Nicky Surapaitoon is excited by the tech startup world. She is currently heading up Tapp Commerce in Thailand.

What’s your story?
I started as a small girl from a tiny village in Khon Kaen province. With mud still between my toes I moved with wide eyes to the bright lights of Bangkok where I studied to be a Pharmacist. After doing my time as a retail pharmacist I founded my own chain of shops, but my heart wasn’t there. A chance lunch got me into the online start up game, I co-founded SawasdeeVIP on online buyers club of luxury items. Then with experience in the operations side and distribution I joined EasyTaxi (Rocket Internet), Deliveree (Inspire Ventures) and Sendit (Ascend). Currently I am country head of Tapp Commerce Thailand.

What excites you most about your industry?
The opportunity to learn and execute something totally different from my background. Tech startups are the most innovative/creative industry history has ever seen. It’s like Walt Disney said “if you can dream it, we can make it!”

What’s your connection to Asia?
Born and bred, a truly integrated Asian with a global perspective.

13320522_10154165075458830_129317131831250977_o 13305011_10154155929023830_4124771601192878691_o

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Wherever i lay my hat. Now it’s Bangkok, the epicentre of start ups in South East Asia. Tomorrow it could be Bangalore, Yangoon or Tokyo.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Pay it forward. Fail fast, don’t dwell on failures, learn from them.

Who inspires you?
All examples of triumph over adversity

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Russia, India, U.K., Thailand, Brazil, Germany, Korea, Australia, NZ, Myanmar*, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Argentina and most countries – have all been led by women. I have no glass ceiling!

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Nothing, I learn from history but I can only influence the future and not the past.

How do you unwind?
At home, cooking in the kitchen with a glass of wine – think “keith floyd”. Nesting on my couch watching a TV series or great movie with a glass of wine or sharing conversation and a bottle of wine with my friends. Seeing a common theme here?

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
After Bangkok, well we all know why. 1. Koggala, Sri Lanka if i wanna get my belly brown on the beach. 2. Yangon, Myanmar for a laid back and cool vibe to reconnect with my girls squad 3. Garak, Korea for seafood or great beef (don’t ask about chicken & beers in the Hof)

Everyone in business should read this book:
“Zero To One”by Peter Thiel & Blake Masters

Shameless plug for your business:
Tapp Commerce Thailand a Finland based mobile payment app. Tapp Commerce has raised $9 million to expand its operations in Southeast Asia for people without a bank account or credit card to make online payments. Tapp We bring buyers and sellers together with a mobile marketplace app, that makes purchasing online with cash easy and reliable. Now we’re hiring

How can people connect with you?

Twitter handle?

This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:

CallumConnectsCallum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.

Take the ‘Key Person of Influence’ scorecard <>

Connect with Callum here:
Get his free ‘Asia Snapshot’ report from

Recently Published

Key Takeaways: The fight against poverty and inequality is resuming with tools and programs that are more effective than ever before, thanks to a quiet revolt against business as usual. The evidence-based policy movement is increasingly being embraced by researchers, activists and government officials. The use of randomized controlled trials to assess social programs is […]
Key Takeaways: Physicists have long struggled to explain why the universe started out with conditions suitable for life to evolve. But another is that our universe is a computer simulation, with someone (perhaps an advanced alien species) fine-tuning the conditions. This leads to the extraordinary possibility that our entire universe might in fact be computer […]

Top Picks

Key Takeaways: The impacts of natural disasters, in particular those related to climate change, have been attracting growing attention. The results show that floods hamper GDP, with the extent depending on how financial intermediary activities respond to the floods. The study is related to a growing literature that quantifies the impact on natural disasters such […]
Key Takeaways: Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity has been remarkably successful in describing the gravity of stars and planets. However, gaps in our understanding start to appear when we try to apply it to extremely small distances, where the laws of quantum mechanics operate. A new study, published in Nature Astronomy, has now tested […]


I highly recommend reading the McKinsey Global Institute’s new report, “Reskilling China: Transforming The World’s Largest Workforce Into Lifelong Learners”, which focuses on the country’s biggest employment challenge, re-training its workforce and the adoption of practices such as lifelong learning to address the growing digital transformation of its productive fabric. How to transform the country […]

Join our Newsletter

Get our monthly recap with the latest news, articles and resources.


Welcome to Empirics

We are glad you have decided to join our mission of gathering the collective knowledge of Asia!
Join Empirics