After winning a scholarship to study at Stanford and spending 7 years getting “work experience” at Google’s Silicon Valley headquarters, Krating Ruangroj Poonpol returned to Thailand on a mission to become a catalyst that helps other entrepreneurs succeed in business.
Krating Ruangroj Poonpol (Krating Poonpol), is currently President of Technology at KBank and Group Chairman of Kasikorn Business Technology Group (KBTG). Dubbed “The Godfather of Startups” in Thailand, Krating is both a Stanford and Harvard graduate and has an ever expanding list of accomplishments and accolades to his name.
His origins though, were modest. He attributes much of his success to two primary school teachers and his mother, whose motto is indelibly imprinted on his brain: “Dream high, fight hard, and never give up”. From his father, he got “ideology in society”; the need to help people grow so that they can make a positive impact on the lives of those around them.
Dream High, Fight Hard, Never Give Up
A Passion for Education
Despite attending a very local school in rural Thailand, Krating has had a passion for education ever since his early years. It was at this school where he met two primary school teachers who literally changed his life and set him on a path which gave him his inspiration for business success.
One teacher went out of their way to cheer Krating up, which fuelled his self confidence. The other teacher was responsible for instilling a love of science. The school had no high tech equipment but this teacher had plenty of wisdom. He would use nature to exemplify scientific experiments; Krating recalls being taught the concept of surface tension but going on “a field trip” to watch a spider walking on water.
This teacher inspired Krating to enter a science Olympiad for which he spent 4 years studying to ultimately be awarded a gold in physics.
Career Path: Medicine or Engineering?
Krating’s father wanted his son to pursue medicine but his son was scared of both blood and ghosts to such an extent that he has even said he would have been Thailand’s, if not the world’s, worst doctor. Nevertheless, he passed the entrance exams for the Faculty of Medical Sciences at Siriraj Hospital but decided it was not his field and chose to pursue engineering instead.
Ultimately, Krating won a scholarship to study an MBA at Stanford University, graduating in 2007. He attended the Harvard AMP 199, and also the Kauffman Fellow Program in 2018.
Also in 2018 and continuing his passion for education, Krating Poonpol launched the Education Disruption Conference and Hackathon which, in its inaugural year, attracted 1,300 participants. In 2020, over 500 people from more than 150 teams participated in the hackathon.
After graduating from Stanford, Krating attended 9 interviews with Google who eventually offered him a job. He started working for them in Silicon Valley as a Qualitative Marketing Manager before being promoted to Global Lead Marketing Manager of Google Earth.
He describes his time spent at Google (7 years in total) as being “hard work which was never monotonous” and this reflects the company’s philosophy to "Have fun and change the world".
Krating Poonpol’s resume also includes past work as a McKinsey consultant, the investment manager of a PE firm, and the market strategy and planning manager of Rejoice and H&S for P&G Thailand.
Founder, Entrepreneur & Venture Partner
Krating Poonpol is the founder of Disrupt University in Thailand, a startup school offering courses to entrepreneurs. His motivation to set up this University was to help other people learn faster than he did. One of the University’s courses is VC 101, a three-day course that aims to help produce the best investors in Thailand.
Krating is well known for establishing Disrupt Technology Venture, one of the largest Thai startup incubators. Its purpose was to be the leading startup education and pre-accelerator in Southeast Asia. In 2017 alone, it raised over Bt. 250 million for startups.
A venture partner at 500 Tuk Tuks, this micro VC fund focuses on Thailand and Southeast Asia and invested in 57 startups during its first 3 years including FinAccel (US$2.5 Billion valuation), Carsome (US$1.6 Billion Valuation ), and Pomelo (more than US$190 M fund raised). Krating Poonpol is a founding partner of ORZON Ventures, a US$50 million venture fund.
He is also the founder of dtac Accelerate, which quickly became a “best in class” model in Southeast Asia, with a 70% follow-on funding rate.
Achievements & Accolades
Krating has been named “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum (WEF). The Nation Multimedia Group in Thailand nominated him as “Thailand Businessman of the Year” in 2016. He has been ranked fourth by IDG/IBM in their list of Top 50 ASEAN CIO’s and in 2021 as “Most Inspiring Leader of Thailand” and “Most People-Focused CEO of Thailand.
Krating was also the first Thai to be selected to participate in the Kauffman Fellow Programme; a prestigious honour which is the reserve of the world’s finest venture capitalist who, collectively, manage US$60 billion (Bt1.96 trillion) globally.
Krating Poonpol: Success in Life
Krating Poonpol is Thailand’s very own alpha self-made whiz-kid who says that he is fuelled by ambition, application and drive which motivates him to help numerous people who seek the same career trajectory as him.
He was born premature. He was bullied at school for being small. His parents were civil servants with aspirations for their child, but also plenty of guidance. There was no silver spoon or preferential treatment. Krating’s success is down to sheer determination and hard work.
The current President of Technology at KBank and Group Chairman of Kasikorn Business Technology Group (KBTG) believes that parents should be navigators for their children. They should open as many doors as possible for their children whilst giving them the freedom to think outside the box. He advises parents to look at what talents their children have.