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App War: a Thai movie that dares to tell a startup story5 min read

Posted by
Posted date August 10, 2018
Can Thai movie App War really disrupt the movie industry?
In the movie theaters now is App War, a story about a battle between two startups. It is the first Thai movie that dares to tell a story about startups.

Why do we say “dare”?  Within the tech business circle “startups” are nothing new, but they are not exactly well known to the general public.  There are still many people who still ask, “What is a startup?”.  It is also well known that App War’s creator, T Moment, a new film studio that separated from GTH, did not get much money from its first movie, Oversize Cops.  So attempting to tell a story about ideas that are rather new about the startup world for its second release, App War, takes a lot of guts coming from the movie industry.

Please note that this review is not a movie review, but a look at how App War gives glimpses of what the startup world is really like.

App War between who?

For those who have not seen the trailer yet, here is synopsis of what it is all about.  Bomb and June are the creators of apps that are very similar to each other that just so happen to be coming out at the same time.  Both have to compete against each other for a hundred million Baht funding (according to what the movie’s PR says) from Tantai, an investor.  War is declared and both teams end up playing dirty.  Relationships develop and it is a romantic comedy.

Are there apps like the ones in App War in real life?

Similar apps like the ones in this movie do really exist.  For those who remember, Techsauce once wrote a story about an app called dipify – a startup that is sort of like a dating app, which matches people according to their interests and their online activities.  This app at the end folded.  We will have to see if there are any dating apps left in the Thai market.

What dating apps are there in the market now?

Noonswoon – This dating app uses the concept of matching couples at noon.  It has now 100% joined up with DateTix Group, a dating company listed on Australia’s stock market already.

MOREMATE – This is a dating app/social network.

Available – This is an dating app by MeetNLunch company.

Kooup – This dating app is from Duang Sompong app, a dating app based on horoscope and the proximity of a couple.  It is adapted to the Asian culture.

Other than these apps, there is also Tinder that is mentioned in the movie as well.  This app is well known in Thailand and oversees.

What does the movie say about startups?

For those who are not in the startup world, it may be hard to understand what exactly are startups, what they do, and how they find funding.  This film is able to give a clear explanation and attract interest in startups, making them “cool” to the mainstream audience.  Techsauce wants to give a shoutout to the writer of the movie for providing many inspirational words and moments.  In addition to these moments, there were a lot of technical terms such as unicorn, Series A, and Exit.

What are the “bugs” in the movie?

Like an app that might have “bugs”, glitches, the movie has some too.  One of the most important and anticipated scenes in this movie is the pitching scene that is seen as the climax of the film.  In the movie the pitches are done in Thai, which is quite different to real life pitches where it is a common practice to use English.  (We understand that Thai was probably the best choice given the movie being Thai.)  What was disappointing was the word “pitching” was quite scarce in a movie that was supposed to be about pitching.  Instead right from the beginning to the end of the movie the word, “present”, was used.

Another sticky issue was the hundred million Baht or Series A funding that was mentioned in the movie.  Kooup Co-founder and CTO Daron Tancharoen says, “It is not strange to see this amount of funding, but an app really has to have a significant amount of users to be able to get this amount of funding.”  This movie did not clearly specify the amount of funding the investor gave to the startups.

Other than this, both startups Inviter and Amjoin did not really present a business model that we could see.  We did not see how they were going to make profit clearly, which is a very important factor that judges and investors ask about.

Lastly an important thing that the movie did not use was the viral word that comes with the word “startup”, and that is “disruption”.  The word was not mentioned at all and was never used to explain how startups such as Uber, Airbnb, and Grab have disrupted the world.

In short, what do we think?

App War may not be perfect, but it is a movie that dares to tell a story about something that no one has never talked about.  In the movie it mentions, “Elders do not understand what we are doing.”  This is what the startup world is like.  The movie reflects the new generation that does not want to join the corporate world and work full time in an office.  This generation instead wants to solve problems to make the world a better place.  Another thing that the movie shows is that you don’t need to be able to write codes to create a startup.  You can always hire someone that can code, do marketing, and the founder does not always have to be a guy.  This movie can serve as an inspiration for the new generation to be brave enough to risk creating a startup if they want to.

Performing one of the main characters, Aor BNK48, said in an interview at SF Cinema,

I have never heard of it (startup world) before.  I even thought that it might just be something made up.  I really was not sure if it was real or not.  I think other kids my age probably think the same.  So with the release of this movie, I am sure people will have a better understanding of startups.

Is the startup world really becoming more accepted in the world?  See for yourself at the movie theater.  

*This story was translated from บทวิเคราะห์ ‘App War แอปชนแอป’ หนังไทยเรื่องแรกที่กล้าเล่าเรื่อง Startup

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