Ananda Development Pcl, Thai-listed property developer, has announced the launch of Ananda Urban Tech – its VC arm that will invest in funds as welll as startups which develop innovative solutions for urban living problems.
It is the first Thai property developer to diversify into tech and innovation investor.
Chanond Ruangkritya, president and chief executive officer, told the media that the initiative consists of three parts – ecosystem support, fund of funds and corporate venture capital.
“Ecosystem support is a strategy to support other players including incubators and accelerators in the innovation ecosystem rather than set up competing facilities or events. This gives us access to the technology, ideas, knowledge and people across a wider range of domains for less cost and effort on our part,” he said.
“For Fund of Funds strategy, we will invest in VC funds around the world in key markets with a policy of being an ‘Active LP’ meaning we get to see the deal flow, meet the entrepreneurs and interact. This gives us a global reach and visibility, while still earning a return on the investment, so it’s considered as an investment not a cost. Meanwhile, our corporate venture capital vehicle will be used to invest directly in to startups that possess a technology we want to bring to our core business. It will act with the same discipline and rigor as a professional VC,” he cited.
However, the company is still in the process of finalising the figure for both the Fund of Funds and the corporate venture capital fund and hopes to do it within this year.
At the same time, it has appointed Dr Chet Yong as chief innovative officer, working together with chief strategic development officer John Millar, who used to support early-stage tech firms in the UK through his own company Enterprise Accelerator.
Besides, Ananda Development also allocated the budget of 300 million baht to create ‘Ananda Campus’, a new office in Bangkok.