THAILAND’S online homecare start-up Saijai is eyeing the county’s ageing population of 16.3 million as a prime market opportunity. The greying of Southeast Asia’s second largest economy is on a fast growth trajectory, and it will account for 30 percent of the market by 2030. The needs of an ageing Thai society are shifting but the core values of taking care of older family members remain strong.
As Covid-19 firmly etched itself into the daily life of Thais, multi-generational households have increased resulting in a greater need for professional, real-time homecare services. This dynamic is set to continue, witnessed by heightened demand for larger family homes across the nation’s real estate markets, rising “friends and family” travel and greater emphasis on overall quality of life.
Saijai offers on-demand online homecare services to seniors in Thailand ranging from personal care and transportation to mobility and access to healthcare specialists, to meet the fast-growing need.
Saijai’s entrepreneurial digital journey started in late 2000 in the midst of the pandemic. Co-founder Bill Barnett comments, “the global crisis has created the biggest opportunity of our lifetime with widespread disruption of existing business models.”
A core pillar of its offering is for the senior segment and this is seen to be growing. “On demand services are the future of Thailand’s service sector and in a country of over 65 million people, the metrics are remarkably strong for businesses to grow,” Barnett said.
In September of last year Saijai’s phase one online homecare platform launched with an MVP (minimum viable product) strategy, pre-market valuation and seed investment round that will be closed in the first quarter of this year.
One factor that has spurred the enterprise is Thailand’s 75 percent mobile phone penetration meaning the Saijai community could come to market quickly through social media and applications such as LINE and Messenger rather than relying on web traffic.
Today, the Saijai marketplace not only provides homecare pairing for the elderly but also childcare, maids, tutoring, drivers and pets. A nationwide network of nearly 2,000 individual caregivers has been established on the platform and is increasing daily. ‘
On demand homecare has been a hit home in the wake of a work from home (WFH) culture, as it allows working parents the flexibility to provide assistance to seniors for medical appointments, indoor and outdoor activities or companionship.
“Thailand’s ad hoc or gig economy has skyrocketed, as legacy employment in hotels, restaurants and the service sector is simply no longer a given. Tourism represents as much as 20 percent of Thailand’s GDP. The ability of a platform like Saijai to effectively raise the standards of homecare is clear given an amazing talent pool of individuals who want to control their own schedules. Thailand’s shift to a home-based workplace is part of what Saijai is all about and intends to innovate in their online platform,” Barnett added.
Saijai co-founder Bill Barnett.