Japanese investors seek Thai tech startups for regional expansion

Photo via Bangkok Post

Thai tech startups have caught the attention of Japanese investors, who are keen to support their expansion into regional markets, according to an executive at Bank of Ayudhya (Krungsri). Southeast Asia, and Thailand in particular, are considered prime investment locations for Japanese investors, who see potential in the country’s high-growth tech startups.

Bunsei Okubo, head of Japanese corporate and multinational banking at Krungsri, highlighted the opportunity for Japanese investors to back Thai startups in their regional expansion efforts. Recently, Krungsri and its partners organised the Japan-ASEAN Startup Business Matching Fair 2023, which aimed to provide startups with investment opportunities and support for growth beyond ASEAN. The event attracted 160 investors from Japan and the region and featured over 60 startups, including 18 from Thailand.

Okubo said…

“We expect at least 10 business matching deals to be generated from the event within the next three years including Japanese-Thai deals. Moreover, Krungsri is ready to provide financial support and investment through a venture-capital model to help the businesses to grow.”

In addition to financial assistance, Krungsri and its parent company, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), will offer “total solutions” for startups, including technological expertise, business insights, advisory services, and networking opportunities.

Sam Tanskul, managing director at Krungsri Innovate, revealed that three Japanese-Thai deals have already materialised under the bank’s business matching project for small and medium-sized enterprises. Krungsri Innovate recently invested in a 19th local startup, PropTech, and plans to increase capital for the business expansion of four more local startups in the next two months, reported Bangkok Post.

Tanskul also mentioned that the company is collaborating with MUFG to search for investment opportunities in Vietnamese and Indonesian tech startups, particularly in the fintech sector. This investment strategy aims to support Krungsri’s consumer banking business in the region.

Furthermore, Krungsri Finnovate (KFIN) intends to launch a second private equity (PE) trust fund worth 1 billion baht for institutional and high-net-worth investors in the fourth quarter of this year.

The PE fund will invest in early-stage Thai startups, from series C to pre-series A stage, according to Tanskul. The first PE trust fund, established in August 2021, provided a 14% return on investment from nine tech startups.

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