Geeks in Cambodia Geeks in Cambodia Thu, 19 Jan 2017 11:08:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Geeks in Cambodia’s EPIC Collaboration – E-House Thu, 19 Jan 2017 11:08:09 +0000 Joseph Soh Being a group of developers, the E-House team have always been accustomed to using technology to solve a problem.

They realised that one of the problems that Cambodia, or Phnom Penh specifically, faced was a lack of safe housing options for young women to rent if they were moving to the city for study or work.

This inspired them to come up with E-House, an app that helps connect young women to landlords who have already gone through a vetting process.

Their idea was one of the 11 selected to take part in the EPIC programme. At Demo Day, they were selected as one of EPIC’s final 5 who would receive $20,000 in startup funding.

Geeks in Cambodia caught up with the E-House team to find out more about their project.

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

What are some of the project’s key features?

Our project is a mobile platform that helps support women and low-income earners by identifying appropriate and suitable accommodation. We commit to provide:

-       Safe, affordable & good quality accommodation

-       Vetting of landlords, building & location

-       Emergency contact and follow-up support

For the time being, we are going to deploy the mobile application first and develop a supporting website along the way.

What are some features of the application that will set it apart from current platforms people use, such as Facebook?

I think what sets us apart is that we provide information for renting the house. This includes the prices which are not always available online right now. Even on Khmer 24, while such information is available, it is not really safe or reliable. Basically, we curate the information and ensure that only trustworthy house owners’ information are available on our app. We also assist our end users to ensure their safety by providing them with an emergency contact point from our company.

How will the app target potential customers from rural areas?

For students, we are going directly to share information about our product at high schools instantly after they finish their final exam and we also seek to work closely with student associations. For factory workers, we plan to partner with the garment factory association. But the most important part of our strategy is to spread the news through radio. This medium also allows us to reach the people from the countryside.

How will the app connect potential customers to landlords?

We play the role of a middleman. Tenants can contact our team and we’ll  accompany them to meet with the house owners, or they can go to the house owners themselves using the information we provide about the location of the house.

Will users be able to view the available property before committing?

Yes, they can view the property using the contacts our app provides without needing to sign up or commit to anything.

Cool. So let’s talk more about EPIC. Why did you join the Programme?

There are a lot of activities that need to be done with our project and we cannot afford to do it part time, so we need the funding to support us so that we can work on the project full time. Furthermore, we believe that the EPIC programme has a lot of potential and is a very powerful tool for helping young entrepreneurs, especially with all the advice we will receive from the coaches and mentors.

How do you hope the project will develop?

We hope that the project will develop such that we are recognised as a community that helps support women from rural area in household matters. In the future, our dream is for women who are looking to move to Phnom Penh to have no fear or reservations with regards to looking for housing. In this way, especially for young women who are moving to the city to study, we hope that they can be fully focused on their studies and build a bright future for themselves.

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs like yourself?

Remember your goals, keep your focus, believe in yourself and trust your team.

Great advice there from the E-house team! It’s really interesting to see how an app is being put to use to ease more women into city life

Stay locked to Geeks in Cambodia for more EPIC updates!

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Cambodia’s first Startup Weekend FinTech Wed, 18 Jan 2017 07:30:25 +0000 Joseph Soh Over the last year, Startup Weekend has held numerous editions in Phnom Penh focusing on various topics including Design Thinking, Women Entrepreneurship and Education.

This year, from 3 – 5 February, yet another Startup Weekend will be held at the brand new TRYBE space, this time focusing on FinTech.

If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur with dreams of developing a startup that could leave a mark on Cambodia’s finance sector, then this event could just be the first step to leaving your legacy!

As with every Startup Weekend, the event will take place across an intense 54-hour period where teams will work tirelessly to propose, develop, prototype and pitch their FinTech solutions to a panel of esteemed judges.

The event starts on Friday night where participants will individually pitch their own ideas for the FinTech industry. From there, the most viable concepts will be selected to be worked on for the next two days, with teams being formed as well.

For Saturday and Sunday, each team will also receive advice from experienced coaches and mentors to develop a business plan and design their prototypes. These mentors include Sophorth Khuon, the CEO and Co-founder of Morakot Technology, Celia Boyd, the founder of SHE Investments, James Wilson, a business development manager who has started numerous business around the world and Maneth Pol, a business trainer.

Eventually, each team will pitch their ideas to Glenn Miller, a consultant for the banking and finance industries and Mike Gartner, the COO of the Sabay Digital Corporation.

In Cambodia, the FinTech scene is known to be one of the fastest growing scenes in terms of interest as well as the capacity that people have in developing FinTech startups. One of the trailblazers in this aspect is BanhJi, an accounting software for small & medium enterprises.

The FinTech scene itself is a wide spectrum. It includes services like money lending, transfer, capital raising, accounting, investing, asset management, payment, and cyber security.

Here at Geeks in Cambodia, we are confident that the Kingdom is overflowing with innovative FinTech solutions that could not only impact Cambodia’s finance landscape but potentially, the landscape of the region and beyond.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up for Startup Weekend FinTech here and be on your way to achieving your entrepreneurial dreams.

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Geeks in Cambodia’s EPIC Collaboration – Demo Day Results Tue, 17 Jan 2017 07:20:21 +0000 Joseph Soh D-Day. Not in the historical context, but Demo Day, the culmination of almost 4 months of hard work for the 11 teams going through the EPIC programme.

A panel of distinguished judges including Romy Cahyadi, Executive Director of UnLtd Indonesia, Laina Raveendran Greene, co-founder of Angels of Impact, Dary Dek, Managing partner of 360 ads & events, Pagna Ukthaun, Chief Operating Officer of WaterSHED Ventures and Mun Ching Yap, Executive Director of the Air Asia Foundation were introduced.

Stakeholders from Development Innovations and Impact Hub took the stage to address the audience as a sense of excitement filled the room in anticipation of the pitches that were to come.

Speaking to the teams, you could feel their passion and commitment to the projects they had put so much into over the past few months.

Meas Likun, a member of team Rat Hunter said, “What we hope to achieve at Demo Day is to be selected team to move on for the next stage of the EPIC programme.”

True enough, these sentiments were echoed across all the teams who had their mind set on being one of the 5 teams to move through to the acceleration phase where they would receive $20,000 worth of startup funding to see their projects come to life.

With that, the stage was set. All 11 teams, Mother’s Mall, Snadai Seapove Khmer, Mekong Farms, Rosnow Douy Sabay, Rat Hunter, My Dream Home, Food Processing Incubator, AgriToday, Edemy, and Eco Fresh Box left their hearts on stage as they delivered passionate, fiery and exciting pitches to the judges.

The teams were assessed in the areas of entrepreneurial leadership, their understanding of the problem at hand, the viability of their solution and the feasibility of their business model.

Each team also had to face questions from the judges following their 5 minute presentation to ensure that the judges could clarify any doubts they had over their project to give each of them the best chance of moving forward.

Two hours later, the pitches were over and the judges left the room to deliberate on the winning teams.

Taking the stage on behalf of the panel, Romy Cahyadi said that the judges had a “tight and heated debate” while trying to decide the winners and as such, felt compelled to nominate a runner-up alongside the 5 teams who would move on to the acceleration phase.

The runner-up was announced as My Dream Home, Kongngy Hav’s initiative to building sustainable and affordable housing for people in Cambodia.

The 5 teams moving through to the acceleration phase and receiving the $20,000 worth of startup support are as follows:

Rat Hunter

Eco Fresh Box



Food Processing Incubator

With that, the first major phase of the EPIC programme has come to an end. Organised by Impact Hub Phnom Penh in collaboration with USAID’s Development Innovations, the Demo Day was the climax of the first phase of Cambodia’s first year-long incubator which will now move into a 9 month acceleration period.

Laura Smitheman, co-founder of Impact Hub and programme manager for EPIC said, “EPIC’s goal is to accelerate the progress of impact-focused entrepreneurs. By providing them with seed-funding, access to mentors, consultants and most importantly investment networks, we’re confident EPIC will result in innovative solutions and business models.”

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EmTech Asia 2017 – Singapore Mon, 16 Jan 2017 08:19:28 +0000 Joseph Soh From 14-15 February, one of the world’s most important conferences on emerging technologies that matter will take place in Singapore.

EmTech Asia 2017 will showcase and display the latest emerging technologies with the potential to change the way we live our lives. Bringing together the brightest minds from some of the world’s leading companies in the tech field, the event presents you with the chance to catch a sneak peak into the very latest and most innovative of developments.

Determined not to be your average technology conference, EmTech prides itself on being a curation of the world’s leading scientists, tech executives and investors brought to you courtesy of the word’s leading technology publication, MIT Technology Review.

For us at Geeks in Cambodia, we’re always determined to share with you the latest technological happenings and events in the region and we believe that EmTech Asia is a truly significant event in this regard. So if you’re someone who actively uses technology especially in your business, this event is one for you!

At the event, you’ll also get to network with over 700 business leaders, innovators, entrepreneurs and change makers while listening to presentations from 40 of the industry’s most distinguished individuals.

Speakers at the event include:

EmTech Asia speakers Dava Newman, Jenny Lee, Walter O' Brien, André Choulika and Julia Greer (Left to right)

EmTech Asia speakers Dava Newman, Jenny Lee, Walter O’ Brien, André Choulika and Julia Greer (Left to right)

Dava Newman

Along with NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, Dava Newman is responsible for providing overall leadership, planning, and policy direction for NASA. Prior to her tenure with NASA, Newman was the Apollo Program Professor of Astronautics at the MIT. NASA aims to have “boots on Mars” within the next two decades.

Jenny Lee

As Managing Director of GGV Capital’s Shanghai operations, Jenny Lee invests in consumer internet and SaaS companies. She has been on the Forbes Midas List for five years running and was #10 on the 2015 list, the highest ranking ever for a woman.

Walter O’ Brien

Walter O’Brien is the Executive Producer of CBS hit TV series, Scorpion. Inspired by Walter’s life, Scorpion tells the story of an international network of super-geniuses who apply high IQ, computer science, and AI to mitigate risk, avoid cyber threats and solve global problems.

André Choulika

André Choulika, Chairman and CEO of Cellectis, will give you the inside track into TALENs, a gene editing method that promises to save the lives of cancer patients, and much more. Selected by MIT Technology Review as one of 10 Breakthrough Technologies that will change the world and one of 50 Smartest Companies.

Julia Greer

At the heart of any breakthrough technological innovation, sits materials science. Caltech materials scientist Julia Greer bends the rules of physics with nanomaterials that behave in surprising ways. Selected by MIT Technology Review as one of 10 Breakthrough Technologies that will change the world.

On top of these featured speakers, the event will feature yet more experts including Paul Daugherty, the Chief Technology & Innovation Officer at Accenture, Marc Hamilton, NVIDIA’s Vice President of Solutions Architecture and Engineering as well as Steve Leonard, the Founding CEO of SGInnovate.

Check out the full line-up of speakers here!

So what are you waiting for? Sign up for this amazing tech conference by logging on to Specially for Geeks in Cambodia readers, enter the discount code EMIT7007 when registering online and you’ll receive a 10% discount.

If you need anymore information or would like to ask more questions about the conference, or enquiry about sponsorship opportunities and registrations, you can drop an email to or call +65 6500 6719.

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Bong Chhlat – Cambodian App For Discounts On The Go Sat, 14 Jan 2017 03:03:45 +0000 Joseph Soh Whenever you and I go out to the store to get a meal, buy groceries or shop, more often than not, we’d be looking for the best deals or the greatest discounts.

Perhaps there’s been a time when you walked to shop A, saw an offer that you thought was pretty good for say, a cup of coffee.  You decided to purchase it, only for you to walk two doors down to shop B and see an even better offer.

It’s at that point in time that you question why there isn’t a one-stop platform that you can check out all the discounts available around you. Bong Chhlat is here to fill that need.

Developed by Makara Kao and Huy Solida, Bong Chhlat is a platform available for both Android and iOS devices that uses location based tracking to link you up with the best discounts.

At BarCamp ASEAN 2016, the app registered over 700 downloads across the span of the three-day event and looks set for some major developments this year.

To find out more about the project, we sat down with Makara and Solida to have a chat.

The following interview has been edited for clarity, language and flow. Questions answered together are classified as BC, questions answered separately are classified by individual names.

How did the idea for the application come about?

Solida (S): It started because I like to go out and go to every shop that has discounts but I realised that you couldn’t find all the available discounts in one place. So I got together with Makara and discussed various ideas that we could put out to help compile all the discounts. We realised that putting all the available discounts into an app could help.

What’s more, if all the discounts are put into an app then we can also do away with the plastic or paper cards that people use and that’ll help with the environment.

Makara: Yup, and for me, it was all about trying to make something for the Cambodian people. So we had to start by finding out what the problem is and what benefits we can bring to the users. We saw that the problem was that many were using the plastic cards for loyalty discounts but they would forget to bring them along for their next visit. What’s more, from a practical standpoint, if you have 10 shops and each gives you a card, then you have 10 cards and you may not be able to fit them all into your wallet.

This was what inspired us to come up with the mobile app, to compile the various discounts and to take away the need for physical cards.

Download the Bong Chhlat app today!

Download the Bong Chhlat app today!

What are the key features of the application?

BC: Our application is split into 4 main sections – Featured, Popular, Favourites and Visited. Under the Featured section, users will get to see the various featured discounts from some of our partner merchants. In Popular, they’ll get to see the offers that a large number of users have made use of. Favourites will have a collection of their favourite stores and offers while Visited will be a list of all the stores they have previously patronised.

In terms of how users can redeem the various discounts, they’ll simply need to select the store they would like to use the discount at and they will receive a QR code through the app which they can scan at the stalls. Users will also be able to filter the stalls according to a variety of categories like food, fashion and electronics.

Another key feature is the map – where users will be able to see all the stalls within the vicinity and look at the discounts they are offering.

What is your strategy to grow Bong Chhlat in 2017?

BC: We launched the app in November last year and our primary focus for now is to populate the app with users. In terms of on-the-ground initiatives, we are targeting university students because we looked into the market and realised that teenagers are the group that are most familiar with technology.

On top of that, we’ll also look into marketing the app at big events and conferences. When it comes to bringing the shops on board, we’ve done that quite manually in the sense that we jump from shop to shop to invite shop owners to register with us.

In addition to these on-the-ground strategies, we’re also working on an online strategy that will include social media as well as popular websites and blogs.

Are there any additional features you’re looking to add to the app?

BC: Of course! In fact, we have a whole list of potential features that we think could be added. These include ideas like having pop up notifications to notify customers when they are close to a certain shop, or allowing them to track their spending through the application. We’re currently in the process of narrowing down which features to add and while we have a plan as to what we would like to roll out first, we’ll take it step by step to gauge the market’s response and tweak our additions in that way.

For now, our next step will be to let shop owners release the catalogues of their shops so people can take a look on the go, be it a menu or a clothing line. With that, we think that the next step would be to offer discounts for specific items in each of the catalogues instead of a storewide offer.

What would be the impact that you hope Bong Chhlat will have on Cambodia?

BC: We really hope that in the future, the app will help people save money by offering the best discounts and helping them to track their expenses. In this way, they’ll then be able to see how much they are using and saving across a period of time.

Furthermore, by removing the need for plastic cards, we hope that it will change the mindset of the people in terms of their traditional marketing tactics – that they will look at how they can use technology to create something that’s easier to use.

Indeed, it’s really great to see how technology is being used to improve our everyday life by letting us know where the best deals are!

Download Bong Chhlat from the App Store or Google Play Store today and never feel like you missed out on the best offers again.

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