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Defire: AIT’s Development and Sustainability Student’s startup platform strives for a global trophy

30 May 2022
AIT webmaster

By Nitipol Kiravanich – Office of Public Affairs

19th May 2022 — A green finance platform called ‘Defire’ developed by Mr. Theethat Rangkasiri, a Master’s student in Development and Sustainability Program (DS), has recently won ‘SCG Bangkok Business Challenge @ Sasin 2022 – Thailand Competition’, securing 3,000 USD (approximately 100,000 THB). The project is now qualified to compete in the Global Competition stage.

Defire mission is to make a meaningful impact on society and contribute to climate change by reducing crop burning issues in Thailand. Defire operates with local farmers registering to the application, providing their personal information and information about their land — which allows a satellite system to collect data to be processed by machine learning to determine if and how much carbon is emitted through agricultural burning. The platform will provide the carbon credit to the organization that needs carbon offset. Money from the buyer will be converted and transferred to the farmers in the form of a point (or token), operating through Blockchain technology. In summary, the mission of Defire is “Stop Hunger, Stop Fire” as portrayed in 2R and 1I (reduce pollution, reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and increase farmer’s income). The platform was launched in June 2022 and can be accessed here defire.earth

Trophies received. Challenges continue.

Upon testing his start-up platform, Theethat (known as Erk) has brought Defire to confront multiple challenges through various competitions. Recently Defire has battled through 113 teams from 17 universities across the country — standing at the top in ‘SCG Bangkok Business Challenge @ Sasin 2022 – Thailand Competition’ (a competition held to seek the university team that can create the best world-class business development model under the topic of “Redefining the Future of Sustainable Ventures”). 

Defire has also secured first place in past competitions such as “Jump Thailand 2021” and “Faipa Hackathon.” “Jump Thailand 2021” is a hackathon organized by Thailand’s largest mobile phone operator: Advanced Info Service Public Company Limited (AIS). Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA) organized “Faipa Hackathon” which utilizes big data and satellites to tackle wildfire issues. 

From these competitions, Erk highlighted, “this makes me, the team, and platform grow exponentially in terms of learning and business experiences.” Moreover, the critical matter Erk has pointed out being a start-up company is the challenges. He said many people would doubt you and your ideas during the competition’s presentation and pitching stages. The most crucial part is realizing “you should trust what you are doing and being tested.” 

Sharing how he overcomes them (challenges), he pointed out his determination to make a better ecological system for the country and improve individuals’ lives; he can withstand what’s thrown at him.

Progress through partnerships

Currently, Defire is making its mark throughout the environmental community. It has now partnered with the Office of Farmers’ Reconstruction and Development Fund; Office of the Public Sector Development Commission; Thailand Science Research and Innovation (TSRI); National Innovation Agency (NIA); Carbon Markets Club led by Bangchak Corporation; Siam Kubota. 

In addition to successful partnerships, Mr. Methavee Patilake, Senior Analyst of the Sustainability department, said, “Defire is the first and only carbon credit supplier from the agricultural sector.” 

When asked about his current goal and what Defire is trying to achieve, Erk explained that Defire would continue its traction. With over 100 farmers pre-registered with the platform, he is expecting more to utilize the service and contribute to reducing crop burning by the end of this year (2022).

Defire is currently selected by MassChallenge Switzerland (one of the world’s leading startup accelerators) to be among the top 9% of applications, or the world’s 100 early-stage startups to join the 2022 Accelerator Program.

From July 8th to 10th, Defire will represent AIT and enter its most challenging competition in ‘SCG Bangkok Business Challenge @ Sasin, Asia’s longest-running global student start-up competition.’ The judging committee will include leading investors, entrepreneurs, and business professionals, who seek the most investor-ready start-up ventures based on submitted written business plans, live pitches, and venture exhibits. The competition will be participated by undergraduates and postgraduates undertaking any degree worldwide. Those who surge through the first round will compete to win a prize of 60,000 USD.