In this episode, Michael Waitze talks to Luck Saraya, who leads TOP Ventures, a corporate venture capital arm of Thai Oil PCL. Luck comes from a Chemical Engineering background and he worked in the product quality and logistics area at Thai Oil before transitioning to a Business Development role where he focused on overseas expansion. Luck holds an MBA from University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and a Bachelor of Chemical Engineer from Chulalongkorn University.
Luck explained that Thai Oil was doing an analysis of its businesses about 18 months ago and noticed that while the Research and Development teams were really strong, there was a gap in that research turning into commercial products. At the same time, they were considering how to invest in emerging technologies and business models that they saw were developing around them.
The outcome of these discussions was to set up a corporate venture capital business of which Luck is the Manager. Determining the three components of their investment thesis was not that hard. First, they wanted to invest in technologies that would enhance their existing energy businesses. Second, they wanted to invest in technologies that would extend their businesses. Finally, they wanted to invest in Disruptive businesses as well. The result of this was that Thai Oil set up a team of young and passionate staffs to pave the way into new business verticals and TOP Ventures was born.
Enhance. Extend. Disrupt.