EP 92 – Harprem Doowa – CEO of Frank – How Does It Really Feel to Get Acquired?


Michael Waitze has been podcasting with some of the best investors and business builders globally and discussing all things startup with them from an Asian perspective. Michael worked in Global Finance for more than 20 years, employed by firms like Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs, primarily in Tokyo. Michael always maintained a particular focus on how technology could be used successfully to make businesses more efficient and to drive P/L growth. Michael is quite skilled at connecting people and capital to innovative ideas and is a trusted advisor to both investors and founders. Michael is a leader in the digital media space, having pioneered the concept of a podcast network in Asia while building the biggest and fastest-growing listener base in the region. His flagship website, AsiaTechPodcast.com, has listeners in over 100 countries and is available on virtually every podcast player that supports RSS feeds.

Currently the Co-founder and CEO of E-Direct Thailand (Frank.co.th). Before this, he was the co-founder and MD of Moxy/Orami Thailand growing the company from inception to a valuation of $50 million after a Series A raise from investors such as Sinar Mas Group, Eduardo Saverin, Ardent Capital, and Velos Partners. Prior to Moxy/Orami, Harprem was in the financial sector working under the private equities and derivatives division of a local firm where he managed high net-worth individuals and a portfolio over 1 billion THB.

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Asia InsurTech Podcast spoke with Harprem Doowa, the CEO and Co-Founder of Frank.co.th. Before starting Frank.co.th, Harprem was working in the e-commerce space and co-founded e-commerce company WhatsNew and Moxy. The lessons he learned about selling products online helped Harprem to start the successful online distribution platform Frank.co.th which was fully acquired in 2019. The reason Harprem decided to start an InsurTech startup as his next venture came from his own research. Looking at the e-commerce space in more mature markets in Europe, he predicted that insurance will be moving into digital distribution in Thailand sooner or later. 

His prediction paid off. Today Frank.co.th is part of Pacific Century Group’s new InsurTech venture bolttech and is working closely with the group’s insurer FWD. While the acquisition hasn’t made major news at the time, it is still one of the first acquisitions of an InsurTech startup by a conglomerate in Southeast Asia. The platform originally developed by Frank.co.th is now rolled out across the region within the bolttech ecosystem. 

Harprem reflects on his journey from starting a company to leading it to a successful exit, a goal most founders have in mind when founding a startup. He shares his experience of finding himself suddenly as an employee of a major conglomerate with very different skill sets required compared to his role as a founder. If you would like to learn more about Harprem’s journey, have a look at this article he published here or listen to our other episode with him here.

Other companies mentioned in this episode: Alibaba, Lazada, Tencent

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To get in touch with the Uncharted team, e-mail them at info@uncharted.global.

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