The trend of Digital Startup continues to be highly popular in Thailand and has become a key to driving the Thailand’s Digital Economy or Thailand 4.0. Meanwhile, government agencies such as the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society and Software Industry Promotion Agency (Public Organization) or SIPA are making substantial progress and steering the direction of Digital Startups in Thailand. However, the path towards a world class digital start up is not an easy one.
It’s not simple to become unicorn startup. A unicorn startup is not that mythical creature with a single horn. In the startup industry, it means a startup business with a value over one billion US dollars.
Let’s take a look at the Top 10 Unicorn Startups with revenues reaching tremendously high amounts, not unlike its namesake fairy tales (i.e. Uber, Xiaomi, Airbnb).
From the latest Rankings of Wall Street and Down Jones VentureSource for the Top 10 Startup businesses with values exceeding one billion US dollars, Uber is ranked number 1, valued at 68 billion US dollars. Second and third go to Xiaomi and Airbnb, valued at 46 billion dollars and 25.5 billion dollars respectively.
Aside from the top 3, six of the top ten firms are from the U.S. while the other four firms are from Asia (see attached table).
Billion Dollar Startup
1.Uber 68 BM US
2.Xaomi 46 BM AS
3.Air BNB 25.5 BM US
4.Didi Chuxing 25 BM AS
5.Palantir 20 BM US
6.Meituan-dianping 18.3 BM AS
7.SnapChat 16 BM US
8.WEwork 16 BM US
9.FlipKart 15 BM AS
10.SpaceX 12 BM US
WallStreet and Down Jones Venture Suorce
Among the World Top-10 Unicorn Startups, Uber is a startup originating from the U.S., well known for how the application developer connected passengers with taxi drivers. The application is popular across the world. It took Uber only 6 years to develop its business to become the world’s number one taxi application with a business evaluation worth over 68,000 million US dollars.
Uber has become a legend in Startup businesses known worldwide within a span of 6 years. However, Uber faced numerous obstacles. Uber was not successful in Europe due to the EU anti-Uber taxi drivers. While in Asia, Uber also faced resistance from the taxi industry as well as new competitors, especially from applications by Chinese developers entering into partnerships with local services with comparable strength.
Interesting applications like Didi Kuaidi or Didi Chuxing is derived from the emergence of Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache, until reaching a business size of over 25,000 million US dollars and becoming the number 4 of Giant Startup Businesses.
China has become an attractive battlefield for both application and service providers. Although Uber seems to be more successful with its remarkable profits in 2015, Didi Kuaidi seems to be a formidable competitor in the long run with back-up and support from companies like Rakuten, Alibaba, and Tencent.
Xiaomi is a smartphone manufacturer that evolved from the eCommerce business. Although Xiaomi’s growth model is similar to that of Amazon, the distinction of Xiaomi lies in its unique and eye-catching development of smartphones with functions and features second to none, making Xiaomi a very popular smartphone brand in China
Notwithstanding Uber, the originator of the Sharing Society, let’s take a look into another sharing society that is ranked number 3 for Startups – Airbnb.
The Airbnb business was initiated under the concept of sharing an empty room with travelers by allotting unused space to accommodate travelers and converting the space into money. It may sound unusual for Thai people but it’s a hit in the U.S. Currently, Airbnb has over 25 million users with over 1 million rooms in 34,000 cities in 190 countries.
Aside from the Top 10 Startups, there are plenty of emerging startups that are cause for excitement. Thailand is one of the many countries that are incubating Startup businesses through support from both government and private sectors such as “Angel In the City and “Thailand Digi Challenge” projects.
Angel In the City and Thailand Digi Challenge are projects that seek interesting Digital Startups to participate in Startup incubation and development programs in order to become productive and efficient businesses. SIPA is the main organization playing an important role in pushing the development and incubation of Digital Startups in Thailand, giving the opportunity for new generation entrepreneurs to create Digital Startup businesses.