2017 it seems is the year for Thai banks jumping on the start-up investment song tao, with Krungsri bank getting into the action with a new 950million baht fund called Finovate.
Similar to Kasikorns fund, they are going to be supporting fin-tech mostly, with an accelerator, startup project management, and venture capital as their primary focus.
I'm so tired of going to a bank in need of something; I should be able to do online, only to have the desk clerk make a call to their own customer service help desk. It makes no sense, how much do they spend on call center wages a year, if every branch has to call their center to get information on my account because there is no connected network. It boggles the mind... so yeah, you guys keep investing in others while your systems are still failing.
Anyway, Krungsri has appointed Mr. Sam Tanskul to head this project, and they're looking to be involved in AI & machine learning, Big data & data analytics, Blockchain, Biometric authentication, Digital lendings and Robo advisors, so if that's your field, I will look to Krungsri 's Finovate.
Not that long ago China bike sharing service OFO launched in Bangkok, it planned to first launch into Universities and then into the greater public areas, with over 11000 bright yellow bikes to be found throughout the city, over the next month or so.
While OFO has seen incredible adoption globally, with over 6.5 million bikes across six countries, 100 million users of their app and more than 2 billion rides since they launched in 2015.... I'm not convinced that it will take off here.
In a technode article, it was stated that "OFO Staff are hopeful about the uptake in Bangkok, in part due to the city’s horrendous traffic conditions." As a bike rider my self, I think it's because of the traffic conditions that we will not see the scale that you would in other countries.
Ofo has raised around over 1 billion dollars in its last two rounds of funding, so I don't think that it's going to be too big a problem for them if Thailand doesn't work out, but just to put it in perspective, they have raised over 150,000 USD per bike in capital.
Singapore based food and grocery delivery company, Honestbee, announced the launch of its logistics service, Honestbee Goodship, in Bangkok a few days ago.
They will initially focus on “last-mile” same-day or next-day e-commerce deliveries for all business, similar to what they do now with their grocery deliveries, and they aim to provide on-demand delivery, in under an hour, similar to Amazon's service elsewhere.
Goodship, which it has been trailing in Bangkok for several months, has already surpassed its Honestbee food and grocery services in volume, which already offers same day or 1-hour delivery services from stores.
It’s targeting 50,000-plus orders per day during the next 12 months, so if you are looking for last mile services they may be worth a look in, as I'm sure their launch pricing will be pretty competitive.
Lastly, I want to talk about China and their current stance on Bitcoin. Firstly for those that don't really know, Bitcoin or cryptocurrencies are decentralized, digital currencies that are created or mined by computers processing transactions, then bought and sold on exchanges around the world.
There are hundreds of different currencies, as anyone that can code can set up a cryptocurrency, but, they only grow in value if they are used by a large number of people. Their popularity is what gives them their value, as the top 2 currencies are Bitcoin and Ethererum, and most people will have heard of them.
So, in Dec 2013, China’s central bank and five other government ministries announced that Bitcoin is not money, and it should not be used as currency in the market.
The Chinese people listened to this statement it seems, as within ten months China had the second biggest Bitcoin exchange in the world, BTC China.
A few years down the road, China houses some of the largest Bitcoin mines in the world, and it's now commonplace for mining consortiums to buy power directly from the state-owned power grid at wholesale prices.
In January, digital currency publication Coindesk estimated that about 85 percent of the world’s bitcoin trading volume came from China
That all culminated recently in a crackdown by the Chinese government, and in response, BTCChina tweeted, "After carefully considering the announcement published by Chinese regulators... BTCChina Exchange will stop all trading... at the end of September.”
Then, Chinese authorities say, any startups raising money with Initial coin offerings or ICOs, can no longer be held in the country. Any current fundraising must be halted, and all completed ICOs must liquidate and refund investors.