Rising Giants Newsletter - May 2022 Edition
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Welcome to the Rising Giant's Podcast Newsletter by Max Thornton and Dom Kalousek.
▶️ Rising Giants Recap
N.50 - Kay Woo, Founder, MVLChain, TADA & Onion Mobility
Kay Woo is the founder of MVLChain, TADA and Onion Mobility. TADA, which is powered by MVLChain, is Southeast Asia’s first blockchain-based zero-commission ride-hailing service having launched in Singapore and Cambodia. They closed a $5m Series A investment at the end of 2019 to further strengthen their position as innovators in the mobility sector in Southeast Asia, led by South Korean VC firm, SV Investment, alongside two of the largest car parts manufacturers, Central and SIMWON Inc. Onion Mobility, a new venture of MVL/TADA, was recently launched in Cambodia marking the first electric tuk-tuks to be made available in the market.
N.51 - Tomas Pokorny, Co-Founder of Brixie and Board Director at Cambodia Association of Finance and Technology (CAFT)
Tomas has had a very successful career, personally taking on many different challenges early on starting as an aviation engineer, working in many diverse environments around the world, and ultimately landing in Cambodia founding his own ventures and becoming CEO of Pi-Pay - one of Cambodia's most successful e-payment services & payment infrastructure providers that focuses on merchant payments and users and data engagement. He is passionate about the fintech industry and is one of the hardest working individuals we have had the pleasure of speaking with to date.
Today, Tomas is currently a Board Director at Cambodia Association of Finance and Technology (CAFT), an organization that connects communities across various business verticals with finance and technology industry (fintech) and to support and drive towards digitalization of the Cambodian economy. In addition, he is currently Co-Founder and Group CEO of Brixie - a fintech investment startup that is working to provide opportunities for users to own real estate through the tokenization of these assets.
📝 Venture Capital Deal Flow Highlights in Southeast Asia
Super, the Indonesian social commerce startup focused on small towns and rural areas, announced it raised an oversubscribed $70 million Series C. Super currently works with third-party logistics providers to create a hyperlocal logistics platform that it says can deliver consumer goods to thousands of agents within 24 hours of an order. (Link here.)
Jarkata-based Astro, which provides 15-minute grocery delivery, has recently closed a $60 million Series B financing round. With e-grocery penetration in the country remaining low and estimated to be just 0.5% by 2022, there’s a huge opportunity for companies like Astro that are trying to prove the convenience of online grocery ordering over brick-and-mortar visits. The e-grocery delivery market in Indonesia is projected to reach $6 billion by 2025. Astro offers 15-minute delivery within a range of 2-3 km through its network of rented “dark stores,” which are distribution hubs set up for online shopping only. (Link here.)
Cambodian 24 hour retail chain Kiwi Mart has sold its 18 stores to the Thai-owned and regional powerhouse chain brand Big C as Cambodia’s retail sector prepares for increased competition from big brand players. Established in 2017, with a moto of “anything, anytime, anywhere” Kiwi Mart was initially focused on fast moving consumer goods and packaged foods then shifting during the pandemic to new concept of Kiwi Mart Premium selling imported fresh food. Rising incomes, connection to the Big C brand, strategic supply chain locations and overall similar consumer demand to Thailand were major factors for the expansion. (Link here.)
Indonesian insurtech startup Qoala, has successfully raised Series B funding of $65 million. The company distributes retail insurance products to consumers for car, bike, home, and health through its omnichannel platform. Based in Indonesia, the platform has successfully expanded to Thailand and Malaysia in 2021, strengthening Qoala's commitment to make makes insurance accessible, easy to understand, and help consumers better with their claims. (Link here.)
Online ag marketplace iFarmer, which links Bangladeshi smallholders and their suppliers with agronomic, logistical, and financial services, has raised $2.1 million in funding. IDLC Venture Capital Fund, the VC arm of Bangladeshi non-banking financial institution IDLC Finance, led the pre-Series A round. iFarmer has 3 parts of their product: input (work directly with Bayer, Syngenta and operate as a last-mile distributor for their products), output (data collected from its inputs business enables iFarmer to understand when a given farmer is likely to harvest their crop and how much produce they’ll have), and financing (enabling individuals to invest in farm portfolios against a return and we would channel that money to the farmers). (Link here.)
📰 Start-Up and Venture Capital News in Southeast Asia
🇰🇭 Tribe Phnom Penh Post Office square will open in early July 2022, bringing eye-catching style and contemporary functionality to the Kingdom of Wonder. (Written by Cambodia Investment Review).
🇮🇩 Traveloka, Southeast Asia’s biggest online travel startup, is close to raising more than $200 million from investors after ending talks to go public.
🇻🇳 Golden Gate Ventures Doubles Down on Vietnam with Two Offices in Southeast Asia’s “Startup Golden Triangle”.
🇧🇩 In Bangladesh, a “Startup Sandbox” will be led by the government to encourage new ventures and entrepreneurs to help them come into more prominence using their full potential in a smooth process.
🇵🇭 Report: Philippines Social Commerce Market Intelligence and Future Growth Dynamics Databook 2022.
🇳🇵 Nepal Venture Studios and the teams vision for creating Nepal’s first unicorn.
📚Additional Resources To Check Out:
🔎 How to validate your startup ideas.
💡 A thread on ways to become a better leader.
🤝 Secondary effects of indexing our lives.
🧠 ESG And Impact Investing At War.
🔥 9 mental concepts to help you think differently.
👨🏼💻 Frontier Market Job Opportunities
Sevea is hiring for a Junior Financial Business Consultant in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Devenco Development is hiring for a Analyst in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Belt Road Capital is hiring for a Management Associate in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Emerging Market Consultants (EMC) is hiring for a Business Consultant in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
The World Bank is hiring for a Disaster Risk Finance Consultant in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Belt Road Capital is hiring for a SME Investment Manager in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
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🧐 What is Rising Giants?
Rising Giants was created in 2021 by Max Thornton and Dominic Kalousek after realizing there were limited outlets for gaining insight into the startup and investment ecosystem in the Cambodian and Southeast Asia markets.
Rising Giants serves as an upbeat medium for entrepreneurs and investors to share their experience working and living in some of the most dynamic and positively evolving countries in Southeast Asia.
Our mission is to talk to entrepreneurs and investors to help understand what it takes to have bold ideas and build the business disruptors of tomorrow, in the most challenging, but highest potential markets of the region.
Through our personal exploration of these landscapes, we dive deep in our interviews with inspirational individuals learning about their career journeys, ideas, and insights into the markets of developing startup ecosystems, and expanding on why they see their business and the region as a "Rising Giant”.