KASIKORNBANK (KBank) has debuted the KATALYST project to elevate capabilities of Thai startup firms determined to grow their business in line with KBank’s strategies. The initiative aims for business co-creation via knowledge sharing, provision of advice and support by KBank’s various departments and partners which will be conducive to business expansion.
Ms. Kattiya Indaravijaya, KBank President, revealed that most millenials want to start their own business as seen from the proliferation of startup firms. On the global front, a large number of investors and funds have seen investing in startups with potential. Though most of them have created innovations, more than 90 percent cannot survive and succeed. As new startups have joined the fray, competition has become tougher because existing startups, especially large players have formed partnerships and continually enhanced their potential in order to branch out to new markets.
Therefore, startups need an assistant who can be their friend, consultant and partner to help them expand their business and thrive. KBank initiated the KATALYST project to help startups with determination to grow and having business guidelines in line with the strategies of KBank and customers, as well as KBank partners. The collaboration marks an auspicious starting point to upgrade Thailand’s startup business. The KATALYST project can be comparable to a close friend who is ready to give advice to start-ups in various fields, including business models, an application of knowledge and technology and advice on business expansion both at home and abroad. Startups will have a chance to work with KBank’s work units, K Companies, KBank partners and Beacon Venture Capital which will provide investment funding to propel Thai startups toward success.
Currently, more than 600 Thai startups have registered with the National Innovation Agency (Public Organization) (NIA). In 2017, 31 startups received USD106.10 million or THB3.35 billion in venture capital investment, compared to 35 startups with USD61.25 million or THB1.933 billion in venture capital investment in 2018. The trend shows a slowdown, which is attributed to the fact that the growth of Thai startups fails to catch up with the market. KBank hopes that the KATALYST will help develop and strengthen the potential of startups to enable them to attract both domestic and international funding and propel Thai startups to the regional or the global scene in the future.
Mr. Supreecha Limpikanjanakowit, KBank First Senior Vice President, said that startups worldwide tend to have common problems in terms of business management. For example, they don’t have market for their products or services, lack funding and qualified team and face strong competition from their business rivals. Moreover, they struggle to manage cost and price, the quality of their products or services does not match the market needs or their management is not adequately equipped with experience in business and marketing management. The KATALYST project is ready to give advice to startups about these issues to ensure that they provide goods and services that respond to demand of KBank’s customers. The project will support startups with determination to grow further and not limited to any industrial segment. Aspiring startups can seek specific advices from experts from KBank and other organizations.
Startups participating in the KATALYST project will get an opportunity to make a campaign with KBank, which has a customer base of over 14.5 million. In addition, they will have a chance to bolster capital via Beacon Venture Capital Co., Ltd., which is KBank’s venture capital arm, and expand their business bases abroad via KVision Co., Ltd., which has been established by KBank as a holding company to invest in startups and explore innovation at a regional level. They will also have an opportunity to find payment solutions and experiment new technologies invented by KBank and KASIKORN-BUSINESS TECHNOLOGY GROUP (KBTG), namely FastPay solution, FlowAccount, which is a cloud-based accounting platform that can send invoices to K PLUS SME for outstanding balance payments. Aside from a chance to join study visits to leading companies abroad so that they can find guidelines to develop their products and services needed to tap into overseas markets, those startups will receive advice from legal experts from Baker McKenzie and meet executives from leading banks and companies related to their industries.
Mr. Thanapong Na Ranong, Managing Director of Beacon Venture Capital, said that Beacon VC, which is KBank’s venture capital arm, is ready to invest in startups having potential to create financial innovations and new forms of technology that are consistent with and capable of facilitating KBank’s strategies in an efficient and effective manner. In so doing, Beacon VC will assist and support startups participating in the KATALYST project through investment advice. This project will be another channel for Beacon VC to find seed funding for new startups in our portfolio. Beacon VC has already invested in seven companies, namely FlowAccount, Ookbee, Eventpop, Grab, InstaReM, Jitta and Horganice. We expect to invest in 2-3 startups per year from the KATALYST project in the future.