How Bright is Thai Startup Scene?
Adam Sharpe talks about stumbling across an exciting startup community in Bangkok, and how it will prove invaluable to his own success.
Launching your own startup can be daunting wherever you are in the world. But when you make Thailand your launch pad, a country under military rule, the task can feel all the more unnerving.
Thailand is still a great place to be for many reasons. It’s the hub of Southeast Asia and is home to many different cultures, ethnicities and nationalities. Being one of strongest economies in the region, the cost of living is affordable. It’s not difficult to understand why thousands of expats like us choose to stay despite the recent news headlines. However, the best reason to launch Crowdid in Thailand had yet to reveal itself to us.
The co-working revolution
Scanning the net for offices, we were surprised to find ourselves inundated with co-working spaces to choose from. They were dotted across Bangkok. One stood out for us and that was Hubba – the city’s first co-working space for tech and creative startups. Tick!
As soon as we walked into the place, we knew it was the best place for us to launch Crowdid; a cosy two-storey house stocked with web designers, coders, app developers and gamers from around the world.
We soon discovered that all these co-working spaces including Pah, Cluster Office, Pun Space, Hubba and more were a part of Coworking United. This collective of office spaces was founded to help drive a revolution in the way we work and encourage technology leaders, entrepreneurs, investors and creators to come together and build entrepreneurship ecosystems. We knew immediately that we had to be a part of it.
A real startup community
In no time our calendar was filled with events that were relevant to our business and mission. A WordPress Meetup, a social media crash course, a Geeks on a Plane Startup Showcase, a Pocket Playlab party for game developers, a Women’s Startup Weekend were just some of the events going on. It seemed like at every event we met at least one person we could work with.
We’d had no idea that a bustling energetic and ambitious tech startup community had been growing for years right under our noses. And by launching Crowdid, we were thrust right into the middle of it.
One of the people who made it his business to fill our calendars was Amarit Charoenphan aka Aim, Co-founder, Hubba. He realised while trying to become an entrepreneur himself how a support network is desperately needed for entrepreneurs in his home country.
“The environment in Thailand wasn’t at all conducive to entrepreneurship,” he told me. “We knew that becoming an entrepreneur was something many Thais aspired to do but the Government, the banks and the private sector don’t do the best job in supporting them. Moreover there was always this culture of secrecy in Thailand, an idea that if you work with too many people who aren’t your family or friends that you’d get screwed. … There are very few ways to make a name for yourself, be successful and well off in the private sector, unless you have a big last name or your Dad is a big shot in some company.”
By building a co-working space, Aim was able to bring a scattered tech community together, becoming the catalyst for a host of other co-working spaces across Bangkok.
“Today we’re inspired not just to help entrepreneurs have fun, to make friends and collaborate in the space, but also to get s**t done. We want to see the projects that come out of Hubba be successful.”
The future is bright
There are so many reasons to be excited by Bangkok’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
* Human resource: We have a network of talented professionals in our industry we can hire right on our doorstep.
* Information sharing: This community is full of knowledge and information that we are all ready and willing to share with one another. Sharing is key to our success.
* The economy: The community acts as a support network helping those within the community succeed. When startups succeed, jobs are created and the economy benefits.
* Inspiration: Being surrounded by other startups is important psychologically. Starting your own business is hard work and it can feel lonely when your team is still small. Knowing you’re not alone is invaluable.
There is an exciting independent professional sub-culture being driven by Thais like Aim and expats who want to innovate, to educate and to share their knowledge and resources for the betterment of the community. Bangkok’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is working and we are committed to helping it grow.