Rising Giants Newsletter - N.17 Christopher Dartsmith, Country Manager, Cambodia, Insitor Partners

Max & Dom chatting with the boldest and most inspiring entrepreneurs and investors in Cambodia 🇰🇭 Turn on 💡, tune in 📻, keep up 🚀

Welcome to the Rising Giant's Podcast Newsletter by Max Thornton and Dominic Kalousek.

If you enjoy our content, please subscribe to our post-interview newsletter as we share our most recent podcast episode, Southeast Asia startup and venture capital news, venture deals, entrepreneur resources, and job opportunities in the region!

In this weeks episode, we are joined by Christopher Dartsmith, Country Manager at Insitor Partners in Cambodia. Chris is welcomed on the podcast as a seasoned frontier markets impact investor who has worked across the frontier market investment space for over a decade now in Africa and Asia. He arrived in Cambodia in 2018 working with one of the leading early-stage impact investors in the country, Insitor Partners. Chris is passionate about spurring investment in essential ESG sectors such as energy, environment, fintech, and healthcare.

We get into:

  • ☀️ Chris’s extensive background being involved in frontier markets and what inspired him to pursue a career in impact investing. 

  • 📝 How the impact investment space has evolved over recent years, the current untapped sectors to look out for in Cambodia, and Chris’s approach to deal sourcing in frontier markets.

  • 🛠️ What developments needs to be made in order for Cambodia and other frontier markets a continue becoming more attractive investment opportunity.

🧠 Want to learn more about Insitor Partners in Cambodia?

  • Lessons learned from Impact Investing in Asia by Insitor Partners.

  • Click here to hear from other Managing Partners and Country Managers within the company and their perspective on investing across Southeast Asia.

  • Check out Insitor Partner’s current portfolio company list.


🎧 Find us on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Play, and Anchor!


📝 Venture Capital Deal Flow Highlights in Southeast Asia

Indonesia’s BukuKas, which offers a bookkeeping app for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), announced it has raised $50M in Series B funding. The round was backed by angel investors Gokul Rajaram and TransferWise co-founder Taavet Hinrikus. The startup will use the fresh funding to strengthen its leadership team, engineering and product capabilities at its Jakarta and Bangalore offices and expand the range of services offered to merchants.

MERGER NEWS: Southeast Asian startups Gojek and Tokopedia said they would combine to create a ride-hailing, e-commerce and financial-service company that plans to go public by the end of this year. Terms of the all-stock merger weren’t disclosed Monday. GoTo intends to go public this year in what will be a dual listing, said Patrick Cao, Tokopedia’s president, at a news briefing Monday. He said the company could do so via an initial public offering, but he didn’t rule out a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, that is already public.

Philippine e-commerce company Great Deals has raised $30M in Series B funding as the pandemic sparks a boom in the country’s digital economy. Great Deals will use the fresh funds for tech development and the construction of an automated fulfillment center. The funding and strategic support from investors may open opportunities for the Instant Commerce service, which aims to accomplish deliveries under one hour, according to Great Deals CEO Steve Sy.

The VC arm of Thai Krungsri Bank will increase investments in fintech, e-commerce, proptech, and AI startups at the series A stage and higher in Thailand and Southeast Asia. Its minimum check size is $1M and to date, the VC arm has worked with over 50 startups in over 100 projects.


📰 Frontier Market Start-Up and Venture Capital News in Southeast Asia

🇰🇭 Tens of millions of dollars will come into Cambodia after the Council of Development of Cambodia (CDC) approved 6 new major projects.

🇮🇩 Tech startups and SOEs are teaming up to fuel digitalization in Indonesia.

🇻🇳 Gojek starts car-hailing service in Vietnam in challenge to Grab.

🇧🇩 Starting a Business in Bangladesh: Common Legal Entity Options

🇲🇲 Myanmar Junta approves 15 investments, including $2.5B power project - the biggest single investment since the military takeover on Feb. 1, 2021.

🇵🇭 Joint venture ups tech investments amid governments digital push.

🇳🇵 The Securities Board of Nepal (Sebon) has permitted 5 companies to establish and mobilize a specialized investment fund, opening a gateway to attract capital for long-term growth of startup businesses.


📚 Knowledge Base: Entrepreneur and Investor Learning Resources

One of the biggest hurdles for very early-stage startups is the financial model. You hear it all the time from founders saying they have everything ready for their business, but are not sure how to properly choose their assumptions, calculate financial projections, sales forecasts, and expenses. This can be a daunting task to take on as most founders have a background that is outside that of finance, but this weeks resource with Eric Andrews teaches us about financial modeling by discussing the uses of these models and even building one from scratch (with a downloadable template included!). We hope you enjoy!

What is Financial Modeling? Explanation & Setup of a Financial Model

Additional Resources To Check Out:

  • 🔍 How startups on tight budgets can maximize marketing impact.

  • 🎥 3 tips to scaling startups in Southeast Asia.


👨🏼‍💻 Frontier Market Job Opportunities


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🧐 What is Rising Giants?

The Rising Giants Podcast was created in November 2020 by Max Thornton and Dominic Kalousek after realizing that there were a limited number of resources available for insight into the local startup and investor ecosystem in Southeast Asia.  

Our mission is to talk to entrepreneurs and investors in the world’s most rapidly evolving frontier markets to help understand what it takes to have bold ideas and build the business disruptors of tomorrow. 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”.

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