Rising Giants Newsletter - November Recap (Part 2)
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Welcome to the Rising Giant's Podcast Newsletter by Max Thornton and Dominic Kalousek.
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▶️ Rising Giants Recap
If you missed our recent guests who were on the podcast, select their Spotify box below to tune into their episode. Over these past 2 weeks, we had the pleasure of speaking with Tania Unsworth, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Seekers Spirits and Melanie Mossard, Director of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Impact Hub Phnom Penh!
N.37 Tania Unsworth, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Seekers Spirits
Tania Unsworth is Co-Founder and Managing Director at Seekers Spirits - Cambodia's first premium gin distillery. Having previously worked in the hospitality industry in Europe and Cambodia before switching over to spirits, Tania co-founded Seekers with her husband Marco with a dream of producing small batch spirits inspired by the Mekong Region. 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.
N.38 Melissa Mossard, Director of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Impact Hub (Phnom Penh)
Melanie Mossard arrived in Cambodia in 2015 when the incubation and startup ecosystem was very nascent in Cambodia. Since then she has risen to lead Impact Hub in Cambodia, the oldest and most prolific startup incubator in the country, where she is currently the director of entrepreneurship and innovation.
📝 Venture Capital Deal Flow Highlights in Southeast Asia
Cambodian-based health-tech (pharmaceutical) start-up PillTech was awarded the best digital startup of the year award at the Cambodia ICT awards. We want to extend a huge congratulations to Vireak Chea, CEO of PillTech and also a recent guest on Rising Giants, as we look forward to you and your teams continued success into 2022!
Vietnam’s fintech startup GIMO, offering on-demand pay for blue-collar workers, announced that it had successfully raised $1.9 million in a Seed+ round led by Singapore’s Integra Partners. The new investment will help the company improve the financial stability and resilience of blue-collar workers, as well as fast-track financial inclusion in Southeast Asia. (Link here).
Singapore-based YouTrip, an online bank that focuses on making multi-currency transactions less costly and more efficient, announced that it raised a $30 million Series A. The company says it has now processed over $800 million in card spend globally, with almost 20 million transactions and over 1.5 million app downloads. (Link here).
Singapore-based Endowus is the latest investment app in Southeast Asia to raise follow-on funding, adding $25 million follow on Series A round. Though the space is crowded with other competitors, Endowus is different from other investment apps in Singapore because it is the only digital advisor in Singapore where users can manage both private cash and pension savings and get advice from financial experts. The new funding will be used to speed-up Endowus’ growth in Singapore, hiring for geographic expansion and product development. (Link here).
SOSV, the venture capital firm known for its vertical-focused accelerators like HAX, is expanding its footprint to Bangladesh. SOSV’s Asia-focused accelerator called MOX, SBK Tech Ventures (an early-stage fund in Bangladesh) and Miaki, a Bangladesh-based digital services provider, are setting up the SM² accelerator to invest in seed-stage startups in the country. Bangladesh, with a nascent internet industry but an expanding online population, has emerged as an attractive destination for venture capitalists in recent years. (Link here.)
Indonesian-based GajiGesa, a fintech company focused on services for Indonesian workers, announced that it raised $6.6 million in pre-Series A funding. The startup is aimed at unbanked workers and focuses on earned wage access, which lets people withdraw their wages immediately instead of waiting for monthly paychecks, because the founders—husband-and-wife team Vidit Agrawal and Martyna Malinowska—said that gives workers much more liquidity and protects them from predatory lenders. GajiGesa now works with more than 120 companies in a wide range of sectors, including factories, plantations, manufacturing, retail, restaurants, hospitals and tech companies. (Link here).
📰 Frontier Market Start-Up and Venture Capital News in Southeast Asia
🇰🇭 An overview of the Cambodian ICT awards and which innovative startups in the country emerged as winners.
🇧🇩 Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen is urging foreign entrepreneurs to invest more in Bangladesh considering the increased competition amid the fourth industrial revolution.
🇵🇭 Philippine startup Investa recently launched an innovative investment platform built to provide Filipinos inclusive access to low-cost investment opportunities and financial benefits.
📚 Knowledge Base: Entrepreneur and Investor Learning Resources
In this week’s resource, we want to share with you a Selendra, Cambodia's first full-scale blockchain, which has been in development and prototyping since 2016. Selendra now has opened its technology to the world and is beginning rolling out its mainnet over the coming months. To learn more, click the here to read the team’s whitepaper and invest in the presale round. You can also listen to our previous episode with Saing Seb, Co-Founder of Selendra here!
Additional Resources To Check Out:
👨🏼💻 Frontier Market Job Opportunities
Mekong Strategic Partners is hiring for an Investment Analyst in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Platform Impact is hiring for an Impact Venture Builder in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Nexus for Development is hiring for a Head of Funds in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Grab is hiring for an Associate, Partnerships in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Belt Road Capital is hiring for an International Public Relations 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”.