Tokyo-based Monstar Lab, the company providing crowdsourced offshore app development service under the same name, announced today that it is foraying into a coworking space business by kicking off its first branch in Bangkok. The business is called Monstar Hub, and is planned to expand coworking spaces into major cities all across Southeast Asia. Monstar Hub Bangkok, the first one, will be set up near Asok Station on the Bangkok BTS railway system.
The Bangkok location is slightly different from other offices that the company has set up in 21 cities of 12 countries for system development and sales but is intended to specifically serve startups, entrepreneurs and engineers. Takeshi Heta, who had been running his own coworking space called Asiarna Business Center in Bangkok, has been appointed as the head for the new business.
Since Heta and Hiroki Inagawa, founder and CEO of Monstar Lab, have known each other for a long time, they have been pledging to work together if the opportunity arises. Heta decided to hand over his existing coworking space business to his co-founder to commit himself to managing the Monstar Hub business.
Monstar Lab has recently moved their headquarters from Nakameguro to Ebisu in Tokyo, and their new office interior was supervised by renowned office design firm Flooat using furniture from Swiss Vitra. Flooat and Vitra are expected to design and furnish the Bangkok location. In addition, Yojiro Koshi, a Japanese entrepreneur running his human resource business JobTalents in Bangkok, will help them arrange meet-ups and foster an entrepreneurial community there.
In a recent interview with The Bridge, Heta spoke of his aspiration about the new space:
I would like to build a community so fulfilling that anybody would want to choose us when they launch an IT business or a startup in Thailand.
Actually, the coworking space sector in Bangkok is getting somewhat saturated in many aspects. But we can see an interesting trend in Thailand that owners of a condominium or other shared use real estate can feel social status when their property has an in-house coworking space regardless of whether or not it is operated. You can easily find several coworking spaces even in shopping malls in Central Bangkok.
More interestingly, when we talk about the Thai startup scene, it doesn’t always mean a community consisting of local people. In recent years, many entrepreneurs and engineers coming from outside Thailand have been forming a big expat community in Thailand because of many positive reasons such as relatively lower living expense, easy access to weekend attractions from the city and generally good public safety. Neutrino, a Blockchain-focused coworking space, is setting up a new location in Bangkok while True Digital Park, dubbed the Thai version of the world’s largest startup campus Station F, is scheduled to be launched this fall.
Monstar Lab intends to explore the possibilities in finding good startups to partner with or even acquire in the future. Beyond Bangkok, they are planning to establish coworking spaces in Manila, Dhaka, Ho Chi Minh City, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and other major cities in the region.
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy