For an emerging digital startup Thailand offers more than a business location. Bangkok, in particular, has been gaining a stronghold among the community of startups in Asia. Through enabling government and private sector support, the startup Bangkok scene is being transformed into an epicenter of tech activity in the region.
Many tech professionals made the decision to locate in Bangkok due to cost-effective reasons. After all, starting a new company requires an influx of funding.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Bangkok is probably a big factor in attracting start-ups to relocate. Unlike cities with major technology hubs all over the world, residential rentals here are relatively cheap. Depending on the location, it is possible to rent a comfortable studio for less than $500 a month. Some are even fully furnished, which takes away a chunk of the tech professional’s housing budget. Plus, food options vary from cheap to gourmet meals. A tech professional on a shoestring budget can hit the Bangkok street food market and spend less than $5. Savings shaved from food and living expenditures can be used to fund other startup costs.
Coworking and Networking Opportunities
For those who are building their company on a shoestring budget, an option would be to find a coworking space in Bangkok with shared office arrangements at a fraction of the cost. As a booming tech hub, it won’t be difficult to find a coworking space in Bangkok. There are companies, at various seed stage development, who are willing to network with other startups.
Incentives and Infrastructure
There are also available incentives for startup companies. Aside from the opportunity to get ideas funded through venture capitalists or angel investors, the government also offers incentives for Thai startups, including potential tax incentives from the Board of Investment. Bangkok also has a great digital infrastructure setup, which is necessary for any budding tech company.
From a shared office Bangkok offers an opportunity for small companies to become the next best thing in the startup community while working in a thriving cosmopolitan city. There are vast green spaces, such as Lumpini park, around the city where tech professionals can breathe and relax. Thailand itself is known as a tropical paradise. Destinations such as Koh Samet and even tourist central Pattaya can be enjoyed on a quick weekend getaway.
In a setup involving a shared office Bangkok tech entrepreneurs planted the seeds for innovative applications and programs. During the past few years, the number of funded startups have grown exponentially, from less than 10 in 2012 to more than 70 in 2016. Thai startup groups have emerged after germinating from a facilitative supportive environment. The startups run the gamut from angel investors to crowdfunding, service-oriented, and social giving startups.
Central to the funding environment are the venture capitalists, such as 500 Tuk Tuks, who spurred the establishment of more startups. This Thai investor group is a branch of California-based 500 Startup, who invested around $10million as a micro-fund for emerging digital companies.
Asiola is another Thailand-based startup. The company created the first crowdfunding platform for Thailand. Since its launching, the site now features local projects and initiatives seeking funding from the community. Meanwhile, the ecosystem also produced social enterprises such as Social giver, a startup that combines shopping with fundraising. Just recently, Google launched two new startups during a technology boot camp. One of them, Wongnai, introduced a local restaurant database application.
Outlook in 2017
More startups in Asia are creating their own thriving technology ecosystems, with the Bangkok scene projected to create an impact this year. More supportive steps have been taken by the government and the private sector to spur growth.
In 2016, Thailand’s Ministry of Information and Communication Technology announced plans to establish a $285 million digital economy fund to further boost the startup Bangkok community. According to local officials, the goal is to accelerate the development of more digital-based companies. The ministry also bared plans to launch a startup incubator in collaboration with the private sector and local universities to help the Thai startup community in areas such as research and development.
For a startup Thailand, specifically Bangkok, offers a thriving environment where ideas and concepts can accelerate into real applications and programs. Due to facilitative factors such as public-private support and capital infusion, the local startup community is projected to grow in the coming years.
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