WEDNESDAY, April 17, 2024

Ten Japanese start-ups put forward their ideas to Thai investors

Ten Japanese start-ups put forward their ideas to Thai investors

Ten Japanese tech startups in biotechnology and artificial intelligence impressed potential Thai venture capital firms and investors with their innovative solutions during the fifth edition of Rock Thailand, a special pitching event that allows Japanese start-ups looking to do business in Thailand to meet potential partners.

The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), the Japan Embassy in Thailand, the Japan External Trade Organisation, Charoen Pokphand Group (CP Group) and True Digital Park co-hosted the one-day event in which dozens of Thai corporate venture capital and investors eagerly participated.

This online/onsite event, themed “Empowering Growth in ASEAN”, aims to foster mutual collaboration to promote a new economy between Japan and Thailand in the digital economy era.

METI Minister Nishimura Yasutoshi presided over the event.

In his opening remarks, Nishimura emphasised Thailand’s importance as Japan’s partner and expressed his pleasure at returning to this year’s event following the success of last year’s Rock Thailand, which successfully promoted collaboration between Japanese startups and Thai conglomerates.

“For Japan, Thailand is an essential partner and one with which Japan has built many important supply chains, particularly in the automotive industry. There are currently some 6,000 Japanese companies in Thailand. This is the third highest number after China and the US,” he said, adding that Thailand and Japan have been working together to advance their industrial development.

Nishimura Yasutoshi

According to METI, the event has resulted in some successful collaborations between Thai companies and Japanese start-ups since its inception in 2019.

As examples, he cited Umitron, Neural Group, Sagri, Regional Fish, and Zero Board, which are working together with Thai partners to develop new business models such as in aquaculture using gene editing technology, visualisation of greenhouse gas emissions across the entire supply chain, and agritech using data analysis from satellites, drones and sensors installed in various locations to improve productivity.

“The start-ups that will be presenting their ideas later today also have high ambitions to transform the world with their innovative technologies and ideas in various fields, such as manufacturing, AI, decarbonisation, biotechnology, and digital transformation,” he said.

Supachai Jiarawanon

Next to take the podium was CP Group CEO Supachai Jiarawanon who noted that Rock Thailand represents a significant collaboration between Japan and Thailand in the tech start-up business.

The event would benefit both countries by fostering technological innovations that will assist them in dealing with economic, social, and environmental challenges at a time when businesses all over the world require new models for confronting challenges with accountability and sustainability, he noted.

He said that promoting tech start-ups in Thailand and ASEAN should focus on developing business partnerships as well as investing in deep tech to develop green businesses in the region.

Ten Japanese start-ups put forward their ideas to Thai investors

"Business cooperation between Japan and Thailand through co-creation is key to supporting and empowering start-ups to grow strongly as well as being an inspiration for start-ups in Thailand and ASEAN to do business to create a sustainable world," CP Group CEO said.

If properly promoted and supported, it can attract investors to invest in ASEAN start-ups, thereby strengthening the regional economy, he added.

JETRO President Kuroda Jun emphasised Thailand's important business role for Japanese companies and startups, saying that the event will foster close collaboration, resulting in positive outcomes for all parties.

Kuroda Jun He noted that this type of collaboration remains in its early stages, which means there is still work and support to be done.

METI Minister Nishimura said that METI was committed to providing various support measures, such as subsidies, loans, tax breaks, and systems, to ensure the “co-creation” that Rock Thailand generates between Japanese start-ups and Thai conglomerates.

Those supportive measures included approximately 25 billion baht to support deep tech start-ups' overseas research and development projects, and another 5 billion baht to support overseas investment expansion in collaboration with domestic and international venture capital firms.

He then added that METI is now working to secure a budget of around 36 billion baht for emerging and developing countries as a whole.

“It is my conviction that if the public and private sectors in Japan and Thailand cooperate through various channels, we can co-create innovations that will contribute to solving societal challenges around the world. Japan will spare no effort in striking the balance between solving societal challenges and achieving growth in close collaboration with the ASEAN region," he said.

Ten Japanese start-ups put forward their ideas to Thai investors

True Digital chairman Natwut Amornvivat, one of the corporate venture capitalists, said that all start-ups are valuable and interesting to collaborate with.

However, he urged them to take into account the local Thai context when considering providing their solutions on a large scale in Thailand, as well as to be cost-conscious.

Ten Japanese start-ups put forward their ideas to Thai investors

Rock Thailand is a pioneering initiative for fostering innovation. Since 2019, it has promoted strategic alliances between various innovative Japanese start-ups and Thai conglomerates.

This year’s 10 startups are Extra Bold, Caddi (Thailand), Recursive, Quwak, Spiber (Thailand), Thermalytica, Towing, Plant Life Systems, Kaico and Bacchus Bio Innovation.