Paul Srivorakul is one of Thailand’s most prominent figure in the startup scene. Based in Bangkok, he is most well known for being the Group CEO and co-founder of aCommerce. As a serial investor and entrepreneur, he has also built and sold some internet ventures total worth over US$100 million. His other venture is Ardent Capital where he serves as chairman. It is a 25-million dollar venture fund.
Humble beginnings of Paul Srivorakul
The entrepreneurial journey of Paul Srivorakul began in the Year 2000 when he was a sales person at AskJeeves. His sales career at AskJeeves gave him his first experience with search and advertising on the internet space. This would gradually shape his digital business foundation and experience over the next 20 years.
Paul Srivorakul had always wanted to return to Thailand even when he was brought up in the USA during his youth years. Together with his brother who had just quit his job at Apple, Paul returned to Bangkok that period. An observation in only a simple search online got him wondering about bad advertising in the Thailand’s top websites as he had not faced such problems in the USA before. Comparatively in the USA at that time, the ads were targeted and the results could be measured well.
After finding out that Thailand had not utilised new medium opportunities, Paul Srivorakul sensed opportunities that came knocking on his door and got into advertising in Thailand. He wanted to make use of this new form of advertising that had already been in use in the USA. And so, Paul picked up concepts of content creation, web development and web design and applied them. From there, he and his brother, John Srivorakul, started their entrepreneurial journey at Bangkok, Thailand.
Initial challenges of Srivorakul
Faced with only US$4000 in credit cards combined, the Srivorakul brothers were cash strapped. But they worked out some ideas. Drawing inspiration from the 3-day work week culture popular in the USA during the dot-com bubble, Paul and John Srivorakul struck a deal with a huge media company in Thailand with the same undertones. With good tactical and strategical marketing plans, they had managed to close very big clients and even outgrew the media company within a year.
Success stories of Srivorakul
Consequently, the Srivorakul brothers also struck deals with Microsoft by scaling their business from US$150,000 a year to US$2.5 million a year. Paul Srivorakul had been doing much more digital work during this time and with this experience, he harboured a concept of a digital media agency and founded his first company, Newmedia. It was later sold to STW Group from Australia. Besides Australia, Paul and John also did partnership stints with companies from other countries such as Vietnam and Philippines.
Their 2nd business they would have was Admax. It was an ad network business, which brought them a total of US$12 million in revenue. The business model would be based upon the ad network market of Southeast Asia. Expanding to 6 countries, the business culminated in Singapore which brought them regional revenue. They booked media properties across Southeast Asia even at a time when payment structures and language communication were difficult.
Ensogo was their 3rd business, which they had raised about US$3 million within a year. Being a 450-person team back then, they had mastered better advertising concepts and applications. They applied them for very high end brands like L’oreal and McDonald’s.
Ardent Capital was also another of Paul Srivorakul’s venture. It is a company which invests in good ecommerce companies. Logistics and delivery problems would be the main problems to solve. Finding many good ecommerce companies to invest in was not easy at that time. This led to the regional highly valued ecommerce company called aCommerce.
aCommerce would be the ecommerce ventures of Paul Srivorakul. Established since 2013, aCommerce would go on to become the leading ecommerce service provider in Southeast Asia. It had grossed over 1,100 staff and operations in Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines.
It first secured US$10.7 million in Series A funding from many corporations, chief among them NTT DOCOMO IN 2014. In the same year, over 300 staff and over 100 clients had been achieved as aCommerce planned to expand to more markets. By 2015, the revenue of aCommerce grew 8 times year on year. 33% growth month on month was achieved. The biggest revenue driver of aCommerce came from Indonesia. It even attracted a 20% stake from a 150-year-old Swiss corporation, DKSH to expand further in Asia.
During the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, as many businesses faced downturns worldwide, aCommerce thrived. The accelerated movement of consumer spending to online platforms and the growing demand for online distribution through direct-to-customer channels helped the company. Paul Srivorakul even remarked that consumer staples and healthcare segments of aCommerce even grew by triple folds year on year.