There are no startups in Thailand!

    Two years ago, I published an article calling “ Do you want a coworking in Thailand? "Which excited Habr. Unfortunately, the coworking center in Chiang Mai did not work out. The answer to the question "why?" deserves a separate discussion, but another fact is worth mentioning here: the post forced the IT people to pay attention to Thailand. Now there are so many Russian-speaking freelancers, entrepreneurs and start-ups who live here, are wintering and are planning to come, which I want to say: “guys, it's time to get cozy villas out of your holes , it's time to do something in common, at least start a discussion!”

    More than once articles on Thailand appeared on Habré as a convenient base for working on web projects. The warm climate and low-cost infrastructure attract IT professionals from around the world. But there is very little information about what is happening in the field of local startups that is in Russian, but even in English. This article is intended to fill this gap.

    In short, there is no start-up scene in Thailand, and besides, there are almost no startups themselves, with rare exceptions. John Berns spoke well about why this is happening in the article Why Thailand Sucks for Tech Startups". Even the word "startup" in Thai is still missing (as, incidentally, in Russian). There are lots of free niches in the local market. You want - open Thai Amazon, you want - Yandex. The sites leading in the Thai web are for the most part implemented very poorly, somewhere around the mid-90s of the last century. With all this in a country with 65 mil. In 2010, one of the highest rates of growth in the number of Facebook users was recorded - currently 12% of the population have accounts there, which is most likely to be blamed on Thai sociality - and offline, they have hundreds of friends, and on social network profiles and altogether thousands, if not tens of thousands. The number of smartphone users over the same period increased by 1000%. IPhone, Blackberry are widespread, Android systems are growing in popularity with wild speed. According to my feelings Thailand is on the brink of an explosion of IT and web technology. Something significant should happen here in the next 1-2 years. It's time to join in and take direct part in these processes.

    As I said, today the Thai startup scene is a wasteland. Nevertheless, there are shifts. Currently, various groups of people are making efforts, which together can lead to the creation of a Thai startup scene in the near future. I would like to talk about these efforts here.


    This is a big two-day party of geeks and participants, which has already been held 4 times in Thailand. It resembles a conference in its format, but the topics of reports are born right on the spot, participants vote for interesting topics, and then, more or less informal speeches are held from morning till night. It mainly deals with issues related to IT topics, but there are also unexpected reports like “How to Get a Japanese Gelfrand”. The fifth Barcamp will take place in the summer in Bangkok, presumably in June, the exact dates are still unknown. Information will appear on , but it’s best to join their group on Facebook or follow Twitter.
    Last year, Barcamp was also held in the northern capital of Thailand, Chiang Mai. You can monitor further developments through the Barcamp Chiangmai website and the Facebook group .

    Bangkok hackerspace

    The idea is to organize a permanent convenient workspace for people who are similar in spirit, where they could work on their projects, share ideas with like-minded people, do coworking and have fun. An attempt to create such an institution already took place a couple of years ago, for some time it even existed under the name  Bangspace , but it had to be closed, because the creators could not attract a sufficient amount of finance (it is assumed that those wishing to work in Hackerspace must pay small membership fees )
    The attempt to recreate Bangkok Hackerspace has been resumed, now it is at the stage of selecting the premises, meetings of initiators and everyone who wants to participate are regularly held. On this siteAll information related to the project is collected. Online communication takes place mostly in a group on Facebook .
    I heard or read, now I don’t remember where, that a similar initiative is either planned, or is already taking place in Chiang Mai.

    Meetup profile interest groups

    These are groups of people with common professional interests who from time to time arrange meetings where speakers speak on various topics related to programming, design, usability and IT business. Here is a list of all found groups:

    Web wednesday thailand

    Community of online marketers. Meetings are regularly organized. I know almost nothing, but I heard from several people at once that this party is quite popular and useful in terms of establishing contacts with digital marketing leaders in Thailand. You can meet about the same people at more pathos events, where the entrance costs quite considerable money, for example, at the Digital Marketing Congress , which will be held on April 27-28.

    Mobile Monday Bangkok

    It is not yet clear what kind of event this is, but it makes sense to follow its development.

    Finally, the most interesting initiative:

    IT startups Association of Thailand

    The mission of this organization is to become a catalyst for the formation of the Thai startup scene. I recommend downloading the presentation in English , where the goals and objectives are detailed, as well as join the Thailand IT Mentors group , which is a temporary online community site. And do not be confused by the name Thailand IT Mentors - this is the very association in question here. If you are interested in the Thai IT startup scene and would like to participate in its creation in any capacity, even as an observer, register yourself safely.

    Initially, this group was conceived as a community of IT mentors, and at the moment it includes about 30 people who want to try themselves in this role. These are people with different backgrounds: there are developers, there are financiers, entrepreneurs, managers. The name "IT Startups Association of Thailand" appeared just the other day at a meeting where I attended, and it aims to reach a much wider circle of interested parties. At the very initial stage, the task of this organization will be to declare itself, to make it clear that there are mentors, there is a way out for interested investors, to organize a series of speeches, meetings, in short, to hold some kind of PR, so that potential startups generally think about the opportunities that they open. I repeat, at the moment, the stage of IT startups has to be created from scratch. It is all the more interesting to participate in these processes. In the future, incubators, venture funds, online and offline platforms for communication between startups, angel investors, regular events, pitch events, in general, all components of the developed IT community should appear.

    The Association will be officially registered in the very near future, and then will begin to prepare in the summer Barcamp, where it plans to powerfully declare itself. There is already information on this topic in the Google group, the link to which I gave above.


    We, me and my colleague addictedtothai , who lives in Bangkok and better knows current information on the topic, are personally interested in contacts with Russian-speaking like-minded people who are not indifferent to this topic. At a minimum, for joint trips to different IT parties, and as a maximum for possible cooperation. For example, it would be very interesting to work on transferring Russian startups to Thai soil.

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