience. Our global partners can provide global perspective of their businesses as well as expansion to other markets.”
Why six? Why not five?
Six is an even number, but it is kind of odd. Most accelerator programs try to keep to a rounded number, like five or 10. In the beginning, True Incube was no different. Punnamas shared, “We felt that 5 is the right number for us in the beginning. However, with so many high quality teams applying for True Incube, we felt we should take an additional one team to our program.”
These six teams were very unique in their own ways, added Punnamas. He then explained that the batch is made up of both fresh graduates and experienced veterans from diverse backgrounds.
The CP Group story
Consolidated under the CP Group conglomerate, True Corporation has an added advantage of being well-connected. Punnamas shared, “Our businesses are very diverse ranging from food to retail. Fortunately, most of our related technology businesses are under True Corporation and thus this will allow our startup teams to easily gain access to other tech-related business units.”
Should a startup require cloud services or access to e-payment systems, True Incube can link them up with True Internet Data Center and True Money teams. If these startups need to test their solutions with retail outlets, True You units have a list of networks. If they wish to speak to 7-Eleven stores, CP All company under the CP Group can be of use to them.
He didn’t mention anything about the sustenance but I’m guessing if the six teams go thirsty, they can get some food and drinks at True Coffee.