INTOUCH INVESTS IN CONICLE, A THAI EDTECH STARTUP

Thursday 01 April 2021 13:47
Intouch Holdings Plc. ("INTOUCH"), in collaboration with Humanica, 500TukTuks, StormBreaker Venture and Stundi, has made an investment through its venture capital arm (InVent) in Conicle Co., Ltd., an EdTech startup that is developing an education platform and solutions for both the public and private sectors. This was a Series 'A' funding round, which raised a total of three million US dollars (approximately 90 million baht), to reinforce Conicle's business growth and drive it towards market leadership as an "All-in-One" Learning Platform and HR Transformation Solution for corporate customers, expanding to the overseas market.
INTOUCH INVESTS IN CONICLE, A THAI EDTECH STARTUP

Dr. Narongpon Boonsongpaisan, Vice President of Venture Capital & Business Development, Head of the InVent project, made the following statement: "INTOUCH aims to invest more in 5G-related startups in order to develop innovations leveraging 5G technology to create value-added products and services for the companies in INTOUCH Group, with an emphasis on various new technologies, such as EdTech, Health Tech and FinTech, as well as emerging ones. The investment in Conicle is based on promising growth that follows changes in learning behavior, and is in line with the conceptual framework of the companies in the group to focus on people development by upgrading education to enhance the nation's competitiveness."

"This is the first investment INTOUCH has made in EdTech, and is considered a key strategic move as the lead investor. We are pleased to contribute to education technology in Thailand, develop personnel to manage organizations, upscale potential, provide opportunities for upskilling and reskilling at any time and place, and expand into the education industry, especially since AIS has raised fundamental awareness of this market over recent years through AIS Academy. In my view, online learning will play a more important role in education, as evidenced by the number of people using it during the Covid-19 situation."

"Moreover, investment in EdTech startups continues to increase around the world. In 2020, the startups in this group received over 16 billion US dollars in VC seed funds, twice as much as 2019. In the medium to long term, INTOUCH and Conicle have a common business concept, expecting Thailand to own education platforms that support Thais with lifelong learning, for which the customer base can be expanded to the general population (although the customer pain points will be different). Conventional classroom learning may not be aligned with expectations because social contexts are changing and the body of knowledge is growing rapidly. We shall work with Conicle and other business partners to widen opportunities and enable more Thai children to access quality education."

Conicle's learning platforms, helpers for the digital age

The Conical Learning Management Platform has become an excellent assistant in human resource development under the concept of an "All-in-One Learning Experience" to help organizations plot learning curves and enhance employee capabilities and efficiency. This is easy to use and provides a total solution on one platform that comprises learning, knowledge-sharing and evaluation in a ratio of 70:20:10.

In addition, ConicleX - The Cloud University offers digital learning to develop the skills required in the 21st Century, such as business acumen, data analysis and personnel management, along with self-development, which will enable reskilling and upskilling to increase individual competencies in various areas. Conicle is now serving over 50 organizations and has more than one million users.

Mr. Nakorn Phuekphiphatmet, CEO and co-founder of Conicle, made the following statement: "At Conicle, we focus on developing new technologies and services that can educate people and simplify learning. This will improve personal capabilities and provide organizations with better tools and processes for people development. Learning is not limited to a physical campus but will become a lifelong activity. Because the body of knowledge is growing and new skills are required all the time, Conicle has developed a platform similar to an online university where people and organizations can learn throughout their lives. The design concept has been geared towards the redefinition of learning, not just e-learning or online courses, but the perception of learning as a combined process (Blended Learning) and tailored to different personal demands (Personalized Learning), offering an impressive learning experience to users. These are the highlights and main direction of Conicle."

Mr. Anapat Vimolprapaporn, CTO and co-founder of Conicle, added: "In my view, the key factor driving our ongoing growth is listening to customers on a regular basis in order to understand their needs. We are really passionate about developing products that provide user solutions. We observe our customers' work processes, note their problems, and tailor solutions that truly help organizations and users. So far, our solutions have benefited the users on a regular basis. We have also continued to develop products and services."

Conicle and Humanica develop a complete HR platform together

Conicle has accelerated its development thanks to investment from Humanica Plc., which acted as the incubator and is now a strategic partner. Developing HR Management software and providing HR outsourcing services for both public and private organizations, Humanica is Thailand's HR solutions market leader. Humanica and Conicle have co-developed an "All-in-One HR Platform", integrating solutions for HR processes into one complete function. This has given Conicle a competitive advantage and placed its platform on a par with leading global competitors.

Mr. Soontorn Dentham, CEO of Humanica Plc., said: "The cooperation with Conicle to penetrate the learning platform market has opened up a new area of competition. Humanica is willing to work with specialist partners, integrating their technology with its own, in order to improve the employee ecosystems of its customers so they can work more efficiently and have happy personal lives. Our common concept is to create the Ultimate Work-Life Platform."   

Another investor shared his perspective and opinion on the market growth potential of EdTech.  Mr. Krating Poonpol, Managing Partner of 500 TukTuks and founder of StormBreaker Venture, remarked: "We see that EdTech represents a huge market that is attracting investment around the world. Both the public and private sectors have placed importance on adopting technology to enhance employee competencies and accelerate learning. We are convinced that about 35% of present work skills will no longer be required in the future. For example, 47% of existing skills will not be relevant in the finance industry. Technologies that will change future learning include VR/AR, AI, 3D printing for maker education, sensors for measuring progress, and visual network learning tools."   

"Within the next three to five years, over 47% of tasks will be undertaken by robots so about half the existing jobs will disappear. AI and robotics will be the base for a new wave of digital disruption. Inequality will widen, not to mention a wider gap in technological knowledge. Therefore, reskilling is an urgent issue. Without self-development, many people may not be able to survive three years from now. To put it simply, the whole working population needs to reskill or at least upskill. The joint venture with Conicle will play a key role in this change."

Associated Professor Dr. Nopporn Ruangwanit, Director of Integrated Bachelor's and Master's Degree Program in Business and Accounting, Faculty of Commerce and Accountancy at Thammasat University, another investor in Conicle's Series 'A' funding round, added: "The future of education requires technologies to drive learning in all dimensions, not only in classrooms or online courses but an all-in process that includes studying, sharing, hands-on implementation and evaluation, arranged and aligned in harmony, using data to lead analysis and suggest what each learner should know and develop in order to optimize the process. I believe that Conicle has a great opportunity to transform education in this way."

Dr. Narongpon also added, "In addition to expanding the scope of its investments, INTOUCH is committed to increasing the value of the InVent portfolio by the three main methods described below.

  1. Business Development & Strategic Value - encouraging startups to build networks for sustainable growth through collaboration with INTOUCH Group and its partners in order to gain access to new markets and/or innovative ideas.
  2. Nurturing - providing startups with expert assistance in many areas such as business law, finance, accounting and management.
  3. Knowledge-sharing - organizing meet-up events with other entrepreneurs to support the exchange of knowledge in different areas and create new business opportunities."

Over the last nine years, INTOUCH has invested in 26 start-up companies. The total value of the InVent portfolio is now over 1,300 million baht, an increase of 26% from 2019.

Source: INTOUCH Holdings