Shin Wangkaewhiran is the Founder and CEO of Vonder, an edtech platform specialising in learning through gamification. They pitched at EdTechX Thailand in October 2019 against 7 other startups and successfully won their spot to represent Thailand in the Global Startup Super League! We spoke with Shin after the event to learn a little more about the company and heading to London this year…
What was the inspiration behind starting Vonder?
I want to create something simple but suits today learner’s behaviours. We live in a very exciting age of digital but innovation in learning still centres around e-learning VDOs. So we experimented creating learning like chatbots and Unity games. It’s exciting to be someone who does something not many EdTech startups in Thailand do.
What do you want everyone to know about Vonder?
We want everyone to think of Vonder as a company who makes learning fun. We want people to remember us the Nintendo of learning.
What are you looking to achieve next?
We hope by next year, millions of corporate workers in Thailand will be using Vonder to learn and reskill. Not just only in large corporates that are our current customers, but more to smaller mid-sized companies. After achieving this, we expect to see our product adopted by users outside of Thailand in the years to come.
Looking back to the day you started Vonder, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
I would tell myself that even the worst days will come to an end. Things will be wrong, failures will be embarrassing, and some people will try to break your company. All of those are totally fine and a part of the process. All I need to do is lasting long enough and eventually, good days will come.
What piece of advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
I think choosing the right people is what makes or breaks your startup. You and your company are simply “nothing” without great team members. Focus on building a good culture from the start. Have a clear image of how your team looks like, how they interact with each other, and what kind of relationship your team will have with customers, investors, etc. It’s your duty as a founder to sort this out from the start even when you have only 2 members. Communicate this to your founding team, so they understand what you’re expecting from your future team. And one last advice, this can be controversial for many, but I believe in not rushing into giving your team equity. Wait and let challenges uncover who they truly are.
What has the response been like since winning the EdTechX Bangkok Ecosystem Event and qualifying for the Global Startup Super League?
It’s game-changing, especially for our team members. We are only 1.5 years old Thai startup and have been focusing on building products for the local Thai market. We have wildest dreams that our products will be used by users outside Thailand as well. For us, it’s pretty daring as we have never heard of any Thai EdTech going international before. Winning such a global competition and getting a chance to show an international audience our products give us that validation that our dream might be valid.
How has starting your company in Thailand helped you? What separates this ecosystem from others?
There are Pros and Cons. It’s not that difficult anymore to start a company in Thailand if you have a strong team, plausible business model and a good market to penetrate. You have many accelerators and investors in Thailand. It also helps if you’re a B2B startup, as B2C in Thailand is pretty tough. However, when it comes to fundraising at a larger stage, compared to other ecosystems like Singapore or Indonesia, you need more impressive traction to attract investors.
Shin and his team at Vonder will be pitching in the Global Startup Super League at the EdTechX Summit in June 2020. If you want to meet him at the summit you can do so via our EdTechX Connect platform.