Text and photos by David Nakayama, DET Corp Comms
Since 2016, Delta has worked with the Department of Industrial Promotion (DIP) at the Ministry of Industry to foster local entrepreneurs and support startup talent in Thailand with the Delta Angel Fund for Startups.
This pioneering program offers funds along with technical and business support to help young Thai entrepreneurs to establish their business models and bring their ideas to the market as useful commercial products that leverage advanced technology.
Over the past five years, 158 teams have won funds from Delta for their startup projects, creating outstanding economic value of over 500 million Baht. Today we talk with Mr. Worapoj Ruenrerngwong, CEO and Founder of Chosen Energy and winner of the Delta Angel Fund for Startups 2020 about his entrepreneurship journey, team development, prize-winning EV charging software platform and experiences in the Delta-MOI program.
Can you share with us about Chosen Energy’s background and your team’s professional experience?
Actually, our team has been in the IT sector for over 20 years. My own entrepreneurial journey started as soon as I stepped out of university. As a 25-year-old with a master’s degree in computer science from Assumption University in Thailand (ABAC), I started my first IT company called Chosen Technology. Our team developed internet solutions for a major Thai mobile operator.
Four years ago, I started Chosen Energy to develop EV software, including the EVen platform that we integrated with Delta’s EV chargers in the Delta Angel Fund program. Most of our team at Chosen Energy are programmers experienced in networking and IoT technologies.
Please explain to us about your solution and its main aims?
EVen is a software solution to support and manage EV charging management systems in Thailand. It’s based on the global OCPP protocol for EV charging and works by communicating with each EV to know the energy consumption of each vehicle in real-time. This allows managers to control the speed of EV charging and the priority of each EV in the areas and buildings where there are charging stations.
EVen also includes payment system management that can fully customize to each user. This supports EV owners and landlords who own and operate EV charging stations. Each customer has their own requirements that EVen must customize too, so it’s quite a complex solution to develop. EV charging software plays a big part in operation control for safety, which prevents the risk of fire and makes a more user-friendly and reliable experience for customers.
What are the biggest challenges you face in Thailand to develop a new solution and start a new business in the market?
I would say the biggest challenge for us is in creating and successfully marketing an original Thai platform for the local market. This is because market acceptance for homegrown products and solutions is not always as easy to achieve in new technology markets like the EV sector.
Thai EV consumers may be more familiar with foreign brands, but after we test our platform with their EVs and demonstrate our advantages, they can understand that our solution is much more customizable for users on Thai streets.
How did you find out about the Delta Angel Fund, and why did you join?
I first met Delta Thailand when I collaborated with Mr. Kasemson Kreuatorn, Delta’s Senior Regional Manager for industrial automation, on a building automation solution for Thailand. Sometime after our project, he emailed me some information about the annual Delta Angel Fund for Startups program.
I decided to join because it’s an original initiative and an excellent platform to expand development on EVen to include Delta’s world-class EV charger models that match the Thai consumer’s needs perfectly.
What were the highlights from your experience in the Delta Angel Fund 2020 program?
The best part about joining the Delta Angel Fund 2020 was the training camp that Delta organized for all the participant teams. Here I learned about the latest energy technologies of Delta. I also got the chance to join the DIP-organized camp at Cha-am resort in Phetchaburi Province, where I met many new friends in the Thai entrepreneur community. Overall, it was a very fun and inspiring experience to work with so many bright and ambitious young people.
What are your top takeaways and solution/business model improvements you got from this program?
I think the best value from taking part in the Delta Angel Fund 2020 was the new connections I made in the program. Besides many intelligent and talented local entrepreneurs, we made new relations with potential backers and partners in the government and corporate sectors.
During our project development, I learned a lot about Delta’s EV chargers at technical training with Delta EV charger experts and our own team’s development work to integrate our EVen platform to support the Delta AC Mini Plus EV Charger.
How has participating in and winning the Delta Angel Fund helped your solution and business development and changed your life?
Joining the Delta Angel Fund for Startups has really helped to make Chosen Energy more well-known in Thailand. Our company profile has risen in both the startup and corporate communities and now I have more customers coming to inquire about our solution and how we can work together. I look forward to using this experience as a springboard for even greater successes for our Chosen Energy team in the coming years.
What do you think are the best ways that Delta and other large global companies can help local entrepreneurs in Thailand and support a local innovation ecosystem?
Actually, this Angel Fund program by Delta is great for local startups. Because it helps with funds that most startup companies lack here in Thailand. The teams also get connected to each other and key partners who are looking for what they can offer each other for mutual benefit. So it’s a wonderful growth environment and a win-win for everyone involved.
Of course, there is room for growth, especially when we compare with other countries that have really vigorous support for tech innovation. Perhaps the Thai government and their corporate partners can consider having even more substantial funds at stake in these contests because it will have a much bigger impact on the business outcomes and value generation. This is something for a long-term innovation development strategy.
In your opinion, what are the most positive impacts that the Delta Angel Fund can have on Thailand’s economy and society?
This Delta program can help startups who have good technology and ideas and are just looking for funding and the right partners to grow their business. New players entering the market and introducing new innovations are very important for Thailand’s economic growth and resilience.
New Thai companies can offer better services, increase the competitive advantage of Thailand as an innovation hub and offer young people exciting employment opportunities right here in their hometowns. Customers will also benefit from local solutions and services. For example, our EVen platform stores cloud data in Thailand, which protects our local security and gives us full control over all aspects of charging.
What is your best advice for Thai entrepreneurs looking to make changes for the better?
I’d advise my fellow entrepreneurs in Thailand to start developing their ideas right away. If you work hard and smart, you will find a better way to support the local market with new solutions that can customize better to our Thai market. To compete with foreign solutions, we must always strive to understand the needs of the customers better.
But success is a team effort. So try to find established and responsible partners like Delta and get capital investments to expand your team and resources. You must have a good local team if you want to better support the market and handle the increase in customer service needs.
Finally, think big! Try to aim for expansion beyond Thailand. Have more ASEAN markets in your business growth plans.
Think you got what it takes to win the Delta Angel Fund for Startups and disrupt Thailand’s business landscape for good?
Discover how your idea can fit in with Delta’s energy-saving and automation solutions for Industry 4.0 and smart city business to life in this country at our Delta Thailand website.
You can also follow our Delta Thailand Facebook and Delta Thailand LinkedIn pages to stay updated for the next application round of the Delta Angel Fund for Startups. Let’s build a smarter and greener Thailand together!
About the Author (Editorial Team)
If content is king, there must be a kingmaker. And the universal theme in my favorite stories is our innate human desire for freedom. I have a master’s degree in Chinese education and experience spanning industries and countries. As the Comms guy at DET, I’m obsessed with the stories behind our products and people. Share your stories with me @ https://www.linkedin.com/in/yushi-david-nakayama/