Responses provided by Amarit Charoenphan, Co-CEO of HUBBA
Tell Us A Little About Yourself and Your Startup.
Sawasdee krab! My name is Amarit Charoenphan or ‘Aim’ and I am the Cofounder & Co-CEO of HUBBA, Thailand’s 1st coworking space and largest coworking space network (6 locations in 3 cities) for tech startups. I am also the 1st Thai Startup Weekend Facilitator and Organizer.
My coworking spaces are located in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Vientiane, but sometimes I can be spotted in Singapore, HCMC, KL, Jakarta, Bali, Seoul and San Francisco as a conference warrior. I normally operate across Asia as we try to orchestrate the expansion of HUBBA in Thailand and in the region.
What has your experience as an entrepreneur been during the last year?
Every year has been challenging but last year was one of the toughest yet. Due to the political crisis in Thailand in the beginning of the year, for the first 6 months of the year our membership base at HUBBA declined by 50%. We hustled hard to make ends meet and survived long enough to make it through those darkest days. Now we have fundraised and are on an expansionary phase to expand HUBBA to be the top coworking space for startups in Thailand.
Tell us why you’ve chosen to launch your startup in your specific area, and why you choose to work alongside other entrepreneurs there.
Thailand is an amazing place to be an entrepreneur (if you subtract the politics and the traffic) it offers great food, is still a very affordable city, has mountains/beaches, great nightlife and so many good looking people that are also very friendly and hospitable. What more can an entrepreneur ask for?
The reason I love to work with entrepreneurs in Thailand is because I love my country and I would just like to help these entrepreneurs succeed. I know from first hand experience how hard it is for a lot of us to strike it on our own without generous government support and programs, a stable political climate or economic growth, a thriving innovation, entrepreneurship and research culture and a slow moving corporate culture.
What does entrepreneurial “action” look like in your community?
A big tech conference & party: Echelon Thailand 2014, Thailand’s biggest international tech conference attended by 750+ attendees. Doubling in size this year!
What does entrepreneurial “success” look like in your community?
Looks like Moo, CEO of Ookbee.
Briefly explain a financial challenge facing your community:
There are very few qualified, highly skilled angel investors and groups in Thailand that really knows how to mentor and support a startup to really scale up. Most of our angel investors have not launched a startup before because most of the successful Thai startup founders are still working on their product and are first timers. Therefore, there are a lot of wealthy people in Thailand, but there is not a lot of smart angel money.
Briefly explain a technical infrastructure challenge facing your community:
In Thailand there is a lack of development talent as the Thai universities are not adapting their curriculum to respond to the fast changing needs of the tech community. Therefore, only a few graduates really love coding and have the cutting edge expertise that is sought after in startups (most are self taught or were working on their startup). If you meet any startup in Thailand, one of their biggest complaints is not being able to find talented individuals to join their team.
What kind of fun facts make your area noteworthy?
Thailand is home to the 2nd most “Instagrammed” location in the world.
We are also the 1st country to have a country specific 500 Startups Fund (500 Tuk Tuks) in Southeast Asia.
What food is ubiquitous with entrepreneurial gatherings in your area?
Pizza and beer, just like any other ecosystem. However, sometimes we get fancy and order Northeastern Thai food (sticky rice, grilled chicken, Som Tum (spicy papaya salad) or a Thai style BBQ / buffet.
How do you personally identify with being an entrepreneur? Any final thoughts?
I live and breathe entrepreneurship. Having set up my 12th company, making my first angel investment and actively hosting more than 200 people and over 50 startup teams in all of our HUBBA spaces, I look at everyone in my startup community as a brother and sister.