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Local firm upbeat on innovation outlays

Thailand can become a destination for deeptech startups to attract global investment in the sectors of tourism, healthcare and agriculture, according to RISE, a Bangkok corporate innovation consultancy.

Local companies have continued to invest in innovation and sustainability, despite economic challenges and funding constraints, said the company.

Leading corporations in Thailand are still investing in startups via corporate venture capital (CVC), venture capital (VC) and direct investment,” said Supachai Pachariyanon, RISE chief executive and co-founder.

Corporate innovation is a medium- to long-term investment and Thailand has the largest CVCs in the region, he said.

In the past few years, corporations have learned by conducting self-assessment on what type of investment models fit them to build innovation and S-curve growth, depending on their strategies and capabilities of their staff, said Mr Supachai.

In terms of future investment, he said corporations plan to increase their shares in targeted startups rather than taking small shares in the startups, as happened previously.

Mr Supachai said the investment trend is venture studios proven to be more efficient and effective. These studios can create and build multiple startups simultaneously and typically have a team of experienced entrepreneur investors.

To accelerate the momentum for innovation investment, RISE is holding the “Corporate Innovation Summit 2023: Accelerating Growth While Saving The World”. The company said the event is Asia’s largest experiential technology and innovation conference.

The event is scheduled for Nov 14-15 at True Digital Park in Bangkok, targeting corporate decision-makers and at least 60 startups already in the Series A funding phase to showcase advanced technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, biotechnology, robotics and climate technology.

Of the participating startups, 80% are from abroad.

“Innovation and sustainability are two sides of the same coin. To achieve long-term business success, leaders must embrace both and use innovation to accelerate their sustainability journey,” said Mr Supachai.

He said RISE wants to build an international mindset for business innovation in Thailand. The country has strong purchasing power, strong corporations, and a geopolitical and geolocation advantage, which can support business-to-business startups.

Thailand needs to be more aggressive in attracting investment via several measures, including improving ease of doing business and digitisation of the government, said Mr Supachai.

While the current global cycle is a slowdown in investment, companies, VCs and individuals still have “dry powder”, meaning cash reserves, for investment, though they remain cautious, he said.

Mr Supachai said he expects this new era of investment to focus on emerging deeptech startups, AI and climate technology spanning clean energy, food tech and electric vehicles.

Climate tech is the only sector that is growing globally, projected to be worth US$6.3 trillion this year, he said.

Mr Supachai said for the past seven years, RISE provided corporate innovation consultancy and accelerated startups, helping businesses and people transform, which created an impact of $2.5 billion or 0.5% of Thailand’s GDP.

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