ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon PrintIcon Twitter
DealStreetAsia

Thailand Sansiri venture looks to tech to upend property business

Drone deliveries, EV charging and autonomous driving among 'sandbox' projects

Siri Ventures has collaborated with a drone delivery company and autonomous car developer and a manufacturer of security sensors as part of its "sandbox" initiative.   © Reuters

HANOI -- Thai property developer Sansiri Pcl is counting on its venture arm, Siri Ventures, to introduce new technologies -- ranging from drone deliveries to electric-vehicle charging to autonomous driving -- into its traditional real estate business.

Siri Ventures is a joint venture between Sansiri, which owns 97% of the unit, and Siam Commercial Bank. It has so far used about a third of its $45 million in assets to directly invest in startups, mainly in the property technology (proptech) area. Another $15 million went to venture capital funds.

COVID-19 has turned investment firms across the world more cautious and slowed the pace of deal-making, and Siri Ventures is no exception. The Thai venture firm had hoped to finish deploying its assets by the end of the year, but it is likely to need more time.

For now it is seeking to ramp up investments in its proptech "sandbox," which allows startups backed by the fund to test and deploy applications across Sansiri's properties.

It has previously collaborated with autonomous car developer Airovr, drone delivery firm Fling and intelligent security sensor producer SoundEye as part of the sandbox initiative. Its latest investment as part of the sandbox went to electric-vehicle charging solutions provider Sharge. The startup supplies charging modules and operates commercial charging stations.

Siri Ventures Chief Technology Officer Jirapat Janjerdsak says an investment such as Sharge can lead to the deployment of an electric-vehicle charging system that can indicate the availability of chargers at residential properties and allow users to make reservations.

"We are not counting how many investments we are making, but [rather] making sure that there are potential synergies when we invest," he said.

Sharge is the 10th investment by Siri Ventures, which was founded in 2017. Its ticket sizes range from $1 million to $5 million for deals at Series A stage and onward. Siri's investments cover property tech, construction tech, living tech and sustainability, with a focus on bringing the technology it backs into Thailand.

Its direct investments include Appysphere, a Thai home automation developer; OnionShack, a Thai voice-command application; Semtive, a U.S. wind turbine developer; Astralink, an Israeli 3D technology application for building construction; Farmshelf, a U.S.-based smart hydroponic farm startup; Techmetics, a Singapore-based delivery robot developer; and Neuron Mobility, a Singapore-based e-scooter operator.

Siri Ventures is also a limited partner in two VC funds: U.S.-focused proptech fund Fifth Wall and China Renaissance's $300 million dollar-denominated fund.

Janjerdsak said the firm is in the process of investing in a VC fund in Europe. He declined to divulge further details.

"There are certain geographic areas that we have not covered yet. This new investment will help us cover Europe," he said.

Another attractive market, Janjerdsak said, is Vietnam, although Siri Ventures is likely to delay a significant foray into the Southeast Asian market until after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"With your own in-house solutions, I guess it's quite a lot of opportunities. What I do know now is that I will hop on the first flight to get there and actually see if there's any synergy between us and Vietnamese startups that we could work on together," he added.

For the original story from DealStreetAsia, click here.

DealStreetAsia is a financial news site based in Singapore that focuses on private equity, venture capital and corporate investment activity in Asia, especially Southeast Asia, India and Greater China. Nikkei owns a majority stake in the company.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 1 month for $0.99

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends January 31st

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to Nikkei Asia has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media

Nikkei Asian Review, now known as Nikkei Asia, will be the voice of the Asian Century.

Celebrate our next chapter
Free access for everyone - Sep. 30

Find out more