Updated: Aug 9
Also on our substack newsletter - https://risinggiants.substack.com/p/rising-top-50-2022
We are pleased to present the first edition of the Rising Top 50, a list of 50 innovators across 13 business verticals, that are making moves in Cambodia as we turn the page on 2021 and welcome a new exciting period of growth and dynamism for the entrepreneurial and investment ecosystem in the country!
Max Thornton, Co-founder and Co-Host of Rising Giants, commented, “Rising Giants is excited to share what we have learnt over the last few years, exploring and speaking with some of the upcoming innovators in Cambodia, while this is not an exhaustive list of all the innovators, we feel these 50 companies are worth keeping up with, as they drive forward positive change in their sectors”
Dom Kalousek, Co-founder and Co-Host of Rising Giants, commented: “Over this past year, we have been very grateful for the time each of our guests spent with us discussing the startup ecosystem in Cambodia and the exciting next wave of innovation in the country. From these conversations, we researched each of the different sectors and highlighted 50 exceptional companies we believe will continue creating impact in the space."
A few facts to keep in mind on the list:
- It is not meant to be exhaustive
- 35 of the 50 are Cambodian-led (70%)
- 15 are former Rising Giants guests!
Rising Top 50 - Sector and Companies:
🥬 Agriculture (4) - Thaung Enterprise, Kirisu Farm, ATEC Biodigeesters, Azaylla
🖌 Design (2) - Raintree, The Idea
🧑🏽💻 E-commerce (7) - L192, Wing Mall, Nham24, Grocerdel, Smile, BLOC, Homeapp
🎫 E-ticketing (3) - Wonderpass, Camboticket, Bookmebus
👩🏽🏫 Education (4) - E School Cambodia, WEduShare, Edemy, SALATECH
🔋 Electric Vehicles (2) - TADA, Oyika
🌳 Environment (5) - GAEA, Vitaminair, KWSH, OTAGO, TapEffect
🍽 F&B (3) - Chef Nak, Seekers, Samai
🏦 Fintech (5) - Bakong, iCare Benefits, Banhji,, Morakot, Cambo Finance
💻 Hardware (3) - KOOMPI, VP Start, ArrowDot
🏥 Healthcare (3) - PillTech, Hospicare, MeetDoctor
🎥 Media & Entertainment (5) - Sabay, Baramey ,Klapyahandz, Mekhala, Cambodia Investment Review
💽 Software (4) - Codingate, KhmerDev, Selendra, Mekong Big Data
Introduction: Agriculture remains as the most important sector of the Cambodian economy, accounting for nearly ¼ of the country's GDP and employing ⅓ of the workforce in the country (3 million of the 9 million workforce). Furthermore, according to USAID, nearly “80 percent of Cambodians live in rural areas and 65 percent rely on agriculture, fisheries, and forestry for their livelihoods.” Today, the sector is facing numerous challenges in regards to the slow development of agricultural technology and its adoption by farming communities, as well as food crop production due to climate change and labor shortages. To combat this current situation the government has set up a policy to “modernize agriculture for a more sustainable and competitive sector” according to the National Agriculture Innovation System Assessment by the UN’s FAO.
What this means is the government’s focus of transforming the agriculture industry by encouraging technology based farming practices instead of labor intensive, enhancing access to regional and global markets for local products, promoting safe and environmentally friendly practices, and proper nutrition consumption among other initiatives. With this in mind, startups in Cambodia have been making strides to complement this vision. Below are 4 agriculture innovators in the sector we are keeping an eye out for in 2022. (Sources: USAID.gov, UN’s FAO Nat Agri Innovation System Assessment report June 2021, KH.usembassy.gov)
Thaung Enterprise is the largest salt producer and distributor in the country and was founded by Thyda Thaung alongside Narin Bun in Kampot in 2016 and has since spread locally and internationally. Thaung Enterprise is strategically located in the center of Kampot province with a total salt field size of 50 hectares. Thyda is an entrepreneur that has been recognized for her many successes, she is now expanding by exporting the product to international markets. Their mission is to provide the best quality products and services to their customers that contribute to their wellbeing and healthy lifestyles, using resources available in the community to significantly improve the community.
Kirisu Farm brings together Cambodia’s top homegrown entrepreneurs with international experts to create a harmonious, healthy, and happy environment for our cows to produce the freshest, tastiest milk available in the Kingdom. They have hundreds of purebred Australian Holstein Heifers, raised in the largest dairy farm in Cambodia with top of line processing facility using only world-class Israeli Agro tech.
The problem of deforestation and environmental damage caused by wood burning from garment factories/family kitchens. ATEC is focused on limiting Cambodia's carbon footprint by creating a magnetic induction stove (after their biodigestor product line) that requires very little energy and no wood burning at all. The installation of an ATEC biodigester requires an upfront cash payment of 550 – 650 USD including taxes (province dependent). The estimated average household payback period is 2 years when using the gas and fertilizer. Since 2015, ATEC has positioned itself as a leader in the field, offering digester systems to farmers, and is a triple bottom line impact enterprise. ATEC plans to also expand to 5 other countries worldwide by 2030: India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Vietnam and Indonesia.
Azaylla is solving bottlenecks in the agricultural supply chain in Cambodia: at one end, they help farmers get better prices and ensure consistent demand and on the other end, they help retailers/buyers source fresh vegetables and fruits at competitive prices directly from farmers. The company recently received investment from local venture capital firm UBERIS to expand its local network and give farmers access to customers not just in Phnom Penh, but also other major cities. Azaylla will focus on growing its market share and shrinking that of international imports, as it focuses on improving local food security, safety, and sustainability.
Introduction: Raintree and The Idea are two companies that have been able to find a unique approach to design in Cambodia grounded in fostering community. Raintree has been host to some of Cambodia’s leading innovators, offering an accessible work space orientated around creatives and entrepreneurs. The Idea has worked across the public, private and development sector to ‘design things that people will want to see, read, experience, own, gift, talk about’ putting the community, as well as social and environmental consciousness at the core of their projects.
Raintree is Cambodia's first creative office project, awarded "Best Office Development, Cambodia" at the International Property Awards. Situated in the heart of Phnom Penh's central business and banking district, Raintree houses 3000 square meters of flexible office space, complemented by a loft event space and outdoor terrace. The project serves a diverse community of professionals, creatives and entrepreneurs alike. Raintree is a project by local boutique developer Urbanland Asia and regional developer August Development Co. (ADC). The partnership was formed with the aspiration to contribute to the Phnom Penh urban landscape with a fresh approach that is design-conscious and community-focused.
The Idea is a social change consulting agency with a multi-disciplinary team of business consultants, data analysts, multimedia designers, project engineers, writers, trainers, and event planners. The Idea utilizes a Human Centered Design approach in designing and implementing solutions for the Cambodian Government, NGO's, social enterprises, and corporations. Recent projects include small business digitization, urban waste management/plastic reduction and a stadium redesign.
Introduction: Cambodia’s e-commerce space has seen accelerated adoption over the last few years driven by changing consumer behavior given the pandemic. Revenue in the e-commerce market is projected to reach US$1,086m in 2022. Revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2022-2025) of 16.72%, resulting in a projected market volume of US$1,727m by 2025. In the ecommerce market, the number of users is expected to amount to 7.8m users by 2025. User penetration will be 37.0% in 2022 and is expected to hit 44.1% by 2025. The average revenue per user (ARPU) is expected to amount to US$171.01. The market's three largest segments are Fashion, Electronics & Media and Food & Personal Care. Although ARPU and user penetration are still significantly below global averages. (Source: Statista Cambodia e-commerce)
Leading online shopping app in Cambodia which provides users access to thousands of stores. In addition they boast same day delivery and strong service support, as well as offer cashless/contactless payments/dropoff. Starting in 2010 when there was no online shop in Cambodia at all.They currently have the largest fashion collection in Cambodia with over 100,000 fashion styles in Cambodia. They plan to expand to other verticals such as beauty products and electronics.
WingMall allows Wing App users to purchase goods conveniently, securely, instantly and at no extra cost. WingMall, an exciting new e-commerce platform, will make online purchases easier than ever by allowing users to buy thousands of products from hundreds of various retailers from the convenience of their home via the Wing Money App. With just a few taps on their smartphone, purchases will be delivered instantly to the customers without the need to travel to stores or wait in long queues.
Cambodia's largest online food and grocery delivery service with the largest selection of restaurants, cafes, and supermarkets in the country. Their innovation lies in their ability to promise the lowest prices and have the best in-app customer service in the nation. Nham24 is also well funded through local venture capital firm, Smart Axiata Digital Innovation Fund.
Grocerdel is an online grocery store that delivers goods from local businesses and wholesale products. Their website and mobile applications offer more than 2,000 products and guarantee that everything is delivered fresh. Launched in 2019, the company focuses on supporting women entrepreneurship (from CEO to drivers/deliverers). They have more than 300 farmers from across Cambodia, mostly from small outfits that only sell maybe one or two vegetables.
Leading e-commerce/digital marketplace in Cambodia who has engaged in a recent strategic partnership with VC Jin Sha Group who will provide support by building new infrastructure, vocational education, healthcare, new media, and agritech. This is a major step towards building a super e-commerce platform in the eyes of their founder, Jack Lee.
BLOC is an online mall and delivery app that offer merchants an e-commerce platform to sell their food and products and have them delivered to their customers' doorsteps in Phnom Penh within minutes, and to all 25 provinces in Cambodia in 2-days or less.
Homeapp is an online marketplace which connects homeowners to architects, constructors, and building materials for building or renovating a house. The first tech company in Cambodia that aims to gather local architects, constructor, and skilled labor in our platform for promoting the pride of Cambodia construction to the world. Their mission is to develop the construction sector by bringing technology to improve the quality of work.
Introduction: Since the pandemic, Cambodia’s tourism industry has taken an enormous hit with international tourism revenue dropping nearly 80 percent in 2020, or representing only 3 percent of the country’s GDP (vs 12 percent in 2019). Despite this headwind, there was a strong increase in local tourism activity to start the 2022 year which can be viewed as a positive indicator as the country re-opens in a post-pandemic environment. There are certainly challenges the sector will face during this forecasted U-shape recovery as the country is working on setting policies for living in the “New Normal”, but the long term view of this recovery is leading to digital innovation across different ticketing platforms through contactless solutions creating smooth travel experiences for tourists. Below are 3 e-ticketing companies we are excited about having on our radar heading into 2022. (Sources: Phnom Penh Post, World bank)
Wonderpass is a cashless smart-ticketing and event management platform that was launched with support from the Haystack Fund – a global investment capital firm. Haystack has capitalized $2 million to invest in digital ventures in Cambodia, including $1 million to develop the pioneering Wonderpass platform. In December 2021, Wing and Wonderpass signed a memorandum of understanding to work on a strategic partnership to promote payment technology through cashless payments, e-payments, wearable payment solutions, smart ticketing, as well as the digitalisation of tourist experiences during the post-Covid era.
Camboticket was founded in 2014 as the first online-only ticketing option for buses, ferries and taxis in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. Being a popular option among locals and tourists, the company services over 150 routes and has partnered with leading tour operators in the Mekong region. Camboticket also provides technology solutions to its transportation partners, including Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), which helps partners manage their business and more efficiently distribute their seat inventory. In addition, newly established Cambodian VC Fund Haystack Asia acquired a 25% stake of the company back in June 2021, further expanding its footprint in emerging tech in the sector.
Founded in 2015 by Langda Chea, BookMeBus is the go-to booking platform for Cambodians and other travelers looking for bus, ferry, and taxi in Cambodia and Indochina. The company's award-winning SaaS Ticketing Management System is being used by various transportation operators in the region, facilitating over 2M travelers per year. Now partnering with over 60 transport operators, and covering more than 300 routes, BookMeBus maintains its vision to build and grow an ecosystem around transportation in Cambodia and beyond. A SmallWorld Venture & BOD Tech Venture portfolio company. Recently, BookMeBus has announced its joint-venture with one of the leading logistics companies, Virak Buntham, on an e-commerce marketplace and last-mile delivery called VTENH.
Introduction: Due to the pandemic, Cambodia’s education system has been heavily affected due to the impact of school closures and the longevity of these closures. With the Ministry of Health acting fast to prevent the spread of the virus, the education sector was challenged to quickly adapt to a remote first environment which has created a lasting impact for the younger generation down the road. The Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport (MoEYS) implemented a mix of efforts in response to these challenges by enabling remote learning practices, web available tools, and more. Even with internet penetration of the Cambodian population at around 80% (World Bank) as of 2020, there were still additional challenges faced in remote learning due to access to reliable internet and electronic equipment especially in rural areas of the country. Now that schools have reopened in Q4 of 2021, while still implementing proper safety protocols and remote learning practices, several startups have emerged in the EdTech sector as impact players who will drive forward more accessible digital learning. Whether it’s a platform offering full online curriculums for major subjects or educating and training teachers how to lead a classroom in the post-pandemic “New Normal”, here are 4 startups we will be looking out for in 2022. (Source: World Bank, covid-19 socio economic impact report (UN))
E-School Cambodia is an online learning platform taught by "exceptional" teachers in Cambodia. E-School Cambodia has so far produced about 20,000 high quality videos for 200 classes of general education from K1 to K12, life skills, foreign languages, and computer literacy, and offered an app for tests as well as performance tracking of participating students. There are about one million users engaging in online education modules run by the E-School Cambodia. E-School Cambodia’s Lun Borey was presented with a prize for the MoEYS E-Learning App at the 2021 Cambodia ICT Awards. In addition, the company decided to provide one-year online learning for grade-12 students in 2021 free of charge to support their study amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Founded in 2016, WEduShare opens the door for Cambodian students to study abroad opportunities by distributing trusted information, providing useful resources, and connecting local students to numerous academic institutions from across the globe. To date, WEduShare has become one of Cambodia’s largest online education platforms in the country. The services they provide include initial stage consultation, application process, affordable translation, and visa processing to ensure students successfully stepping on board with their overseas education. According to their website, they have 800 institutions as partners, 233K users, and over 3 million website visitors.
Edemy is an online education platform that offers a number of solutions by developing online learning tools for their eLearning Platform and Tesdopi app. They offer a learning management system that enables teachers and trainers to provide timely and personalized support to students informed by the learning analytics. The company’s Tesdopi តេស្ត១២ app is an assess-and-improve tool to help high school students excel in math and science subject. It currently has over 8K exercises, 20k downloads, 5k monthly users, and won the best social innovation award in 2019. Edemy also has major partners, including USAID, Smart, Asia Foundation, Unilever, and more.
Started in 2018, SALA is a technology company developing school management software to improve the Cambodian education system and enhance the academic experience of students, teachers, and administrators. Through their mission of transforming Cambodian schools traditional management operations, SALA’s software provides a full ecosystem of features around 2 products: SALA Management (cloud-based software helping manage admin and academic tasks in one virtual space) and SALA Enrollment (a university listing website and online admissions portal). The company has won a number of accolades as well, most recently being selected as the best tech startup of the year in 2020 at the Cambodian ICT Awards. A portfolio company of Smart Axiata Digital Innovation Fund.
🔋 Electric Vehicles
Introduction: At the end of last year, the government was preparing policy frameworks and structures for electric vehicles (EV) that would align with their carbon-emission reduction game plan. Since the country is in the early stages of EV adoption, there has been immense focus on laying a foundation that will lead to future adaptation and success. At the top of the list includes creating synergies between the national electrical grid and transport electrification, quality control around battery disposition facilitates, installation of charging stations on along the expressway (Phnom Penh to Sinhanoukville), and available service stations with trained mechanics that specialize in EV.
There are over 1m registered vehicles in Cambodia, by most estimates less than 100 are EVs (0.0001%). To encourage adoption, Cambodia has instituted favorable tax rates for that of EV vehicles but there are a few hurdles for mass adoption of these vehicles and motorbikes to overcome. A few of them include social infrastructure of EV motorbikes in rural provinces (due to road conditions and charging station capabilities) and commuter concerns of re-charging stations compared to that of fuel-powered motorcycles. Comparatively, the government’s top priority of cutting carbon emission and the increase of purchasing power of Cambodians over the next decade contribute to the EV sector in Cambodia having a bright future ahead. Below we highlight two companies in the space currently that are making a first mover impact and should be on the lookout as we head into 2022. Sources: (phnom penh post, KH times, daydaynews).
Ride-hailing app TADA has embarked on a Cambodian first – to supply electric vehicles in the shape of the widely used tuktuk for the Southeast Asian market. TADA, which means “let’s ride” in Korean, is based in Singapore and South Korea and is run as MVLLABS Pte Ltd (MVL). It was announced that the blockchain-based zero-commission ride-hailing service has secured $5m in fresh funding led by Korea Central Co Ltd, the manufacturer and supplier of steering and suspension parts for all types of vehicles that are produced in Korea. The latest $5m funding aims to set its sights on distribution and sales of an estimated 10,000 e-tuktuks by the end of 2023 under the new brand Onion Mobility. They have over 81,000 drivers and more than 550,000 users utilize our services across Singapore, Vietnam and Cambodia.
OYIKA is a Singapore venture-funded company which started working on a battery share concept for e-motorbikes in 2018. In 2019, OYIKA arrived in Cambodia and launched a service in the capital of Phnom Penh. The company offers a battery share concept and allows an e-motorbike rider to swap their leased depleted battery for a fully charged one at a swap station. So instead of topping up petrol at a kiosk when the vehicle runs out of fuel, the rider is now topping up on stored power. Battery share, therefore, replaces petrol and thus it is also cheaper. In addition, they also offer battery swap bundled with its partners’ e-motorbikes on a pay-as-you-go basis for short trips, daily rents, by the week, and by the month. It is a prepaid mobile phone plan but with a phone provided for use.
Introduction: For this section we wanted to highlight some companies that put the environment at the center of their vision as a company, working on essential issues such as waste management, reforestation, water distribution and sustainable building materials. In recent years waste management has become a central urban issue making the case for further investment into the recycling sector, on-grid solar capacity was 75MW in 2018 and is expected to reach over 400MW given current approved projects, water distribution is continuing to improve and reach the 2m people in the country that still do not have access to safe water and with the continued construction boom all over Cambodia some companies are attempting to rethink the inputs. (Sources: OBOR Capital, UNDP, Water.org)
Global Action for Environment Awareness Plc. (GAEA) was established in July 2007 with the aim to provide waste management services for municipalities throughout Cambodia and is now operating in five provinces: Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Bantey Minchey, Kampong Thom and Kampot. GAEA provides several types of services: municipal solid waste collection, cleaning services, sorting, recycling etc..In early 2021, GAEA in a joint venture with Singapore based 800 Super Waste Mgt, were awarded a contract for waste collection and transportation in one of the capital’s three rubbish collection zones. An OBOR Capital portfolio company.
VitaminAir is a sustainable agriculture, forestry, and rural residential community project located in Cambodia, which is focused on sustainability, reforestation, and CO2 reduction. The technologies and methods VitaminAir is working on include a blockchain-based natural resources tokenization program, drone-based data collection activities for forest surveillance patrol and seed-bombing and an atmospheric water capture and delivery system for targeted irrigation projects. A SmallWorld Venture portfolio company.
Founded in 2013, Khmer Water Supply Holding (KWSH) is a venture-backed private water utility committed to expanding access to clean and affordable piped water across rural Cambodia. KWSH invests in private water supply stations then leverages its expertise and economies of scale to streamline central operations, improve water quality, and build infrastructure that increases the station’s reach. To date, the company operates five water treatment stations with licenses to provide 500K Cambodians with clean, piped water. KWSH is preparing to enter a phase of rapid growth and has plans to more than double in size over the next two years. An OBOR Capital portfolio company.
OTAGO is a business leader in the eco-friendly char-briquettes sector and a benchmark for renewable biomass energy. OTAGO created an environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional coal, through converting coconut shells to char-briquettes, with “every 1 tonne of char-briquette sold capable of saving 16.5 metric tonnes of CO2 emissions.” In addition, the company provides advanced technical assistance for the design, set-up and operation of environmentally friendly charcoal briquettes production plants. Recently, Carlos Figa, CEO and Founder of OTAGO (KGC) was awarded "Cavaliere dell'Ordine della Stella d'Italia" by Sergio Mattarella, President of Italy for his entrepreneurship endeavors in sustainable green energy in Cambodia and Southeast Asia.
TapEffect offers a fully integrated suite of solutions for bringing tap water to last-mile. They provide safe & affordable water to underserved rural & semi-rural communities through a unique management approach for piped water systems. Their vision is to increase access to affordable clean tap water for households in under-served towns and rural areas of Cambodia. The company works with private water operators to implement best practice in bringing safe water to their communities.
🍽 Food & Beverage
Introduction: Since the early 2010’s, global food and beverage franchises have entered the market in Cambodia from the likes of The Pizza Company, KFC, Burger King, and more. According to Mordor Intelligence Inc’s on Cambodia’s food and beverage industry in 2021, Cambodia’s foodservice market was valued at $1.17M and forecasted to register a CAGR of 13.57% from 2021-2026. In addition, groups such as United Food Group (Pizza Hut) and Express Food Group have entered the country as new competitors in 2021/2020 and are actively expanding their foodservice business in the country that is largely dominated by these major competitors (such as Restaurant Brands International, Starbucks, Domino’s and Yum! Brands to name a few more). Of the overall market share, though, independent restaurants still have a strong hold on market share as they have more affordable offerings of foreign cuisines compared to full-service and chain restaurants. The emergence of these independent entrepreneurs have led to award winning products from locally sourced ingredients. Below are 3 local companies from Cambodia’s F&B sector that you should look out for heading into 2022 who are looking to make a big impact in the industry. (Source: Mordor Intelligence Report)
Chef Nak (Rotanak Ros) is Cambodia's first female celebrity chef whose mission is to celebrate, develop and preserve the art of Cambodian (Khmer cuisine) and bring its unique flavors and rich culinary culture to the world's stage. As a passionate cook, successful entrepreneur, healthy lifestyle advocate, loving wife and mother of two, she shares her knowledge in the form of books, online cooking shows and toursIn 2019, Rotanak released "Nhum: Recipes from a Cambodian Kitchen", a collection of approximately 80 traditional Cambodian recipes from various parts of Cambodia, in both English and Khmer, and sold in over 35 countries around the globe. She is also in the process of creating Cambodia's first culinary center, located on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.
Cambodia's first premium gin distillery, since inception in 2018, Seekers has grown to become a household name in the country and recognized for their locally sourced, bold flavors in major spirit competitions around the world. As they put it; “we are pioneering spirits from the inside out. Our trail of discovery maps the flow of the mighty Mekong, uniting the diverse cultures & flavors of Southeast Asia that share its water. From the spirit within flows a deeper fountain of life, that we will forever celebrate on our journey.”
Founded by Diego Wilkins, Daniel Pacheco and Antonio Lopez in 2014, Samai Distillery is a Cambodian premium rum manufacturer in Phnom Penh and the first of its kind in the country. Viewed as a trailblazer in the F&B sector in Cambodia, the distillery was originally incubated at Diageo’s distillery incubation program. Since inception, Samai’s rums have won numerous awards from across the world such as the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, the London International Spirits Challenge, the Singapore World Spirits Competition and the Miami International Rum Conference. For their ingredients, they use the “finest Cambodian raw materials”, such as top-quality molasses, Kampot Pepper (the most aromatic and delicious pepper in the world), among many others.
Introduction: Arguably one of the most exciting sectors in Cambodia, the FinTech space is primed for mass breakout potential in what has been traditionally a nascent industry compared to that of other ASEAN countries such as Vietnam and Singapore. Though the Kingdom stands as one of the slowed digital banking adoption nations, the pandemic has accelerated the development of digital banking solutions and electronic money. This jumpstart of innovation systems, such as the Cambodian Shared Switch (CSS) system which “provides the country with an electronic clear system that facilitates secure and effective electronic payment in the financial sector”, is providing an opportunity for FinTech payment platforms to exceed in their platforms adoption. To provide a quick scope of the banking sector, Cambodia has 56 commercial banks, 11 specialized banks, and a number of MFI’s, totaling 2,600 headquarters and branches throughout the country, per the NBC annual report. It was reported in 2021 that despite the pandemic, there was strong loan and deposit growth within the country, rising by 21.2% and 15.4% respectively. Of the 16 million population, just over 12 million deposit accounts are live and 3.3 million credit accounts are at the country’s banks and MFIs. Aside from the banking sector, there are players in the insurance and personal finance space who are utilizing FinTech to provide solutions to their customers and users. We are excited to share 4 startups and one digital currency created by the NBC that should be on the lookout for 2022. (sources: Khmer Times, NBC annual report, Market Research Cambodia, ibs Intelligence)
In October 2020, the National Bank of Cambodia launched its own digital currency called Bakong. There are currently over 200,000 users of the Bakong digital wallet, while more than 5.9 million users have benefitted indirectly through the use of online banking apps connected to the system. More than 1.4 million Bakong transactions were recorded in the first half of 2021 alone, with a total value of around $500 million. This is proof that through a hybrid use of traditional electronic banking and the implementation of an innovative digital wallet, such as those used in decentralized finance, users of banks as well as underserved citizens stand to benefit.
iCare Benefits Cambodia is a Cambodian subsidiary of iCare Benefits Group that provides women factory workers a breakthrough buy-now-pay-later program at their workplace. They enable manufacturers, distributors, banks and service providers to serve workers at the bottom of the economic pyramid. In October 2021, iCare Benefits Group and Sathapana Bank signed a cooperation agreement to collaborate on a variety of projects that are expected to benefit consumers and drive towards real, tangible financial inclusion.
BanJI is the local leader in accounting software for micro, small and medium enterprises MSMEs providing a financial platform and applications that are fully connected with the payment and financing ecosystem to enable smart decisions, inclusive access to financial services, and innovative access to working capital financing. A portfolio company of Smart Axiata Digital Innovation Fund.
Established in 2015, Morakot Technology has emerged as a leading core-banking system provider in Cambodia and currently serves 45 MFIs and banks in the Kingdom and Myanmar. The company specializes in loan tracking and accounting processes for MFIs and banks under a single central hub. The platform also integrates with the Credit Bureau of Cambodia’s database, which facilitates faster loan processing and approval. In June 2020, Wing and Morakot partnered to assist microfinance institutions (MFIs) and banks in their loan payment collections, which will help reduce their operating costs. A portfolio company of Smart Axiata Digital Innovation Fund.
CamboFinance is the first and largest personal finance community who envision a future where every Cambodian spends, saves, and invests every riel they earn wisely. They distinguish themselves as a digital “school” where every Cambodian can learn more about Personal Finance - the company was founded in 2019.
Introduction: in this section we want to talk about three companies that we believe are setting the stage for new possibilities as to how high-tech hardware can be produced in Cambodia, whether that's student notebooks, smart grid systems or industrial control systems. These companies are looking to provide alternatives to international brands and make the case for a locally assembled / manufactured product, that takes into consideration the unique context of the Cambodian consumer, not an afterthought, but a primal thought.
KOOMPI is a technology development company that designs and builds solutions-oriented productivity tools for next-generation doers and innovators. KOOMPI is focused on empowering our youth and workforce both locally and globally, in developed and undeveloped nations, through the design, development, implementation, provision and support of our full line of low-cost, full-power, off-grid open-source notebook and netbook solutions. A SmallWorld Venture portfolio company.
Founded in 2014, by a team of Khmer engineers specializing in power and electrical systems. VP. Start Technology has become the leader in smart-grid system development and grid modernization throughout Cambodia. Their team collaborates with the largest transnational public and private electric utilities throughout power generation, transmission and distribution grids. The team provides both public and private sector organizations with complete end-to-end hardware and software solutions developed in-house such as IoT devices and SCADA software enabling higher energy reliability, affordability and efficiency. VP. Start is also looking to make inroads into the smart-home market with newly developed solutions in the pipeline to bring automation, remote-control capabilities and "datafication" for all.
Arrowdot is an Automation Company working on Industrial Control System, IOT System, and Electronics Product Development since 2012. Their engineers design, fabricate, and install both hardware and software. Their mission is to become a leading electronics and automation solution company in Cambodia. They were awarded the best Digital R&D of the Year at the 2021 Cambodia ICT awards. They have multiple product lines including FireDot (prevent fatalities and catastrophic damage to properties in the Kingdom as a consequence of fires), ELCVM (Emergency Low Cost Ventilator Machine (ELCVM) - introduce oxygen and breathe air to the airways for patients suffering from respiratory ailments).
Introduction: The healthcare sector in Cambodia is going through a period of significant growth and digitization. Current spending on healthcare is estimated at $1.5bn (6/7% of GDP) with an increase in local demand for in-country high quality healthcare services. Pharmacies represent the frontline for healthcare in the country and many new digital/remote solutions are being offered to meet the demands of the emergent middle class such as online doctor consultations as well as in-home nursing care. (Source: World Bank).
Pharmacy ordering platform wanting to streamline pharmacists ability to restock medicine and validate the integrity of the medicine, all the while allowing the pharmacist to focus on supporting the patient. PillTech wants to address some of the biggest healthcare challenges in the industry faced by pharmacists - namely digitalization, efficient medication sourcing and quality supply chain management. The online pharma ordering platform is built by a multidisciplinary team of pharmacists, software developers and business experts to free more time for pharmacists to consult their patients, addressing both healthcare and business concerns with one simple solution. They have recently won awards for best digital startup (Cambodian ICT Awards) and ASEAN’s Top Startup Award at the ASEAN ICT Awards.
Founded in 2019, Hospicare is a health care service which serves for elder or disable people who are in need in their home or hospital. Beside the service of caring for general patients (referring elder patients or patients with illness), they also provide services to employees (private, organization, etc) meeting the highest standard of medical care including professional nurses who serve 24/7. They also offer short-term solutions in the form of rehabilitative stays following surgery, illness or injury. A SmallWorld Venture portfolio company.
MeetDoctor is a platform that provides one-stop healthcare services including online medical consultation with medical specialties, medicine delivery, home lab test, and medical appointment. In January 2022, IGG committed to fully funding MD’s pre-seeding ask in the form of capital investment, as well as technology development and support, at a significant six digits valuation, to further support MD’s tech development, the company’s strategic business growth and expansion within the Phnom Penh, provincial areas as well as abroad.
🎥 Media & Entertainment
Introduction: Cambodia’s media and entertainment sector has been on a boom as of lately and is rapidly changing thanks to the takeover of digital. Sabay Digital Corporation, led by Chy Sila, marks as the leading digital and entertainment groups in the country and continues to be a pioneer through the gaming, media, and SMS content space. There is also a wave of Cambodian music artists, such as Laura Mam and Oun Batham (Sai), are on a mission to revitalize the industry within the country and abroad. Additionally, the pick up of investment interest in Cambodia has led to the creation of Cambodia Investment Review - a first of its kind local news outlet dedicated to Cambodian investment news. The combination of each of these pieces of the media and entertainment industry marks only the beginning of a very bright future for the sector.
Sabay Digital Corporation is a multi platform content provider based in Cambodia. They have a diverse range of brands, being the first to introduce online gaming (RPG JusticeXwar Online –JX2 and Attack Online – AK ), unified SMS content and original online entertainment (movies, music and TV) and entertainment news portal under the sabay.com.kh website. A young company, Sabay is always pushing the envelope and looking to expose the Cambodian public to new content and entertainment. They have a number of products and services that they offer, with Sabay News being the most visited and popular Khmer website, with more than 20 million page views and almost 2 millions unique visitors per month.
Baramey is a pioneer in Cambodia’s music industry. Formed as part of the country’s “original music movement”, Baramey created a platform for artists to release their songs in a domestic market that had been dominated by music piracy. The label has also helped shape local practices, establish new benchmarks and introduce a level of professionalism to the nascent Cambodian music sector. In August 2021, Warner Music Group’s ADA Asia entered into a partnership with Baramey marking the first time a label from Cambodia has signed a deal with a major international record company.
Launched in 2005 by creative entrepreneur Sok Visal, KLAPYAHANDZ is a Worldwide collective of Khmer singers, rappers, artists and producers working together to promote Cambodia, its people, arts, culture and history through hip hop, R&B and alternative music. In Cambodia, KLAPYAHANDZ is an independent music label producing exclusively original tracks to promote creativity and originality with the younger generation of local Khmer artists.
Cambodia Investment Review is a first of its kind local news outlet dedicated to Cambodian investment news in the English language. CIR is focused on encouraging more quality investment in Cambodia by publishing the latest business and investment news to both local and international audiences. In collaboration with its investment partner Aquarii SG, the news outlet focuses on sharing news around later stage investment development and news in Cambodia.
Mekhala Radiant is a “360° Communications in Cambodia and across Indochina; “we go the extra mile for our clients. Our public relations professionals craft campaigns that are not only bold and bodacious - they demand interplay and exchange, building abiding relationships that generate value and change conversations.” MRC has a stellar reputation for working with international and local brands in Cambodia and the region to help them better communicate to the world.
Introduction: the need for excellent software developers and outsourcing providers has become a key enable of further digital development in Cambodia. Most businesses recognise a need to at least move to a hybrid structure of both an online and offline presence. Codingate and KhmerDev are two leading players in the country that offer essential solutions that effectively outsource the CTO function, to provide a one-stop shop approach to digital business needs. Furthermore, blockchain and data engineering represent two emergent sectors that have seen increased adoption and applicability in recent years.
Codingate was founded in 2013, in Phnom Penh as a social enterprise by a group of technically inclined Cambodian youth and since then it has grown to become one of the most well known businesses in Cambodia. They assist businesses in streamlining their operations, and help them overcome inefficiencies or help them start using new, tech-based products. They have helped more than 100 companies to digitize their businesses, which has helped them to communicate with their clients more efficiently. Codingate also focuses on web and graphic design as well as mobile development. They also count SmallWorld Venture as an investor.
Since it was founded in 2001, KhmerDev has pioneered the IT industry in Cambodia, leading major companies, SMEs and Government Ministries to the digital era. Powered by Haystack Labs, KhmerDev is evolving into a Service Design Agency, ready for the Kingdom’s fast-growing tech scene. KhmerDev has managed over 250 projects and worked with over 150 domestic and international partners.. The company offers a large range of services for both public and private companies.
Selendra is multi-chains nominated proof-of-stake system built with Substrate framework for mainstream users adoption by empowering developers to build blockchain applications with very minimal learning curve. Selendra is designed upon a philosophy of openness and connectivity, acting as a gateway to other blockchain networks, resulting in an extended range of new business use-cases. A SmallWorld Venture portfolio company.
Mekong Big Data is an advanced analytics consultancy and systems integration partner specialized in Data Science and project management based in Phnom Penh. They have sister companies, DataU, was founded in 2019, and is Cambodia’s first skills training academy dedicated to data science, IT in data, and digital marketing. What makes their program unique is that over 30% of their curriculum is dedicated to soft skills training to ensure that our trainees are fully equipped for the workforce.
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