Event: Fireside Chat with aCommerce CEO, Paul Srivorakul
Host: Startup Grind Bangkok
Sponsors: Google for Entrepreneurs, Digital Ventures, Launchpad
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Date: December 12, 2017
Brief synopsis of Bangkok Startup Community (read more here)
Like any startup community, Bangkok has a plethora of entrepreneurs and founders; skilled players looking to join startups; specialised lawyers and accountants; non-profits, NGO's, schools and government institutions empowering and investing in entrepreneurs; accelerators, incubators and co-working spaces; tech writers, bloggers, media, and event organisers; and the most coveted and smallest group Angel Investors, Venture Capitalists, and Corporate Venture Capitalists. Bangkok's startup community is unique in it's own way, and I'm happy that I've taken on the role to write about the startup community and tech events. What I'm even more happy about is that after 2 years, I'm finally meeting and mingling with Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists (we really need to work on the connectivity!) but the timing is perfect :)
How I learned about Startup Grind Bangkok
I joined Startup Grind Tel Aviv when I was living in Israel, though I was based in Haifa, it was very easy to hop on the train to Tel Aviv, and at all their events I met many entrepreneurs, founders, students, engineers, developers, investors, and pretty much everyone in the startup ecosystem (it's a really small country and very inter-connected). So when I moved to Bangkok 2 years ago and looked for Startup Grind I didn't find the Bangkok chapter, so I made due and went to other tech events, meet ups, and soon created my own group, the Ladies Afternoon Tea Network, an exclusive group for female entrepreneurs and business owners in Bangkok. Every Monday, for the group I post "Events happening this week" and on the Facebook events I found Startup Grind Bangkok and they were having an event this week! So I signed up and paid for my ticket (no lucky draw this time), and was excited to see what this chapter would be like.
Speaker: Paul Srivorakul, aCommerce
Moderator: Surawat (Sam) Promyotin, CEO STYLHUNT,
Bangkok Venture Club
Startup Grind Bangkok: Paul Ark, Digital Ventures
With 55 attendees (got the exact number from Paul Ark), the event began with an hour of networking, light snack boxes and drinks, as guest sat and streamed into the main event space in Launchpad. As I was taking pictures and eyeing the room I met Paul Ark, Startup Grind Bangkok director and Managing Director of Siam Commercial Bank's Corporate Venture Capital Digital Ventures Group, who also happened to be sponsoring the event. After sharing our stories and experience in the Bangkok startup scene the fireside chat finally begun. The last time I heard a speaker speak so bluntly about being an entrepreneur was when I was in Israel, Srivorakul spoke frankly about the different layers of business: logistics, Ecommerce, advertising, and media, and how big and small business should look at all the layers of this stream, new players globally and regionally are expanding their services to dominate all 4 parts of these layers. Because big companies have cash to burn, if you're a small startup up you'll either be acquired, eliminated, or f*cked because its a winner take all game.
His advice for startups is to have multiple streams of income, and to have personal product/brand to remain competitive, for example retailers now have to be more unique and not be dependent on distributors to resell goods. Essentially, people don't want to look like their friends and neighbours so they rather order from abroad than shop at retail chains. The talk soon shifted to China and how the two biggest players, Alibaba and Tencent, are carving up SE Asia, and both are super aggressive, can bring in their own people, and at some point VC's, Private Equity, and even banks will have to choose a side, (and you don't want to be on the wrong side!). As for startups, founders will eventually have to play this game too and figure out who's the enemy, of my enemy, of my enemy and hope to be on the winning side. Lastly, for startups in Thailand, they must think globally, essentially how they can scale because the market in Thailand is too small.
After the talk it was time for questions, and I love asking questions, so I quickly raised my hand and asked how beauty giants are reacting to small beauty brands that are tech-savvy, has an following/community, and has all the layers (logistics, ecommerce, advertising, and media)? Sirvorakul gave me a very insightful answer (a lot to think about) and for the next 15 minutes he took questions from other curious attendees. Overall, I'm very happy that I attended this event and met really interesting entrepreneurs, such as Elle, founder of Her Highness Beauty, Meili, Senior Associate of Corporate Venture Capital at PTT Public Company, and had the opportunity to talk with Srivorakul and Promyotin. I'll definitely be attending the next Startup Grind Bangkok event!
As always, thank you for reading! And check out for the full video of the talk below!
Read my last article about the Blockchain World Conference :)