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Rising Giants Newsletter - October Recap (Part 2)
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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!
▶️ 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 Sai (Musician, Actor, and Charity Fundraiser) and Thyda Thaung (Founder & CEO of Thaung Enterprise). Both of these individuals have had incredible success in their respective industries and were selected as The Exceptional candidates by ABC Extra Stout which recently launched the 'The Exceptional' campaign to celebrate exceptional Cambodians and to inspire the next generation of young Cambodians. We hope that you enjoy their episodes!
N.33 Sai, Musician, Actor, and Charity Fundraiser
Sai is one of Cambodia's leading musicians, exploring the intersection between traditional Khmer music and modern sounds. He also has a passion for acting and has starred in and directed many Cambodian productions. In 2020, Sai embarked on a bold mission to raise a substantial amount of money for Angkor Hospital for Children. He did this by completing 97 days of running, spanning 21 provinces and 2,400 kilometers, beating his fundraising target and raising $500k for the hospital; one of the most successful charity fundraising initiatives the country has ever witnessed.
To learn more about the Run with Sai Campaign, please see the link here.
N.34 Thyda Thaung, CEO & Founder of Thaung Enterprise
Thyda Thaung is the founder of Thaung Enterprise, running the largest salt farm in Cambodia both for domestic consumption and export, located in southern Cambodia, Kampot province. Thyda founded the enterprise to help bring together the local community and connect salt producers to local and international markets. Thyda is the winner of the 2018 Cambodia’s Young Women Entrepreneur Awards. She also won the second prize of the 2020 National Entrepreneurship Awards.
📝 Venture Capital Deal Flow Highlights in Southeast Asia
We are excited to announce that one of our previous guests Pablo Alonso Caprile, Group CFO at iCare Benefits, has signed a cooperation agreement with Sathapana Bank to collaborate on a variety of exciting projects that are expected to benefit consumers and drive towards real, tangible financial inclusion for their customers. This agreement will also look to further the two organization’s relationship and make a hard push towards real financial inclusion for low-income, unbanked factory workers. Congratulations! (Link here.)
Bangladeshi travel-tech startup Go Zayaan has raised $2.6 million in a seed round led by Wavemaker Partners, one of Southeast Asia's leading venture capital firms. The startup aims to improve user experience, attract new talents and bring more people and travel services online with the funds. Go Zayaan began its journey in 2017 as an online travel agency in order to develop a travel infrastructure that solves people's issues pertaining to booking travel services, and cater to the growing demand for bookings for travels and accommodations in Bangladesh. (Link here.)
Singapore-based Geniebook, online learning platform for English, Mathematics, and Science (EMS) syllabus, has secured $16.6 million in a Series A funding round which was led by East Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners. The startup will utilize the funds from this round to further scale the team with strategic new hires across linchpin roles in the Curriculum, Engineering, Product, Growth teams, and more. This latest round of funding comes after their previous Pre-Series A round which raised $1.1 million in 2019 by a private investment company. (Link here.)
Singapore-based Doyobi, a professional development platform wants to give educators new, more engaging ways of teaching STEM subjects, raised $2.8 million in pre-Series A funding led by Monk’s Hill Ventures. The startup will use its new funding to create more courses for educators, along with teaching resources, like videos, quizzes and projects, for their students. In addition, the platform which includes teacher training and interactive content for their students, is now used by about 2,000 teachers in more than 10 countries in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Two of its largest markets are Indonesia and the Philippines. (Link here.)
Singaporean insurtech company Surer, which automates the workflow and processes via a cloud-based platform, has raised a $1 million seed round to enhance its platform and scale in Asia. Opposed to many other insurtech companies that operate an aggregator model, Surer is focused on building a digital ecosystem that serves for parties creating (the insurers) and distributing (the intermediaries) insurance products through a “B2B2C” model. (Link here.)
Singapore-based IoT service provider UnaBiz has raised $25 million in Series B funding to expand the startup’s foothold around the world and grow its data platform. The company plans to use the funds to expand in Asia and the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, especially Japan, where an aging, declining population makes automation more crucial. Previously, UnaBiz raised more than $10 million in its Series A funding round in 2018 as it built a brand on selling software packages in bulk to keep costs down and its IoT service helps with water and gas metering, asset tracking and facilities management. (Link here.)
📰 Frontier Market Start-Up and Venture Capital News in Southeast Asia
🇰🇭 ‘Passion and contribution’ key for sustainable career note top businesswomen (Cambodia Investment Review).
🇧🇩 Why trusted operators and business ecosystems are the two major challenges that Bangladeshi startups face while attracting foreign investments.
🇵🇭 Read about the only Philippine startup that made Credit Suisse’s Southeast Asia 35 Unicorns list.
📚 Knowledge Base: Entrepreneur and Investor Learning Resources
In this week’s resource, we want to share with you 'The Exceptional' campaign by ABC Extra Stout which recently launched to celebrate exceptional Cambodians and to inspire the next generation of young Cambodians to discover what it means to “Be Exceptional”. Both of our recent guests Sai and Thyda, as well as Sopheakmonkol Sok, were selected as The Exceptional candidates, and Sarita Reth who had the honor of hosting the series. To learn more about the campaign and to watch the TV show on Youtube, you can access the channel via this link here.
Additional Resources To Check Out:
➕ Another Paul Graham essay on the gap between intelligence and ideas and why we should make more discoveries about discovery itself.
👨🏼💻 Frontier Market Job Opportunities
VP.Start is hiring an multiple positions in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Belt Road Capital is hiring for a Senior Investment Associate in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Belt Road Capital is hiring for a Senior Internal Auditor in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
CTES Consulting is hiring for a Investment Analyst in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
iCare Leasing is hiring for a Credit Officer 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”.