Geeks in Cambodia Geeks in Cambodia Fri, 17 Nov 2017 03:23:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Join other Cambodian Entrepreneurs and MSME Professionals at Global Entrepreneurship Week Cambodia 2017 Fri, 17 Nov 2017 03:23:47 +0000 Samantha Fuentes Happening on 19 November from 8am to 5.30pm, Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) Cambodia 2017 is back for yet another year of entrepreneurial celebrations at the Cambodia-Japan Cooperation Center (CJCC)!

Launched in 2008 by Carl Schramm, president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation & former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, GEW has been dubbed as the world’s largest celebration of innovators and job creators. This is because of the thousands of events and competitions that happen in over 170 countries– all set to inspire millions to engage in entrepreneurial activity while connecting them to potential collaborators, mentors and even investors during one specific week in November. By far, the initiative is supported by dozens of world leaders and a network of over 20,000 partners organizations.

Bringing it back to a local context, this year’s GEW Cambodia will be hosted by The Young Entrepreneurs Association of Cambodia (YEAC) and will focus and explore on the overarching theme of “MSME Outlook: Ecosystem and Sustainability.”.

The programme will include a power-packed series of events, including 2 Keynote addresses talking about “MSME Outlook: The Driver of Growth” and “MSME: Business Ethics and Corporate Governance” and 2 panel discussions about “MSME Ecosystem” and “MSME Sustainability and Growth”. On top of that, there will be a long line of knowledgeable speakers who are more than ready to impart their expertise and interesting ideas to the participants present! For a more detailed breakdown of the schedule, look here.

This is your chance to meet like-minded individuals who are also as passionate in the MSME industry and to also learn so much more! Hence, if you are interested to buy tickets, get them here.Going at $5 each, not only do you get to sit in for an exciting round of talks and discussions by top-notch speakers, but it also includes 2 coffee breaks and a networking lunch– so get your tickets as soon as possible as they are going out hot!

Also, for more information and updates, visit their Facebook page here.

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Forte Insurance hops on Smart Axiata Digital Innovation Fund partnership and First Investees Announced: Joonak, Morakot and Aniwaa Thu, 16 Nov 2017 08:45:55 +0000 Samantha Fuentes As of 14 November 2017, the Kingdom’s largest and leading regional insurance provider since 2003, Forte Insurance, has joined forces with powerhouses, Smart Axiata and Mekong Strategic Partners (MSP) in their Smart Axiata Digital Innovation Fund (SADIF) venture! Jumping on the bandwagon as a co-investor, this partnership serves as a means to propel Cambodia’s digital economy to even greater heights.

Launched earlier this year in March, SADIF is a venture capital fund with 5 million USD to invest in Cambodian-based, digital service companies and start-ups and aims to spur the digital ecosystem in the country. Following the brand new partnership with Forte Insurance, Thomas Hundt, Smart Axiata CEO shared, “We are delighted to welcome our new partner, Forte, who as one of the most successful and innovative insurance platforms in Cambodia, will provide a unique and complementary skill set to the SADIF team. Having this diversity in the Investment Committee will further solidify the Fund as a prime enabler in the digital ecosystem.”.

CEO of Smart Axiata, Thomas Hundt, sharing his thoughts about SADIF’s brand new line of announcements

CEO of Smart Axiata, Thomas Hundt, sharing his thoughts about SADIF’s brand new line of announcements

On the other hand, Forte shares the same vision and belief as its partners, Smart and MSP. The company similarly believes that the Cambodian ICT ecosystem will thrive upon investment and strategic support like that of SADIF, thus making them a more than fit partner for this fund!

“We are joining forces with Smart and MSP in this digital innovation fund because we are confident that Cambodia’s digital economy is primed to grow in the next few years. We are enthusiastic to supp ort that growth by partnering with these companies, who like Forte, show every day what successful innovation and digital disruption looks like,” said Charles Cheo, CEO of Forte Insurance. Along with the added co-investment to SADIF, Forte will be represented at the Investment Committee by Mervyn Cheo, CEO of Forte Investment Holdings.

Besides that, the first 3 investees of the SADIF venture have been selected by the SADIF Investment Committee, based on their current business and potential for growth. In relation to the selection process, Kem Bora, Investment Manager of MSP, said, “We look for businesses where funding could have immediate positive impact and where the markets are ripe for emerging technologies. The three who made the cut this round are both well-positioned to go to the next level, and we are confident that the investment as well as the strategic inputs and business development from Smart, Forte and MSP will supercharge their next phase of growth.”.

Ultimately, the starting investees of many more to come have been revealed to be e-commerce delivery and logistics solutions company, Joonaak Delivery Co., Ltd., core banking software platform company, Morakot Technology, and 3D printing experts, Aniwaa. Also, as part of SADIF, these 3 companies will receive a share of the 5 Million USD digital venture capital fund.

Looking more in-depth into each of the chosen businesses of SADIF, here is what each of the company’s representatives have to say:

1. Joonaak Delivery

Joonak offers digital support to online retailers as well as warehousing, delivery and customer support services in an increasingly competitive e-commerce environment in Cambodia.

As explained by Joonaak’s CEO, Jay Kong, “We are thrilled to start working with Smart, Forte and MSP to help develop our business in a way that we might not be able to do on our own. The investment value of such partnerships from innovative and forward – looking companies is not just about funding – which is also hugely helpful of course.”.

Joonak presenting their business vision to those present at the announcement event

Joonak presenting their business vision to those present at the announcement event

2. Morakot Technology

For Morakot, a software and digital support company that focuses on back- and front-office support for Microfinance Institutions (MFIs), the funds from SADIF will help them venture into and explore new markets in the ASEAN region where microfinance lenders face similar challenges to their Cambodian counterparts.

“Having worked in microfinance, I saw firsthand how operations were hampered by a lack of tailor-made and affordable software to support loan officers, back-offices and front-offices. Morakot has started to address that with a suite of software that we are confident will be of value in other businesses and countries. Working on this next step is very exciting for us and we can’t wait to get started,” said Morakot’s CEO Sophorth Khuon.

Morakot sharing more about their company for those present at the event

Morakot sharing more about their company for those present at the event

3. Aniwaa

Aniwaa, which runs one of the largest 3D printer comparison website globally, is looking for SADIF to help them transform into a global digital content platform, which thousands of visitors use every day to find the right 3D printing and emerging tech products.

“With this equity partnership from SADIF, we will be in a stronger position to build a world-class content team. We will also strengthen our sites and rich database capabilities. We aim to bring cutting edge tech hardware information for an audience of technophiles, hungry for the latest developments,” said CEO Martin Lansard, a former Google employee who set up and run Aniwaa in Cambodia.

Martin Lansard, Co-founder and CEO of Aniwaa, sharing more about his company for those present at the event

Martin Lansard, Co-founder and CEO of Aniwaa, sharing more about his company for those present at the event

In conclusion, referring to the Fund’s new line of investees, Hundt highlighted, “Smart is at the center of Cambodia’s digital revolution and we look forward to working with these innovative companies to develop and grow their digital businesses. I can’t wait to see these investments taking shape!” Thomas added.

Though the scale or nature of funding for Morakot, Joonaak and Aniwaa was not explicitly stated during the announcement, it is known from the SADIF launch that investments from the Fund will range from 25,000 USD to 500,000 USD depending on the stage, industry and funding requirements of the companies. Furthermore, the investment will be strongly supported by cutting-edge support through mentoring, knowledge sharing and business development; all critical components of the business process.

The Investment Committee, comprising of Smart, MSP and Forte, along with their first batch of investees from Joonak, Morakot and Aniwaa

The Investment Committee, comprising of Smart, MSP and Forte, along with their first batch of investees from Joonak, Morakot and Aniwaa

Here on out, the Investment Committee, comprising of Smart, MSP and now Forte, expect to continue evaluating a large number of applications for funding and announce more investments into Cambodia’s booming ICT sector and power the country’s digital economy to the next level in the months to come.

To read up on more information on and stay updated anything related to SADIF, follow Smart’s “Smart for Cambodia” Facebook page here or go to the SADIF page itself here. Also, you can catch the Facebook Live of the whole announcement right here.

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Discover more about Agriculture Investment: CMLV Agri-Techathon Wed, 15 Nov 2017 05:00:28 +0000 Gracia Goh More]]> The Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam (CMLV) Agri-Techathon will be happening from 25 to 26 November 2017 at the Royal University of Agriculture! This event will be hosted by multiple investors and innovators, which includes Hong Kong Angel Investment Foundation, Vertical Farming Association in Israel and China Beijing Dongsheng Science and Technology Park– so those attending are in for a real treat!

Supported by the Royal University of Agriculture and Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s Global Student Entrepreneur Network, the agri-techathon is comprised of two exciting segments – the Investor-Entrepreneur-Industry Seminar and the Technology Hackathon.

In recent years, agriculture investment has become a hot topic as a result of the high inflow of capital and human resource into technology, agriculture development and investment.
Themed Agri-Tech Venture Growth Hackathon and Technology Exchange through Entrepreneurship, participants of the Investor-Entrepreneur-Industry Seminar can expect to hear from international representatives of organisations such as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, Belt and Road Angel Investment Roundtable and the Mekong Business Initiative.

Speakers will discuss and debate on topics the following topics:
1. Hydroponics and Vertical Farming
2. Internet of Things and Big Data in Agriculture
3. Financial Inclusion in Agriculture Technology and Payment

The other segment of Agri-Techathon 2017 is the Technology Hackathon. The hackathon will put participants’ skills and techniques to the test through 36 hours of growth hack. Aside from the opportunity to learn from notable speakers and mentors, the grand prize of the hackathon is a sponsorship to Beijing, China for a whopping 1 million RMB angel investment.

However, in order to win the grand prize, participants must impress a panel of judges comprised of a representative from Zhongguancun, Beijing, China, an angel investor from Israel, a representative from the Belt and Road Angel Investment Roundtable and a representative angel investor from Cambodia.

The hackathon will be held from 2pm on 25th Nov till 7pm on 26th Nov at the Royal University of Agriculture, Phnom Penh. The seminar will be held from 9:30am till 1pm at the same venue.

Interested participants can get tickets here or here before 20 November 2017.

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Discover the Amazing Global Blockchain World with BlockShow Asia 2017 Mon, 13 Nov 2017 09:30:50 +0000 Samantha Fuentes BlockShow Asia 2017 Powered by Cointelegraph will be happening from 29 to 30 November 2017 at Singapore’s Resorts World Sentosa! Dubbed as the window to the global Blockchain world and with the times for Blockchain solution becoming increasingly tough, this conference aims to build the bridge between the Asian and Global Markets and unite this community of industry players.

On top of that, this conference aims to start a dialogue between the Blockchain community and governments to achieve structure and logical regulations. Moreover, bringing it back to a more local context, Cambodia has shown signs of jumping on the Blockchain wave as well; so an event like this will surely be something engaging and fulfilling for Cambodian businesses interested in tapping into Blockchain solutions.

For example, earlier this year in April, The National Bank of Cambodia, also known as the Kingdom’s central bank, has partnered with Japanese blockchain specialist Soramitsu Co. in hopes of testing the development of a new payments infrastructure based on blockchain technology, according to media reports from Phnom Penh. They plan to launch the testing phase of a closed loop blockchain-based technology by the fourth quarter of this year.

With this upcoming trend in mind, what can interested participants expect and get from BlockShow Asia 2017?

 Participants can expect to be part of the large BlockShow community that involves various players in the Blockchain ecosystem such as startups, investors, founders, C-level executives, lawyers and developers. Furthermore, participants can be the first to learn about the latest announcements revolving around the industry’s biggest Blockchain creations; from new product releases to partnerships to deals and even ICOs!

As for those who are interested in implementing Blockchain in their businesses, there will be detailed talks done by experts, specially designed to educate those interested in acquiring solutions in the aforementioned sector. They can expect to learn about Blockchain’s various use cases and how it can be extended to more than just Fintech with other sectors like Music, Supply Chains, Medicine, AI, Digital Identity and many more.

Big Blockchain vloggers, like Ivan on Tech and Ameer Rosic, will also be present at BlockShow. Well-known throughout the community for their provision of education, opinions and news to millions of viewers, participants will have an opportunity to meet them face-to-face and get their experience, knowledge and vision through a series of workshops, organizes right after the BlockShow event.

Besides that, expect to be inspired by the founders of a variety of established Blockchain projects who will be showcasing their solutions too. This is the perfect opportunity to try their products and services with your very own hands!

For Blockchain startups, here’s a list of attractive key events that you might be interested in applying for as well:

  1. ICOscar

ICOscar is a Startup Competition dedicated to revealing the most promising Blockchain projects that plan to launch an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) and the best ICO according to the people’s choice will be unveiled on the second day of BlockShow Asia 2017. Startups involved will compete for the big main prize of $20,000, along with full assistance from the Waves Platform in holding a successful ICO.

If you want to learn more about ICOscar or want to apply for the competition, look here.

  1. Hypethon by Cryptofriends

For Hypethon, 10 innovative Blockchain-based startups will be carefully selected to launch their ICOs right at BlockShow Asia. Taking place in the exhibition hall with its own

own separate zone, experts, potential backers and participants will have a chance to engage in a Q&A session with project founders before each launch. Every BlockShow participant will be able to support projects offering exclusive conditions and after the end of the Q&A, a bell ring will mark the beginning of the ICO.

If you are interested in reading more about Hypethon by Cryptofriends or want to apply for the exhibition, visit this page.

As usual, networking will be playing a big part at the event. Don’t worry about not being able to find the right people at the conference. By utilising the BlockShow mobile app that filters all the attendees, meeting at the right time and places to make deals and drive the community forward has never been easier! There will also be pre-parties and afterparties located at Singapore’s beautiful plethora of pools, rooftops and skyscrapers to help participants connect with viable sponsors.

Hence, if you are a Blockchain Investor, Blockchain enthusiast who is ready to learn more from the experts or even a Blockchain startup who wants get your Blockchain ideas out there, find out more information and get your tickets now at For a more detailed agenda breakdown, you can look here too.

Also, for Geeks in Cambodia subscribers who are interested in attending this conference, you are in for a treat because BlockShow Asia 2017 has kindly offered our readers a 25% discount on tickets! Get your tickets here or use the code, GEEKSINCAMBODIA25, when purchasing your tickets.


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Get Sporty with one of the SmartStart’s Top 5 winners– GoSoccer Fri, 10 Nov 2017 11:38:53 +0000 Samantha Fuentes Last month, we caught up with one of SmartStart’s Top 5, Spare Team, and got the opportunity to learn more about their very own SmartStart journey. This time, we at Geeks at Cambodia got an awesome chance to chat with the GoSoccer Team and hear them share about how their unique journey has been thus far.

GoSoccer is a one-stop application that soccer players can utilise to book soccer fields and using an online platform. This is a more convenient alternative to the traditional method of booking fields, which is booking through phone calls. Furthermore, this platform helps field owners efficiently manage and keep track of field bookings just through a singular application.

During this interview, the GoSoccer team shared with us about their journey as a team, entering the incubation phase, the challenges they’ve faced thus far and how they feel about being amongst the top 5 winners of the SmartStart Young Innovator Programme.

The GoSoccer Team comprises of Sovann Lyhour (Financial Manager), Sengkhun Lim (App and Website Developer), Socretquuliqaa Lee (App and Website Developer), Hang Rithratanak (Marketing Strategist) and Sokrattanak Utdorm Em (Graphic Designer- Not shown in Picture) Source: Impact Hub Phnom Penh Facebook Page

The GoSoccer Team comprises of Sovann Lyhour
(Financial Manager), Sengkhun Lim (App and Website Developer), Socretquuliqaa Lee
(App and Website Developer), Hang Rithratanak (Marketing Strategist) and Sokrattanak Utdorm Em (Graphic Designer- Not shown in Picture)
Source: Impact Hub Phnom Penh Facebook Page

The following interview has been edited for clarity, length and flow.

What inspired your team to come up with such an idea?

GoSoccer (GS): Actually, it first started out as a school project using Dreamweaver in Sophomore Year and stemmed from our own experiences and observations. We realised that if people wanted to play football, they usually found it difficult to contact field owners or even find friends who are free to play. Also, if they wanted to find out more information about the field and compare prices, they have to go to each of the fields physically, one by one, just to decide.

For field owners,  we realised that they write everything down on paper and do not have a proper system to track the field booking schedules.

So, we eventually came up with this idea for an online platform that can let players book fields, be matched with others who want to play and find out various information about the fields they are interested in; while field owners can have a proper management system to control field bookings.

 What makes your innovation stand out from what is currently found in the market?

GS: Currently, I can say that our service is the first in Cambodia as it is extremely different from the traditional way of booking fields. Furthermore, it also helps people to communicate and build a soccer community. Thus, this helps us to make our first step into the bigger sports community.

The competition started with 30 teams and now you’re part of the top 5, how has the experience been like so far?

GS: The whole experience has been almost unbelievable! We’ll start from the Hackathon. Before that, we already had the idea but we had no specific things to do in order to make it a reality and actually implement our idea. However, through the Hackathon, we started to learn the tools needed and even gained some inspiration. During first pitching, we also got to see many great ideas from other teams, so we were a little curious to see whether we’d get through this round.

We eventually passed the first round and we headed to Battambang for Entrepreneur Camp.

We learnt a lot from that week, from inspiration to better techniques to even meeting some of our potential customers. We actually went to one of the high schools nearby and asked for feedback from students who play soccer and two of our members actually went down to the fields just for feedback from field owners. We tried our best to gather all the relevant information and based on our skills and what we have learnt, we went ahead with the final pitch and we actually got it! It’s really so unbelievable!

Now that you are in the incubator phase of SmartStart, what are you currently working on in terms of your innovation?

GS: For the tech side, we are working on our GoSoccer website, widening our database and improving the frontend of our platform. We are also planning to launch our BETA version this month.

To further explain, we have two separate platforms, specified for both of our target audiences. For soccer players, we have the mobile application for both iOS and Android phones. For field owners, they utilise the website to control the field bookings.

 How is the incubator phase different from the first few phases and what challenges have you faced from this?

GS: It’s different in a sense that this is the part where we make our ideas more realistic. In the Hackathon, we just had to present our idea to show the judges that how our idea can work and just demonstrate how our app looks like and define its features. Whereas, for incubation, we have to make it real and prove that it works in the market and in the real world.

What challenges have you faced so far?

GS: At first, we just thought of the creative side instead of including the business side as well. We focused on the cool features we wanted, such as a weather forecast widget, but we did not know what goes behind it. After Hackathon, we started to take our plans into action and we realised how difficult it was. For example, when we were figuring out how field owners ran their booking system, it was really very complicated because everything was so flexible– each side of the field had different booking timings for every day and different prices as well. It made things very difficult on the backend side.

I understand that your team is comprised of University students, so how are you planning to cope from here on out?

GS: The period after our final pitching was actually our vacation, so we were able to work on GoSoccer full time since we did not have classes. Now, we are actually starting classes, so we are planning to work on the weekends to make up for this and anyway, our Saturdays and Sundays are completely free.

What is the biggest takeaway or lesson from this SmartStart Programme as of now?

GS: SmartStart is a really big thing for us. We learnt that you should always have a concrete plan when you want to implement something, especially for a real business. We also learnt to never make assumptions. In the Hackathon and Entrepreneur camp, we learnt that you cannot just assume that ideas will work without any sort of market validation or going down to the fields for actual feedback.

Furthermore, we learnt how to manage our project and time overall, on top of our other commitments like school and volunteering.

Moving forward, in these 6 months, are there any ways you are further planning to improve your innovation?

GS: For now, our resources are limited– not just about the funds, but because we are students, we don’t have any revenue yet or the means to hire professional workers. So since we do everything by ourselves and though we have many ideas, we are unable to implement them.

However, for the plans for next month, we want to expand into our GoSports series. Basically GoSoccer is under a bigger platform called GoSports. GoSports will cover many different kinds of sports platforms that will offer the same kind of sports information, opponent matching and booking systems; so as to connect the sports community in Cambodia. Eventually, we want to expand the database to not solely Phnom Penh, but nationwide too; and even offer a sports store feature on our platforms for advertising and for people to buy things.

Also, we haven’t launched this feature yet, but in the next version, we plan to add a feature that matches opponents; especially for those who find it difficult to find people to play with.

What you are doing now is definitely something very inspiring to other young innovators, what are some words of encouragement you can give to them?

GS: You don’t have to wait for the right moment to start, you do need some preparation before starting but just start! Put yourself out there to see the real world, talk to people and get new ideas so you can improve on what you already have. For us, we thought that just because we are students, we won’t be able to do it but after we won SmartStart and got the proper mentoring, we were able to do it; so anything is possible! There is no such thing as failure, every competition is a lesson.

Most importantly, the new generation should really learn how to keep up with and adapt to new technologies because everything is changing so fast, our innovations are changing so fast. They say that in 1.5 years, technology innovations will be twice as fast; so that means we have to keep up as fast as possible with the future. Overall, we also want to thank Smart for this great opportunity too!

From the interview itself, the GoSoccer Team’s passion, enthusiasm and drive was displayed so candidly and it is extremely apparent that more good things are to come for them as they continue scaling up and improving their business idea for the Kingdom’s sports community. For more information on GoSoccer or to engage in their services, you can visit their Facebook page here or website here.

If you want to keep up with GoSoccer and the rest of the SmartStart teams throughout their incubation journey too, follow Impact Hub’s Facebook page to get more updates or check out the Smart for Cambodia Facebook Page. Also, don’t forget to stay tuned on Geeks in Cambodia because there will be two more exciting SmartStart Interviews to come!

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