Busi­ness in brief

Southeast Asia Globe - - Contents - Janelle Retka

Cam­bo­dia’s long­est-run­ning lo­gis­tics ser­vice provider, WorldBridge Group, has launched its $5m ven­ture cap­i­tal fund Ooc­tane to help lo­cal com­pa­nies get off the ground. Fresh star­tups could see in­vest­ments from the firm of up to $10,000, while those with a vi­able prod­uct ready could get $25,000.

South­east Asia Globe caught up with the group’s chair­man and the new VC’s lead­ing in­vestor, Rithy Sear, to talk about the im­pact the firm hopes to make on the King­dom Tell us about Ooc­tane and its plans…

Ooc­tane is a ven­ture cap­i­tal fund set up by Cam­bo­di­ans for Cam­bo­dia. We aim to in­vest in star­tups launched in Cam­bo­dia. We are also look­ing at ex­cit­ing star­tups launched by over­seas Cam­bo­di­ans. Ooc­tane will start with in­vest­ing in early-stage star­tups, but we are open to look­ing at star­tups in all stages of growth. We plan to bring not just money but [also] men­tor­ship to the star­tups we in­vest in.

Why is this ven­ture cap­i­tal fund im­por­tant to Cam­bo­dia, and why now?

Ooc­tane is our vote of con­fi­dence in the fu­ture of Cam­bo­dia and Cam­bo­di­ans. Over the last few years, we have ob­served many more Cam­bo­di­ans tak­ing the plunge into en­trepreneur­ship. We have also met more and more en­trepreneurs, Cam­bo­di­ans and foreigners alike, who want to launch their star­tups here… Ooc­tane wants to be part of this ex­cit­ing trans­for­ma­tion of the Cam­bo­dian econ­omy. We want to part­ner [with] these en­trepreneurs in their bets on the long-term fu­ture of Cam­bo­dia.

Are there in­cu­ba­tor or ac­cel­er­a­tor pro­grammes Ooc­tane hopes to part­ner with in the fu­ture? Ooc­tane is cur­rently in talks with sev­eral in­cu­ba­tors, ac­cel­er­a­tors and co-work­ing space op­er­a­tors to ex­plore col­lab­o­ra­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties. We are also in talks with other ven­ture cap­i­tal firms to ex­plore op­por­tu­ni­ties for co-in­vest­ments in Cam­bo­dian star­tups. How do you see this or­gan­i­sa­tion grow­ing or chang­ing in the fu­ture?

Ooc­tane takes a long-term view when it comes to our in­vest­ments. We think that Cam­bo­dia is at an in­flex­ion point where tech­nol­ogy will fun­da­men­tally change a lot of things here in Cam­bo­dia. We see a lot of Cam­bo­di­ans, young and not so young, em­brac­ing all kinds of dis­rup­tive tech­nolo­gies. And some of these Cam­bo­di­ans have even started to cre­ate in­ter­est­ing tech­nolo­gies and launch ex­cit­ing star­tups. Ooc­tane wants to be the fuel that will power this explosive growth.–

NRithy Sear, lead­ing in­vestor in Ooc­tane ven­ture cap­i­tal fund

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