Geeks in Cambodia Geeks in Cambodia Fri, 16 Feb 2018 07:09:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Startup Weekend Siem Reap 2018: Travel Edition Fri, 16 Feb 2018 03:45:25 +0000 Peter Ford Excited about startups? Love to travel? Then the Startup Weekend 2018 Travel Edition, being held in Siem Reap between February 23 and 25 is for you!

The event is sponsored by Smart, and presents a great opportunity for young and motivated people to learn the basics of starting their own businesses in the travel industry.

Participants will work with professional mentors to discuss business ideas, and learn how to turn that into a business plan that will be presented to a panel of expert judges – all in 54 hours! You can find out more about the mentors on the Startup Weekend Cambodia Facebook page, and the panel of judges will be the following:

Startup Weekend Cambodia Siem Reap Judges

The winning team will join the Mekong Region’s Tourism and Travel Tech Accelerator programme, free mentorship from Emeral HUB and much more.

So if you are excited about business, have unique ideas about tourism and love working with others, sign up, pay the $15 USD registration, and attend at BioLab Coffee and Office in Siem Reap.

You can register through this link, and for more information, please contact Meas Sinal: at 092 996 806

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Asking DoyDoy: interview with founder, Em Chanrithykol Thu, 15 Feb 2018 03:11:55 +0000 Roman Di Geronimo Geeks in Cambodia had the opportunity to talk with the Founder of DoyDoy, Em Chanrithykol. He shared with us all about DoyDoy’s plans, as well as the company’s journey so far in the Cambodian startup ecosystem.

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

Hi Chanrithykol, nice to meet you, let’s start off with an easy question. What is DoyDoy?

Chanrithykol (C): DoyDoy is a Cambodian-based startup that has developed construction toys for entertainment and educational purposes. Our startup’s flagship product consists of colourful interlocking 3D printed connectors and straws. DoyDoy pieces can be connected in many ways to construct objects such as buildings, helicopters and any other geometry shapes. Our product can be seen as an engaging educational toy that focuses on promoting engineering through fun play to support STEM learning.

Why did you start DoyDoy?

C: In 2015, I took  a one year break from my studies to volunteer as a teacher in schools in the provinces. I noticed there was an important lack of educational materials given to the children in comparison to kids schooled in the capital. I believe that this insufficiency of equipment hinders student success and tends to widen the existing gap between the countryside and Phnom Penh when it comes to education. In September 2016, I started DoyDoy on this observation, with the ambition to create a fun and affordable Cambodian-made learning game where kids would improve their creativity, develop problem solving and mathematical thinking.

How has DoyDoy evolved since the beginning?

C: We tried our best to make DoyDoy more eco-friendly and safe for the kids. We are now using Polyactic Acid (PLA) plastic for our 3D-printed connectors, which is derived from renewable resource like corn starch and sugar cane and is better known as “bioplastics.” Additionally, our plastic straws are now made in silicon, a 100% natural and non-toxic material. We have also tripled the size of our pieces to make sure they cannot be ingested by young children. In other words, DoyDoy is now better quality, has more flexibility and durability.

How big is your team? 

C: I started with someone who could help me design the pieces before committing to manufacture. Today there are two more people in the team, specifically dedicated to our communication strategy.

How do you promote DoyDoy and reach out to future customers?

C: We try to invite families to join us during our testing events where mums and dads can experiment our products while having fun with their children, and most importantly give us some valuable feedback on the product itself. We also rely on partnerships with schools that are interested in introducing DoyDoy into their classrooms; we are proud to say that DoyDoy can be found in five schools at the moment with more to come in the upcoming months. Finally, we also got fantastic brand recognition in the local entrepreneurial ecosystem by being selected as Award-winning toy at YoungStartup Award 2017. This has been a huge milestone for us as it helped us strengthen our brand in the local market and reinforce trust in our products from the families.

When you started the company, what were some of the obstacles?

C: Starting a company is not an easy task and I had to crush several barriers at the beginning. Firstly, I needed to figure out how to accommodate my student life while starting-up my company. The second challenge was obviously my young age [Chanrithykol is 22 years old at the time of this interview] that turned out to be sometimes an impediment to seeking partnership or meeting with customers. Finally, starting a company on its own is challenging especially when you don’t have a solid background in business. For this specific reason, I decided to join the Cellcard Lab, a programme that used to be incorporated at Impact Hub which offered us a three-day exposure trip to visit the biggest startup accelerator in SEA and 6 months of co-working space, bringing at last the opportunity to work alongside mentors.

What are your plans for DoyDoy in the future?

C: We want to focus our efforts on the development of the product itself in order to improve kid’s experiences while playing with DoyDoy, and there are many ways of doing it! For example, we would like to fill the spaces in the constructions by creating specific pieces that kids would clip in between the straws and connectors then draw on it. We are also planning to integrate a bit of technology for more advanced constructions. Our long-term vision aims at allowing kids to further customise their creations, greater express their creativity and further push the limits of their imagination, while DoyDoy continues to focus on supporting STEM learning.

Do you have any comments about the start-up scene in the future? 

C: As mentioned earlier, I believe we should give priority to the provinces that still lag behind Phnom Penh in terms of education. Providing more learning content in the Khmer language and strengthening the cooperation with schools and universities are key elements to create a more friendly system for future local startups.

With that, we wish DoyDoy all the best as they today consider to further venture into expanding their market across our national borders, we are sure that we will be seeing even greater things to come! For more information on DoyDoy, head on over to their Facebook page here.

(Edited by Peter Ford)

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Uber Cambodia GM explains his favorite in-app safety features Wed, 14 Feb 2018 08:51:16 +0000 GeeksInCambodia Uber’s arrival in Cambodia brought a number of new features and services to the country’s ride-hailing market.

Since launching in the United States in 2010, Uber has become a global brand, and Cambodia became the company’s 78th country of operation.

Uber Cambodia’s new General Manager, Pascal Ly, talked with Geeks in Cambodia about the safety features of the app, and what they mean for Cambodians using the app as either drivers or users:

Since launching in September, Uber has sought to educate riders and drivers about the in-app features that make the whole Uber experience a safe and pleasant one.

I always like to tell people about how Uber’s app makes the experience of requesting a ride really convenient and stress-free. Fares are clearly displayed, there is no need to negotiate the price, your car will arrive wherever you are and there is no need to stand out in the dark or pouring rain.

For me, there are three clear areas where Uber’s app really stands out in terms of safety: before, during, and after the ride.

You can arrange your ride from the comfort and security of your house, office, coffee shop or restaurant. No more standing outside in the rain, or in the dark to try to find a ride. Upon being matched with a driver partner, you can also see a picture of your driver’s face, their licence plate information, and their car type so you know you are getting into the right vehicle as well.

Request Ride@2x

During your ride, you can press the “share status” option, and friends or family can follow you in real time on the map and see exactly where you are. It also gives an estimated time of arrival for your ride, as well as the licence plate information, so it is easier to have someone waiting to meet you at your destination.

Share Trip Status 1@2x

After the ride, you give your driver partner a score out of 5, on how well you thought the service was – from the cleanliness of the car, to their attitude, to how they drove. You can compliment them or also report anything you were less than happy with, and all of this information will be relayed to the Uber team, to ensure the best possible experience. Driver partners will also score you as a passenger, thus helping Uber maintain a high quality community of riders and drivers.

Driver's Profile 2@2x

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OUTPOST’s STARTUP SPONSORSHIP COMPETITION: A RETROSPECTIVE Mon, 05 Feb 2018 05:01:30 +0000 Roman Di Geronimo Organised by the recently established pop-up co-working space, Outpost Cambodia, in collaboration with Geeks in Cambodia, the competition was created to give the opportunity to ... More]]> The first Outpost Startup Sponsorship Competition successfully concluded on 1st February with the awarding ceremony, on the top floor of the iconic Green penthouse located across the Tonle Sap river.

Organised by the recently established pop-up co-working space, Outpost Cambodia, in collaboration with Geeks in Cambodia, the competition was created to give the opportunity to one Cambodian-based startup to fast track their business through attractive advantages such as dedicated desks, specialised consultations with a team of global experts, access to the Outpost Network and exposure through their social media channels.

However, given the high quality of participants, Outpost Cambodia decided to reward two participants instead of one: KH Hits for the runner-up prize of 3 months of free co-working space and the DApact awarded the top spot.

Here’s a quick glimpse of the two winning teams:

Runner-up: KHhits is a startup of 6 people that aims to establish a ranking chart for Cambodian music using data mining technology. The company plans to launch a platform where fans can enjoy the music from major music corporations with the intent of collecting valuable information about music trends, demographics and other kinds of data for the Cambodian market;

Winner: The DApact is a startup that explores solutions in blockchain technology for international development aid operations in low-income countries. The company is aiming to improve fund traceability through decentralised origination software and a network of local merchants securing blockchain-to-real world interactions.

The awarding ceremony event was an opportunity to shine more light on two successful and already-established entrepreneurs, Langda Chea, co-founder of BookMeBus and Martin Lansard, founder of Aniwaa, by giving them a platform to share their experiences. The panel, led by Adrienne Ravez and Roman Di Geronimo, from Geeks in Cambodia and Startup Cambodia, covered several key topics specific to the Cambodian startup ecosystem.

The first edition of the Outpost’ Startup Sponsorship Competition proved a success, being not just a first milestone for the two winning startups but also a forum for the exchange of insightful advice and dialogue among entrepreneurs and aspiring ones.

Outpost Cambodia is a collaborative community that provides co-working and co-living space. Keep your eyes on their Facebook page here!

You can also stay tuned to Geeks in Cambodia for more updates on the latest exciting tech events in Cambodia, and follow our Facebook or Twitter to never miss another article from us!

(Edited by Peter Ford)

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Cambodia’s 2018 Social Media & Digital Statistics Fri, 02 Feb 2018 11:50:35 +0000 Samantha Fuentes Be it through the Internet, social media or mobile connectivity, we have seen how Cambodia has been becoming more acquainted with the digital sphere for the past 3 years.

In particular, Facebook has been one of the most ubiquitous social media platforms amongst the locals with over 6.8 million users, a significant increase from 2017’s 4.8 million users. Having its fair share of milestones, the social sharing platform hit 2 billion users in early 2017 and recorded growing revenues in almost every quarter. However, this 2018 marks Facebook’s most notable changes in the last 3 years – Going back to the basics.

This comes after CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook status addressing how one of the big areas for improvements to the platform will be making sure users’ time on Facebook will be well spent. In the status update posted on 12 January, Zuckerberg wrote, “…recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.”

With that, Facebook users can expect more change in several aspects to improve their experience on the popular platform this year.

Balance is of the essence when it comes to increasing meaningful interactions between users. In the hopes of spurring more worthwhile human connections, Facebook has been putting forth different initiatives to declutter news feeds and supply more family and friend-focused content. An example is the testing of the Facebook Explore Feed, which was unrolled earlier in 2017 in 6 countries; namely Guatemala, Serbia, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Bolivia and right here in the Kingdom. This feed aimed to create two separate spaces for both personal and public content, so as to combat the bane of social media clutter.

Besides this, Facebook has been working hard on tweaking their algorithms to deliver better and more accurate news on their Trending page. Early this year, Facebook users in the same region noticed similar topics appearing in their feeds, effectively replacing the prior “personalised” content delivery that was based on individual interests. Now, Facebook employs algorithms that rely on tracking publisher activity, such as how many of them are covering the same events and topics, instead of just depending on clicks and shares for individual articles to heighten accuracy and deter fake news.

On the other hand, though Facebook users are king now, brands and businesses will not be missing out completely on the benefits of the Facebook shift; especially with the rise of chatbots and artificial intelligence (AI). As predicted by Facebook Messenger Vice President David Marcus, he believes that more businesses will transition at least some of their customer service resources to Messenger this 2018.

This seems like a likely near future, given that Facebook has already worked with small businesses and global brands to create more than 200,000 bots for Messenger in 2017 and a recent study commissioned by Facebook revealed that 56% of people surveyed would rather message a business than call customer service and 67% expect to message businesses even more over the next 2 years.

On top of that, Facebook has already unveiled its very own AI Messenger Assistant, ‘M’, in the USA. This bot helps to offer relevant suggestions to user’s conversations and even converses in both English and Spanish. Though Facebook has not confirmed it yet, plans to add more AI suggestions to ‘M’ and global expansion of the function are said to be in the talks.

With all this information as a basis for what the digital scene has to offer currently, have a look at the infographic below, accompanied by quotes from key industry players to explore how Cambodia’s digital ecosystem might grow in the years to come and how it can affect a wide range of industries.


Hear what the experts have to say about the infographic:


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