OOCTANE Cambodia, a venture capital firm under the umbrella of the Worldbridge Group, announced yesterday the launch of a fund to invest in local and international entrepreneurs in Cambodia.
The Cambodia Startup Fund seeks to fuel the aspirations of exceptional entrepreneurs with a vision of transforming Cambodia into a digital powerhouse, said Sear Rithy, chairman of the Worldbridge Group.
The fund will consist of $5 million for the initial stage, with plans to raise an additional $30 million next year, according to Mr Rithy.
“I will be the lead investor in the fund with a $5 million investment, but we are in talks with other potential investors as well,” he said.
“Individual investments from the fund will start at $5,000 up to $10,000 for startups in the initial stages of ideation. For startups which have at least a minimum viable product, funding will be available starting at $25,000 per company.”
Mr Rithy said the fund will contribute more than just money. “It is more than just capital that we are bringing. We are connected to a regional and global network of experts and entrepreneurs in the domains of cybersecurity, the Internet of Things, data and machine learning, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, software and hardware, peer-to-peer networks and electronic payments.”
He said OOCTANE is also seeking partnerships with incubators and accelerators which will help funded startups scale quickly.
“I will not give them the fish; I will teach them how to catch it. I will teach startups how to make money,” Mr Rithy said.
“In general, we are looking for cutting edge projects in the STEAM domains – science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics,” he added.
Saing Sab, hedge fund manager at Small World, a collaborative workspace in Phnom Penh founded by a group of young Cambodians, told Khmer Times he is happy that companies like Worldbridge are supporting local startups and SMEs.
“They see the potential of young entrepreneurs, and they see the impact they could have in the future,” Mr Sab said. “We would be happy to work with OOCTANE and introduce them to some of our brightest startups.”
Kan Channmeta, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, said the goals of OOCTANE’s new fund are aligned with those of the governement, which include boosting innovation and supporting new creative business ideas.
“I’m confident the fund will empower local startups and propel Cambodia into the digital future.”
“Young tech startups are in need of dynamic mentorships and financial support, and this is exactly what OOCTANE offers.”
Mr Rithy said OOCTANE will be a game-changing contribution to the digital economy of Cambodia, increasing the competitiveness of local businesses and enriching the lives of Cambodians.
“All tech-startups and SMEs are invited to submit their innovative and creative ideas and business plans to OOCTANE. We will evaluate them and select the company that we wish to fund,” he added.