In the aftermath of a wild 2021 and the resurgence of Covid-19 in Thailand, 2022 has marked the welcome return of in-person meetings and events for the startup ecosystem in Southeast Asia. On the other hand, 2022 has also seen prices collapse in both the cryptocurrency space and public equity markets, which has created headwinds for startups seeking funding. This year has already seen a flurry of M&A activity and consolidation within various tech industries, and that is expected to continue as investors become more selective and funding becomes more concentrated. Turbulent market conditions notwithstanding, Beacon continues to seek new investment opportunities while finding ways to support its portfolio companies and the Thai startup ecosystem through this difficult time.
Portfolio Review: New Investments
Primo – In early 2022, Beacon and Fuchsia VC joined hands to lead a Pre-Series A investment round in Thai marketing technology firm Primo. Primo provides omnichannel marketing platforms for large enterprises.
Decentralized – In March, Beacon joined Decentralized’s fundraising round. Decentralized is a holding company focusing on direct investments in early stage blockchain companies and digital assets.
Alchemy through Pantera Capital – Beacon co-invested with Pantera Capital into Alchemy. Alchemy provides developers with the tools they need to easily and efficiently create mainstream blockchain applications.
Despite recent volatility in digital asset markets, Beacon continues to invest and seek opportunities to connect with startups who can bridge the gap between traditional finance and DeFi, and which are driving adoption of Web3.0 by the masses. As the corporate venture arm of KBank, Beacon also looks for opportunities to support KBank’s initiatives in growing beyond traditional banking.
Beacon News and Updates: Research
In addition to supporting KBank’s internal initiatives with research on new trends and technologies, Beacon regularly publishes research to stimulate conversation and share knowledge for the benefit of the Thai startup community. This year, the Beacon team has explored a wide array of topics in Beacon’s bi-monthly newsletter, including the Metaverse, Token Fundraising, and ESG Investing.
Beacon News and Updates: Community Building
A ‘friend of startups’, KATALYST supports the community in three main areas: ecosystem building, embedded payments and services, and strategic collaboration.
A Friend of Startups
Since the beginning of this year, KATALYST has worked with “Creative Talk” to produce the monthly talk series “KATALYST Talk” via ClubHouse, Youtube, and Facebook Live. Opinion leaders and startup owners inside and outside Thailand are invited to exchange ideas and experiences on how to operate businesses. KATALYST Talk has had great feedback from the community, with more than 100 attendees joining each talk.
In June 2022, KATALYST also sponsored workshops at Creative Talk Conference 2022 for Beacon’s portfolio companies, including FlowAccount, Jitta, Cryptomind, Fungjai (Ookbee’s group company), and Digio. The topics ranged from financial planning through smart accounting and financial records to digital asset investment and NFT brand marketing. KATALYST and Beacon also gave opportunities for startups to connect one-on-one and gain insights from investors including Fuchsia VC, Vertex Ventures and Openspace Ventures.
A Gateway to Financial Services and Collaboration
Small businesses often find it difficult to connect to corporations for partnership and collaboration. Speaking in the same language, KATALYST has helped startups to find the right products and services for their needs, and is the first gateway to exclusive collaboration with Kasikorn Group. Examples of projects from this past year include:
FlowAccount: FlowAccount users can gain easy access to commercial loan via K+ application.
Drivehub: Kasikorn Leasing collaborated with Drivehub allowing car rental service providers all over Thailand to offer car leasing at a special rate.
Aspire: KATALYST and Aspire worked together to organize a knowledge sharing webinar on “Cash Flow Management Optimization” to startups in KATALYST’s community.
What to look forward to in the second half of 2022
KATALYST x Microsoft Thailand
KATALYST and Microsoft Thailand will jointly organize business matching between corporates and startups to find the right growth-driving solution through Microsoft Azure Marketplace. Startups joining the project will gain other benefits from Microsoft Thailand such as mentorship from Microsoft Thailand’s CEO and access to Microsoft for Startups. Startups can easily keep up with KATALYST’s activities here.
KATALYST STARTUP LAUNCHPAD 2022
KATALYST STARTUP LAUNCHPAD is an annual 9-week intensive course as part of a research project of the Stanford Thailand Research Consortium, led by Charles Eesley, an associate professor at Stanford University. Last year, 65 teams were selected to join the program. This year, participants will gain access to the Tech Innovation & Entrepreneurship E-Learning course and mentorship session from experts in various industries. The program is a great opportunity for early stage startups to learn and connect to the right people in the industry. Click here for more detail about this program.