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Source : startupthailand.org
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INVESTMENT STARTUP

REBATEMANGO Acquires DEEDEE Cashback In Thailand

RebateMango.com, the online cashback and loyalty platform, announced the signing of an agreement on the acquisition of large local competitor DeeDee Cashback.  The deal will catapult RebateMango to the top of cashback and loyalty sites in Thailand, having launched in Thailand less than a year ago.

DeeDee Cashback was launched in 2015 and was the first cashback site in Thailand. Users have been benefitting from significant savings when shopping online and being part of the RebateMango eco-system will allow additional benefits plus further choice on how they want their rewards to be paid.

RebateMango has a regional presence in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. The key difference between RebateMango and other cashback sites across the globe is its ability to provide different rewards to consumers doing online shopping, with a choice of cashback, air miles or loyalty points. This deal will bring their total user base to well over 1m across all 3 markets. In Thailand, the strengthened position will allow RebateMango to cover almost 10% of active e-commerce shoppers in the country.

This is the first significant deal of this type in this region within the loyalty space and will help to support the positive growth of e-commerce in the region, which in Thailand is expected to be worth US $5.3bn by 2021 with e-commerce shoppers representing 24.5% of the total population.

Jesper Kauth, Co-Founder of RebateMango and Managing Director of RebateMango Thailand said this is an opportunity for us to significantly expand our user base and push forward with our growth and development plans. DeeDee Cashback has done a fantastic job of growing their business since launch and we look forward to giving their users access to our many deals, offers and choice of rewards available through RebateMango’s web and mobile platforms.

Pawoot Pongvitayapanu, founder and CEO of Tarad.com and advisor for DeeDee Cashback, said this cooperation between the two former rivals will create extraordinary opportunities for both the consolidated company and their many users in Thailand. E-commerce in Thailand continues to experience dramatic growth and RebateMango is in the perfect position to take advantage of that growth to become a very important player in the industry.

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INVESTMENT

BUDGET AIRLINE AIRASIA IS GETTING INTO THE VC

BUDGET AIRLINE AIRASIA IS GETTING INTO THE VC GAME AFTER IT UNVEILED A VENTURE CAPITAL FUND THAT AIMS TO INVEST IN STARTUPS ACROSS THE WORLD.

AIRASIA

The airline announced Redbeat Capital, a $60 million fund that it says will operate independently and seek deals with startups worldwide in areas such as travel, lifestyle, fintech and logistics. The big selling point to prospective companies is the opportunity to tap into AirAsia’s business in Southeast Asia, which claims to cater to 90 million flyers each year.

The fund is targeting a $60 million close, although AirAsia didn’t reveal how much it has secured so far. It will be run out of San Francisco and Southeast Asia, and is working with 500 Startups to source deal flow and exchange ideas.

AirAsia has suffered a stock tumble on financial concerns, but is still valued at more than $2 billion. Redbeat Capital is part of an ambitious strategy to widen AirAsia’s focus and take it beyond simply being an airline, according to group CEO Tony Fernandes.

“I’m determined to change AirAsia from just moving people into something different in five years time. This is a serious step in the whole transformation piece [that’s] no different to when I set up the airline,” Fernandes told TechCrunch in an interview.

“Our first transformation was being a low-cost carrier that uses the web, so our culture has always been in tech,” he added.” We’re now going for our second stage with our platforms,” — those include its BigPay payment service, BigLife app and logistics business.

But a corporate fund this isn’t, at least according to Fernandes.

Redbeat Capital has raised its money from LPs — though it declined to provide details on them — and Fernandes said it will balance both making investments for financial return and boosting AirAsia, too.

The company already has a corporate vehicle — Redbeat Ventures — but that will switch to being an incubator and company-aligned investment vehicle, while its portfolio will transition to Redbeat Capital, Fernandes said.

“We wanted to give it a bit more independence, as opposed to just being an arm of AirAsia… it’s to be seen whether we can execute,” he added.

In terms of deals, Fernandes was fairly coy about precise details other than that it is “post-seed.” He said the fund could write checks as high as $5 million or around $1 million, as needed.

Silicon Valley is a tough market to break into for any first-time investor, and AirAsia doesn’t operate in the U.S. and is relatively unknown in California. But the AirAsia chief believes Redbeat Capital can offer a unique gateway into Southeast Asia, which he believes is frequently overlooked in favor of India or China.

“Competing in India and China is expensive but Southeast Asia is just starting,” he said. “We are looking for companies that want to be strategic with us and use our database and platforms for mutual benefit.”

By that, he explained that AirAsia can use its platform and customer base to help companies acquire users and do marketing, typically two of the largest expenses, in the region.

There’s plenty of optimism around Southeast Asia — a recent report co-authored by Google forecast that the region’s digital economy will triple to reach $240 billion by 2025.

That’s echoed by 500 Startups, which operates funds in Southeast Asia and is currently raising a new global fund.

“[Southeast Asia] has more internet users than the U.S., which presents a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs. To have an industry titan like AirAsia building a bridge with Silicon Valley through its partnership with 500 is exciting for our startups, many of which have ambitions for global scale,” added Christine Tsai, CEO of 500 Startups, in a statement.

Still, it remains to be seen if Redbeat Capital can balance the very different demands of corporate investing with financial-driven deals. Large company funds tend to have less focus on financial, with ROI typically focused on encouraging “innovation” within the parent company or enabling deals to help the bottom line. Profession funds, of course, exist to return the fund and more to their LPs.

Still, Fernandes — whose diverse business interests have included music, British soccer and Formula One racing — is characteristically up for the challenge. He won’t directly be involved, though. The venture will be led by Aireen Omar — deputy group CEO who leads AirAsia’s digital strategy — but her boss is looking on eagerly.

Reference : TechCrunch.com

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BLOG STARTUP

COVID-19 IS STARVING STARTUPS

Thailand Tech Startup Association (TTSA) in an open letter, has called for supporting Thai products and services, plus financial aid scheme for startups because high percentage of the startup sector is poised to starve as the capital and revenues dry up.

COVID-19

Up to 80% of the local startups are struggling financially with revenue drying up in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, consequently some have to lay off staffs or pay cut, according to the TTSA President Panachit Kittipanya-ngam, at a Facebook Live press conference, in the recently online presence of representatives from over 60 members.

He said local startups want to survive and to be an integral part of the country’s digital economy, by providing products and services that could speed up digitalisation in both the public and private sectors.

Support for local startups would mean valuable data would be kept in the country, he said.

A key problem is that capital and revenue is drying up and they can sustain for only next 3-5 months them is drying up, because the startups’ high fixed cost is the wages of staffs and these high skilled workers received an average 50,000 baht in monthly salary.

However, the financial support operated by the government did not suit the nature of startup business causing them an obstacle for financial loan assist. The business of startups so far has focused on investment and their operations mostly have been yet profit so the association asked for the credit criteria that take into account their growth potential.

He said local startups is an integral part of the country’ s digital economy, driving Thailand 4.0 by providing products and services that could speed up digitalisation in both the public and private sectors as well the general public.

The TTSA had submitted an open letter to policymakers keeping the ecosystem of startups based on three standpoints.

Firstly, the public should play a part supporting startups by purchasing products or services provided by startups. Not just the public sector, but also the private and general public can opt for business solutions and services made by startups. “We would like to see the collaborative support of locally made and locally used action.”

Secondly, the financial supporting measures in terms of grants and loans to preserve the companies’ liquidity.

Finally, the government should deliver tools to boost the investment and “merger and acquisition” among startups with large businesses, investors and venture capitals.

“We believe that in the post Covid-19 world, digitization will accelerate driving Thailand 4.0 faster. Having the local platform means valuable data will be kept in the country,” he said.

According to Patai Padungtin, first and former president of the TTSA, local startups in many sectors of tourism, event organizers and services were affected by the global pandemic crisis and were trying their best to adjust their business to survive, but their incomes so far could not compensate the loss.

Unless an urgent support by the government, the startups cannot survive, only half of total startup sector will be left and will cause a serious problem to the overall economy. The foreign platforms with high capital will take advantage and dominate the market in Thailand at the post Covid-19.

Another former head of the TTSA, Vachara Aemavat, said some countries, such as South Korea, imposed a digital boundary for foreign operators, to groom domestic startups. If there is only foreign platforms left, the market will then be dominated by foreign players who will have the power to control prices of products and services, as the case of increasing gross profit of food delivery platform.

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STARTUP

My Band Asks For Tax Relief And Soft Loans

Like many business sectors, MarTech startups were affected by self-quarantine and social distancing order, My Band gets ready for its backup plan to cope with the Covid-19 outbreak for a prolonged period of six months.

Covid-19

According to Kun Sithapath, CEO of My Band, live music band booking platform, the Covid-19 outbreak fully impacted the company because all events of party, wedding, restaurant, pub, bar, concert and music festival were cancelled. April to May this year is the peak period of event bookings, but all were revoked, consequently My Band has lost income and has to change its business model.

The company asked the government for tax relief and soft loans with another six months payment extension after the Covid-19. Not only startups that recovery time is needed, but also startups’ customers. Soft loans is the financial fund to support startups improving business models by creating new products which is a long term plan in case of a protracted period of the Covid-19 outbreak for 6-12 months.

“We thus now focus on improving database system of My Bandplatform, decrease advertising and marketing budget, lessen part-time workers hiring and have our staffs to understand about the pay cuts and furlough so that the business can survive,” he said.

It needed to do monthly assessment along with cutting off marketing budget, and the company expected that the market sentiment might be recovered in early June 2020 or probably prolonged for another six months.

However, said Mr Kun, it will have to change for the new business model if the situation meets the worst case of 6-12 months protracted period because the music band bookings platform cannot survive.

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