Thailand’s maestro of start-ups on a roll

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These are high times for Thai venture capital firm Ardent Capital. The firm has just launched a project called ACommerce aimed at facilitating e-commerce in Southeast Asian countries, beginning with Thailand. This will mean providing logistical services like building a website, arranging for product storage and shipping, and helping train customer service. Southeast Asia is notoriously tech-savvy, but the region is woefully underserved in e-commerce.  ACommerce is, thus, an idea whose time has come, and this is only the most recent development out of this hyperactive, dynamic firm.

The launch of ACommerce comes on the heels of a successful round of fundraising – the first external round of funding for Ardent Capital – with major contributions from international players like Siemer Ventures, Recruit Strategic Partners, and GMO Venture Partners. Clearly these firms see a lot to like in Ardent, including the promising array of startup tech companies that Ardent is currently backing.

A central part of Ardent’s business is making early stage investments in tech companies across Southeast Asia then incubating these companies to viability and retaining an interest in them. The firm specializes in transactional commerce and advertising businesses. Ardent’s investment operation is supported by a sort of internal think-tank called Ardent Labs, which finds promising business ideas, tests them to determine their viability, and then provides initial support in formulating the business models for the new companies that emerge. Ardent is currently incubating a handful of companies in this manner, and each one offers a unique niche service that Ardent is betting on.

In no particular order, Ardent’s start-ups are:

Playbasis focuses on “gamification,” or making websites and apps more fun to use and more engaging. The theory is that the websites and apps that thrive are the ones that are the most fun to use.  Thus the more engaging a website is, the longer people will stay on it, the more services of the site they will use, and the more of their friends they will recommend to the site. Playbasis does some fascinating things with this idea.

E27 is a media company focused on growing Asia’s technology startup ecosystem. It reports on tech startup news, trends and personalities relevant to startup communities in Asia, and also organizes the Echelon conference, Asia’s largest tech conference.

Anything.lk is a unique e-commerce operation in Sri Lanka that offers customers exclusive deals from local businesses and gives  a substantial portion of the proceeds to Sri Lankan charities.

Burufly bills itself as “Southeast Asia’s first social travel site.” It is a social media site focused on traveling, where users can search for and find user-generated travel tips and stories about specific destinations in Southeast Asia. Users are also encouraged to write at length about their own travel experiences and post pictures galore.

Syndacast is a state of the art online marketing firm offering services in search engine marketing, media placement, performance marketing, social media marketing, content management, PR syndication, conversion rate optimization, and strategic planning.

These five companies are actively supported by Ardent Capital. Several more already went through the Ardent system and are now independent, viable businesses. Whether any or all of these five companies will make it to that baseline of success or further is anyone’s guess. But if Ardent’s recent successful round of fundraising is any indication, they have a strong chance.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Reading Time: 2 minutes

skyline-bangkok

These are high times for Thai venture capital firm Ardent Capital. The firm has just launched a project called ACommerce aimed at facilitating e-commerce in Southeast Asian countries, beginning with Thailand. This will mean providing logistical services like building a website, arranging for product storage and shipping, and helping train customer service. Southeast Asia is notoriously tech-savvy, but the region is woefully underserved in e-commerce.  ACommerce is, thus, an idea whose time has come, and this is only the most recent development out of this hyperactive, dynamic firm.

The launch of ACommerce comes on the heels of a successful round of fundraising – the first external round of funding for Ardent Capital – with major contributions from international players like Siemer Ventures, Recruit Strategic Partners, and GMO Venture Partners. Clearly these firms see a lot to like in Ardent, including the promising array of startup tech companies that Ardent is currently backing.

A central part of Ardent’s business is making early stage investments in tech companies across Southeast Asia then incubating these companies to viability and retaining an interest in them. The firm specializes in transactional commerce and advertising businesses. Ardent’s investment operation is supported by a sort of internal think-tank called Ardent Labs, which finds promising business ideas, tests them to determine their viability, and then provides initial support in formulating the business models for the new companies that emerge. Ardent is currently incubating a handful of companies in this manner, and each one offers a unique niche service that Ardent is betting on.

In no particular order, Ardent’s start-ups are:

Playbasis focuses on “gamification,” or making websites and apps more fun to use and more engaging. The theory is that the websites and apps that thrive are the ones that are the most fun to use.  Thus the more engaging a website is, the longer people will stay on it, the more services of the site they will use, and the more of their friends they will recommend to the site. Playbasis does some fascinating things with this idea.

E27 is a media company focused on growing Asia’s technology startup ecosystem. It reports on tech startup news, trends and personalities relevant to startup communities in Asia, and also organizes the Echelon conference, Asia’s largest tech conference.

Anything.lk is a unique e-commerce operation in Sri Lanka that offers customers exclusive deals from local businesses and gives  a substantial portion of the proceeds to Sri Lankan charities.

Burufly bills itself as “Southeast Asia’s first social travel site.” It is a social media site focused on traveling, where users can search for and find user-generated travel tips and stories about specific destinations in Southeast Asia. Users are also encouraged to write at length about their own travel experiences and post pictures galore.

Syndacast is a state of the art online marketing firm offering services in search engine marketing, media placement, performance marketing, social media marketing, content management, PR syndication, conversion rate optimization, and strategic planning.

These five companies are actively supported by Ardent Capital. Several more already went through the Ardent system and are now independent, viable businesses. Whether any or all of these five companies will make it to that baseline of success or further is anyone’s guess. But if Ardent’s recent successful round of fundraising is any indication, they have a strong chance.

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