In this Meet the VC article, InVent’s VC Manager explains why it recently led a Series A round into the golf reservations app Golfdigg
As exemplified by the Silicon Valley, Beijing and even Singapore, great ideas need investment and support. While innovation is key, building a solid investment community is essential for a developing tech ecosystem.
In Thailand, one of the companies working to build up the country’s young, but growing, tech scene is InVent, a VC firm that is a subsidiary of INTOUCH Holdings. INTOUCH is a publicly-listed asset management company that focusses on telecom, media, IT and digital content.
Tawan Boonyawat is a Venture Capital Manager with a background as an IT Director at Dhanarak Asset Development. His role at InVent is to focus on deal sourcing and to engage startups with local and regional partners.
When not working, Boonyawat enjoys sports like golf and tennis. e27 caught up with the VC to get to know what inspires him in the startup world and the strategies he likes to pursue.
Below are the edited excerpts…
What do you consider your most successful investment, and why did it work?
I can define [this answer] in several ways.
For business, Ookbee is the first company that comes to mind, but the rest of our invested companies are doing well in term of making improvements. Those companies have better performances every year.
However, in my opinion, our best investment is human capital.
What got you started in the startup world? What keeps you inspired to continue?
Luckily, I have a chance to work with many startups at InVent. It not only allows me to work with a group of smart and creative startup people but also allows me to help them grow their business. I learned a lot from them.
Thailand is kind of a strange market size. It is almost 70 million people, so a relatively large market. But it is no Indonesia. Do you invest in companies with regional reach? Or are you more focussed on local dominance?
We focus more on investing in companies that have potential to expand regionally.
What is your day-to-day life like?
It is very busy, of course. I can’t even say it is the traditional 8 AM to 5 PM.
But, on a daily basis, we have to scout for potential startups, do research and analysis, present to an investment committee and connect with people.
When I read your resume, it starts off with the Ookbee investment. It has been almost five years since then. What has changed in the Thai VC community since then?
In five years, Thailand has built a stronger and better community and the Thai VC community environment is more collaborative.
VCs often make joint investments into a company. What is the day-to-day relationship like afterwards?
We quite have a clear picture on what we can contribute to the company before we invest in the startup. We have a collaborative working environment among investors because we have the same mutual goal, which is to drive business growth and create company value.
You recently led a Series A round into Golfdigg, what was attractive about that company?
There were several reasons why we invested in Golfdigg.
First, the golf industry in Thailand is huge and has a high growth rate. There are around 250 golf courses, which is a large number in this region.
Golfdigg has started as a business tapping in to golf course reservations, and then, it will expand to other golf-related verticals, so they will gain a lot more users.
Second, Golfdigg is the winner from AIS The StartUp. Golfdigg provides a lifestyle service for AIS customers and can be bundled with the AIS traveller SIM.
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