SMART NATION- Bangkok Beta - Government meets design
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at the request of Board Committee of Digital Economy
Engage. Minimum Viable Product. Disrupt!
Prototyping a new Economy
Finding “Best Practices” to build a “Tech Ecosystem” is easy.
Problem comes from Localization, Prioritization and Engagement of all the
right parties to really deliver on promises.
We are in the right place and the right time to prototype Smart Thailand 3.0
(Ver.1, aka ”Digital Economy”) Failure is part of a journey, but also a door to
breakthroughs. The risk is highest if we do nothing.
of Thailand’s GDP’s contributed by tech startups (*+USD$19B)
Valuation equals to 5% of current SET stock exchange value in 2015
Effect in Economy
* Globalise LLC has created a model to assess the economic impact in the economy of tech startup
While the model shows linearity and direct output based on input, this is unlikely to be the case due to the very nature of startups, where a black swan like Uber can add up to a valuation larger than all the other
startups combined, so it is a numbers game that can change from one year to another. However the model helps us understand risk and reward mechanisms and help us make decisions.
1-2 Unicorns, 30 centaurs
2,500 startups created
20-50B USD, mostly from top unicorns.
Attraction of tech multinationals. New type of foreigner. Talent
growth for traditional enterprise. higher general productivity
Deep dive and test drive
the key changes for Thailand
Regula*ons Capital Open
Early Stage accelerator and
seed funding (>$20M USD)
Sufﬁcient follow-on round
(> $250M USD)
Capital for traditional
2nd time entrepreneurs angel
investment: Smart Money
See SEIS program in UK
Private Equity Laws
Intellectual Property Law
Ease of doing business
Low regulation zone (Drones,
Sharing Economy, Bitcoin,
freedom of speech)
For entrepreneur by entrepreneur
Shared mutual goal
One stop shop
One Shared Goal: entrepreneurs ﬁrst!
Why our most
setting up their holding
companies in HK or
SG? and exit in Japan?
Imported (Engineer, talents)
Call back diaspora.
Silicon Valley Ambassadors
Risk Taking Culture
Plan pilot through
Bangkok Beta MVP
DIY dream team
>100 startups per year
High Volume of startups
Thai lead agency is
by alliance of private
investors decide to
move to Thailand
Large companies set
R&D centers in
High volume of
Active trade sale of
deals over $200M
Center of ”Agri Tech”
“Google of Food”
over China and India.
become a desirable
Phase 1: Expense. Investment
Fully support until ecosystem becomes self sustained
Futuristic and affordable
opens right in
downtown BKKFull year-round
Thai ﬁrst unicorn
are considered as
alternatives to in-
>$200M Fund of
Free English, STEM,
World class university
setup in Bangkok
Diaspora /Veteran mentors
/2nd time entrepreneur
returns to be a force in the
Top 10 Ease of doing
Top 15 Ease of starting
Better ranked than
Thai startup. Set
developer base in
Visualize Thai new economy
“Thai entrepreneur visa”
rank high in
Got $300K? Love FinTech? 3 years visa!
Government gives away $40K
without taking equity!
Heavily subsidized. Tencent launched +
100M USD Corporate VC. Alibaba is
actively hiring female MBAs who speak
Chinese. Business can be started in 4 days.
Let’s skip HK!
Gree. Rakuten. Softbank set up ofﬁces in
the U.S. Abe PM sent 200 representatives
from Japanese old-fashioned companies
to the Valley to learn and later come back
to reform Japan.
Secure $93K and be recognized as
high potential startup to get 2 year visa
Hungry for knowledge? MIT.
General Assembly. TechStars ,
JFDI. BASH, Plug n Play, ASTAR
Permanent Visa granted only by
securing $45K of grant from angel
MAGIC. Stanford, Grabtaxi!
Diasporas are welcomed!
“The Race” to attract the stars
Create 3 full time job to get 2 years
visa. No fancy business plan is
Top 5 Winners
Source: Compass, Aug 2015
Same as the World Cup..
building an innovative country
is about battling for superstars..
$1B+ in value
$100M+ in value
$10M+ in value
Real Madrid :
Getting Google’s Full Attention?
ENISA: Debt to
startups and R&D of
Spain in the map.
the First unicorn
Start to think about
Startups. Request of
setup in Madrid
spaces across the
UPM, UPC top
IE, IESE, top MBA
Free Legal support
VCs setup in Spain,
300m fund of funds
Diaspora back from
engineers to UK,
at top startups
Law of Entrepreneurs.
Ease to start a company
Silicon Valley - The Storyboard
Led by Netscape
ﬁrms were active
HP, US Defense
New Power Rule:
+100 social media ﬁrms
offers from McKinsey
and JP Morgan to
launch a start-up
We are an Uber of “—“
Add the word
“Tech” on everything
HBO’s hit show
FB - Oculus VR
the future of
Mobile and TV?
Biggest Ever IPO
Obama hired +140
Silicon Valley geeks
at White House!
Everyone wants to
work at Google
Just “Google it!”
The Pioneer. The Coach
Cooporation e.g SIIRD
exempt from BAT
and indirect tax
Support R&D Centers
of foreign companies
Birth of technology
applied by Google,
Launch of Yozma
long term R&D, e.g..
jointed effort in
Tel Aviv University
grants. R&D and tax
World’s 2nd most
Pre-seed and seed
TNUFA, NIBN, Life
Eliat Free Trade
medical etc )
Leader - Smart City
IDA (Government) run
by American Tech
to regional VCs
Launch of I Jam
investment by U.S top
VC Sequoia >7x return
Put Southeast Asia on the World’s Geek Map
Over $2B to attract
top US VCs
Hedge Fund Law
NOC Program by NUS
TIS Matching Scheme
by National Research
Free co-working space
at Block 71 as
The 1st Exit
Top University set up
campus in Singapore
Min Kian and
Tony Tan started to
work on startup
S$8 M digital
Started IIPL’s iGazelle
One Stop Shop
97% access to
87% access to
Japanese funds rushed
>146,000 tech talents
(corporate partner, NICF)
release to public as
Government is partially
run by non-Singaporean,
business man, geeks
Big ﬁshes and small ﬁshes
support each other.
Free market. The more
competitors the better.
entrepreneurs and tech
VCs are recognized as
Expat over 5M.
English is an ofﬁcial
Broken Singlish OK!
to The Valley
Accumulation of small things that changed big things
Singapore’s cultural makeover
To learn, to bridge, to
convince top VCs, MNCs,
startups and diasporas to
start in Singapore.
“If Japanese can speak English, even
broken English,.. Japan will leave
Singapore and China in the dust”
Mikitani Hiroshi, Rakuten CEO,
Abenomics Advisory Board
”Power to Compete”. April 2015
“Entrepreneurs are the modern age
Lee Kuan Yew
Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master's Insights on China,
the United States, and the World, February 2013
“it’s not just of talent but of insatiable questioning of
authority, of determined informality”
Senor, Dan; Singer, Saul
Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic
Miracle ”, September 2011
Partially agreed. Not sure
Only genius knows
(Breakthrough opportunities here!)
Low Hanging Fruit-
Most solutions are already known and proven
Ride the learning curve of others
Focus on “Low Hanging Fruit” (LHF) execution
Re-group short/mid/long term solutions
Only genius knows
6 month-bangkok beta
Assemble Dream Team
Design Lab 3 days
5 champions each from each quadrant, breakdown into small diversiﬁed groups
each to tackle 5 key challenges for 3 days in Bangkok, facilitated by world-class facilitator
Mix of advisory panel to come to BKK
- Great research. Cool stats. Nice presentation.
- Analytics of public data by management experts.
- Limited implementation
- End Product = Research and recommendation
- Less interactive learning process
- Relying on top down
- One size ﬁts all.
- Project can be abandoned due to low engagement
- Strategic inﬂuence. 6 month beta. Low Hanging Fruit ﬁrst.
- Analytics by ecosystem experts/entrepreneurs
- Motivate executors through ownership of solutions.
- Localization and country ﬁt-focused
- End Product= Champions who can potentially run. MVP
- Grow what works. Repeat
- Impact through interactive process.
- Facilitated by world’s top tier executive academics
- Localized by experts with experience with Thai governments
- Executor-thinker. Bottom up.
- Ecosystem building experience over 15 years.
- Proven record of execution
Traditional Our approach
To be disclosed and selected after project assignment. Daily rate/Flights of advisory panels are included
Advisory Panel/Potential Operators (N= 20)
* Globalise LLC has created a model to assess the economic impact in the economy of tech startup
While the model shows linearity and direct output based on input, this is unlikely to be the case due to the very nature of startups, where a black swan like Uber can add up to a valuation larger than
all the other startups combined, so it is a numbers game that can change from one year to another. However the model helps us understand risk and reward mechanisms and help us make decisions.
Some of the below items can potentially be managed through ground level change, but also effective public relations
exercises. The ﬁrst item, for example, is not going to change overnight. That said, the policy of attracting in-bound
investment, for example, has been a stable policy despite changes in government. This message can be
underscored in communications about the proposed program. An equally important communication may be that
many of the macro political and economic factors referenced below will be addressed for the program, by putting in
place effective counter measures. That is, ring-fencing the program with effective governmental controls, private
sector involvement, governance etc. In short, the program becomes an example of what Thailand CAN do, with the
effectiveness of the program (governance etc.) expanding out across the economy generally in terms of private
sector activity and governmental behaviours. Structuring an effective program in a new and limited sector is easier
than changing an entire economy and political framework.
1. Political and policy instability
(a) This will negatively impact the ability to attract capital; venture capital, in particular.
(b) Overly interventionist, policy driven governments – particularly one that is military – are of concern to investors, as
such intervention distorts market efﬁciency and predictability (witness the current concern over China). There is a
need to underscore policy consistency in Thailand, and a government focused on facilitating the investment / tech
ecosystem, with private sector involvement in picking the “winners”.
(c) The concomitant security concern also:
(i) creates additional investment risk that impacts both the willingness to invest, and pricing; and
(ii)is a disincentive to attract and retain talented human capital.
(d) It should be highlighted, however, that despite the lack of political stability, there has been relative policy stability in
respect of investment and the innovation.
2. Excessive red tape and lack of transparency
(a) Although Thailand has improved its global competitiveness ranking, “inefﬁcient government bureaucracy” is still
ranked highly as the most problematic factor for doing business in Thailand.
(b) Bureaucracy, especially if lacking in transparency is a disincentive to invest or locate in a country due to the
increased set up costs and the perceived risk of uncertainty.
(c) There are a number of organisations in Thailand involved in innovation type activities – both government
departments and private sector. A central coordinating authority should greatly improve economic and
administrative delivery efﬁciencies and transparency.
3. Failure to attract and retain human capital
(a) Lack of repatriation incentives for Thai expats with relevant experience overseas
(b) Lack of incentives to attract foreign workers with relevant experience
(c) Complexity / unwarranted hurdles in obtaining a VISA
4. Failure to continue and expand improvement in the legal / regulatory regime in Thailand
(a) Corruption, is a signiﬁcant concern amongst investors and businesses that might seek to locate in
(b) Lack of adequate intellectual property protection is also a concern, particularly if the innovation focus is
on business that are largely driven by development of intellectual property. Singapore’s IP regime is a
strong incentive to technology-based start-ups to locate there, along with the attractive tax regime
5. Failure to distinguish itself from competitor markets: Singapore, U.S., Israel, and hence losing the
(a) In short, Thailand needs to be seen as either best in class against what Singapore, the U.S. and Israel
do, or as a viable alternative because of what it can offer that the others do not (or cannot). Examples
of this might be: a strong relationship with China and Chinese capital, a gateway to South East Asia
See fn 4.
Thailand scores 38 on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index 2014, https://
www.transparency.org/cpi2014/results, sighted 28 July 2015. “0” being highly corrupt and “100” being very clean.
By comparison in the Asia Paciﬁc region, Indonesia scores 34, China 36, Sri Lanka 38, Malaysia 52, Hong Kong
74, Japan 76, Australia 80 and Singapore 84. Thailand’s score of 38 is a marginal worsening from its score of 35
in 2013 and 37 in 2012. Relative to other countries, however, it has raised its ranking to 85 out of 174 countries,
from 102 in 2013.
Corruption ranks as the number one most problematic factor for doing business in Thailand: World Economic
Forum, Op. Cit.1. p.360.
Thailand ranks 104 out of 144 countries for intellectual property protection, with a score of 3.1 out of 7: World
Economic Forum, Op. Cit.1., p.361. Singapore, on the other hand, ranks at 2.
See: EY Global Tax Insights, “As and IP Hub, Singapore Can Offer More”, https://taxinsights.ey-vx.com/archive/
archive-articles/as-an-ip-hub-singapore-can-offer-more.aspx, sighted 28 July 2015.
Barrier to delivery
SMART NATION- Bangkok Beta
You don’t have to be great to start, you have to start to be great