2017 has just barely started and there have already been huge developments and explorations in the tech scene for Cambodia with many firsts and new concepts being trialled, especially in the e-payment sector.
Last2Ticket’s expansion into Southeast Asia, with Cambodia as its point of entry into the region’s market, is a perfect example of that.
Last2Ticket, founded in 2011, is an online digital ticketing solutions company based in Portugal that handles ticketing management initiatives for events across the country. Last2Ticket Asia was created with the same mold to deliver similar services to SEA under a strategic partnership with Confluences Incubateur and European private investors.
Built on a proprietary technology, Last2Ticket Asia looks to provide end-to-end event management services to event organizers of all types and sizes, public or private institutions, and corporate entities.
With aims to solve traditional event ticketing problems associated with physical ticket offices, queuing and cash payments, Last2Ticket’s platform offers not only online ticketing sales but also a full package of event management tools to check-in services.
This well-rounded system encourages event organisers to adopt digital ticketing, reaping the benefits of efficiency, convenience, transparency and audience reach that come with it. Similarly, Last2Ticket also aims to empower locals, who traditionally pay for offline tickets, to slowly transition into e-payments by partnering with WING Money and PayWay from ABA Bank. International payment methods in USD are also available.
Cambodia’s growth potential in the digital scene, especially the e-commerce market, and lively startup movements have certainly not gone unnoticed internationally, and are part of the reasons for Last2Ticket’s venture into the country.
Soreasmey Ke Bin, Managing Director of Confluences Incubateur mentioned: “We are very proud of this new venture. Last2Ticket Asia is the second startup Confluences is registering since the beginning of the year. We have been working on this project for months, building the business case, securing the funding, recruiting and managing the local team. I’m very optimistic of Last2Ticket Asia’s success both in Cambodia and regionally. It will take time for sure, but we have the right partners to do so, both in Cambodia and abroad.”
Last2Ticket Cocktail Launch Party held at The Plantation on 5th April 2017.
Source: Last2Ticket Team
Despite being officially launched on the 5th of April, Last2Ticket has already covered events such as the Audi International Jazz Festival in Phnom Penh and Chubmet Music & Art Festival in Siem Reap.
More events are to be announced in the days and weeks to come, especially after its launch, and Geeks in Cambodia is definitely excited to see how this platform would drastically impact event ticketing in the country.
Ms Emilia Catarina Simoes speaking at her Last2Ticket launch party in Phnom Penh
Source: Last2Ticket Team
In fact, we had the opportunity to interview Ms Emilia Catarina Simões (E), the CEO of Last2Ticket to find out the exact details of the venture, and some advice she has as an esteemed female entrepreneur.
The following interview has been edited for clarity, language and flow.
Why was Cambodia specifically chosen as the starting point of expansion?
E: The Southeast Asian market has largely unmet needs when it comes to electronic ticketing solutions. Two European private investors, with businesses in Cambodia, signaled this opportunity to us, who identified Last2Ticket as being the right player to launch this venture. At the time, we were already looking to expand into growing economies far away from Portugal, and not looking into obvious markets. Southeast Asia met our criteria and we got ready to jump. Cambodia’s growing e-commerce market and lively startup movement were two of the decisive factors taken into consideration when deciding to locate the new venture in Phnom Penh.
What were some of the concerns Last2Ticket had when choosing to expand into Cambodia and Asia?
E: We were conscious of our lack of knowledge and experience in Asian markets in general and in Cambodia in particular. Therefore, it was crucial to find a local partner that gathered this expertise to help us navigate cultural challenges and that also had the capabilities to recruit, support and manage a local team. We are very glad to have found Confluences Incubateur, with whom we joined forces.
What type of area(s) will Last2Ticket focus on through its digital ticketing solutions in Cambodia? (eg. Conferences, festivals, shows, tourist attractions, etc.) Why were these areas chosen?
E: Our proprietary solution is trial and tested, and can address the needs of most event types. Our portfolio includes music, festivals, tourist attractions, tours, conferences, but also corporate invitation-only events. Moreover, we continue to invest in the development of our technology launching new features and services so we can offer more complete and innovative solutions. A recent example is our web Point-of-Sale service, which allows event promoters to complement online ticket sales with ticket office sales. In Asia we see great potential in conferences, corporate events and tourist attractions but no event is too big or small to use our service, whether from a public, private or non-for profit organization.
What are some difficulties that Last2Ticket has faced since expanding into Cambodia? How does the team plan to overcome these difficulties?
E: Cambodia is still a cash-first economy and ecommerce is still a developing sector. Adapting to local payment methods has been an imperative to be able to work in this market. We are already accepting Wing Money and working with ABA Bank PayWay for this. There is also a great need to show we are a trustworthy business, but for that we have our local partners to give us a hand, and the confidence that our platform is secure and reliable.
We understand that Last2Ticket’s first public event in Phnom Penh, the Audi International Jazz Festival, happened in December last year, and that it was a success. How has Last2Ticket grown in Cambodia since then?
E: Audi International Jazz Festival was our first paid event in Cambodia and somewhat a proof-of-concept. In all honesty, I think all parties were quite surprised with the audience’s adoption of electronic tickets for that event. Since then, we have covered more events both in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, including international renowned artists like Joss Stone who headlined Chubmet Music & Art Festival in Siem Reap.
How do you hope Last2Ticket will impact the digital scene in Cambodia?
E: Our mission is to empower event promoters of all types and sizes, by being a one-stop-shop for tools to efficiently sell, promote and manage events. Additionally, we have taken on the role of educating organizations and consumers to maximize the impact of ticket dematerialization in society in markets where these are still less adopted.
We believe that once promoters and consumers realize the benefits of paperless ticket technology there will be no turning back. The convenience, transparency and reach electronic tickets offer translate into real benefits that account for time and money savings for all parties.
What are Last2Ticket’s upcoming plans in Cambodia and in the next few years?
E: We are going to have to do some work in brand awareness and in educating consumers and event organizers, so we don’t expect adoption will be at light speed. Nevertheless, we had great enthusiasm over our solutions and keen interests in using our platform in the first few months from all types of event organizers.
We will continue to develop and adapt our platform and services to the local market, having in sight that under developed markets often leap forward in technology adoption reaping its benefits quickly. Countries like Cambodia may be less competitive but clients and consumers are as if not more demanding. We are also looking forward to the push Asian markets may have on our own company development back home or in other markets we expand to.
What advice do you have for startups hoping to expand out to other countries?
E: Find more about the culture and business in the target foreign country. Don´t just assume that the market and culture will be a good fit for your business on paper, but visit it to prove yourself it will. You sort of have to fall in love with the opportunity it represents, like explorers breaking new ground.
Be open. Opportunities often come when and where you’re not looking and can surprise and refreshing if you let them in.
Find like-minded people that share the same passion as you do and believe in your mission, being investors or team members.
Lastly and very importantly, identify local partners. They will be extensions of your business locally.
As a female tech entrepreneur yourself, what advice do you have for aspiring female entrepreneurs in the tech scene?
E: I don´t think being a woman should be a reason for being different in business! I like to think I may be an example to other women giving it a try to start a business, but male or female, we all have characteristics that may contribute to its success.
I believe one of the most important entrepreneur traits is not giving up easily. Not stopping a project because it’s not going as planned in the way we expect, we have seen in our home country or we forecasted in our business plan. Having a clear and pragmatic vision about the feasibility of an idea, business model or market is the key for good decision-making. It doesn’t matter that your business is starting or growing, facing the reality as is and not as we would like to be, is determinant for the success of any project.
An inspiring woman with an equally inspiring platform bound to help drive Cambodia into the path of e-payments and ecommerce, Geeks in Cambodia definitely agree with her views expressed.
And remember, business does not discriminate gender – the most important skill as an entrepreneur is to be tenacious and always bounce back from failure.
Stay locked to Geeks in Cambodia for more news on the latest events and launches. Till next time!