Innovation agency will support deep-tech startups

Thailand’s National Innovation Agency (NIA) has plans to support the development of at least 100 deep-tech startups in the next three years to spur the growth of the Kingdom’s technology ecosystem, sustain competitiveness and create jobs.

“Deep tech is the next phase of growth for Thailand’s startup ecosystem because it draws support from large corporations and conglomerates in Thailand and entices investment from foreign venture capitalists,” said Pun-arj Chairatana, NIA Executive Director.

Deep tech startups create solutions based on significant scientific or engineering challenges. The NIA regards deep-tech fields as covering bio-based materials, energy, food, farming, astronomy, medical fields and genomics.

Thailand has not yet been known for having a wealth of deep tech firms, but the country’s planners are determined to grow and support this element of technological advancement. It fits neatly into the 20-year National Strategy called “Thailand 4.0” that seeks to raise the Kingdom’s level of development.

“Deep tech creates high-value employment and prepares the workforce for the future. In the region, venture capitalists are interested in investing in Bangkok, Singapore and Jakarta for deep tech and critical digital startups,” Pun-arj said.

He added that over 30 corporate venture capital funds had contacted him expressing interest in investing in deep tech startups in Thailand.

To support the startup ecosystem, the NIA has partnered with True Corporation, a communications conglomerate in Thailand, to create a cyber-technology district in the Sukhumvit 101 area of Bangkok. True has built a digital park there that is home to 91 startups and 53 established companies.

True Corporation executives have said that one of their goals is to help create seven startups that will become unicorns. A unicorn is a startup that achieves a valuation of at least $1 billion.

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