On Thursday, SomJot, a mobile application transforming parking in Phnom Penh, was selected as the winner of the SmartStart Young Innovator Program Cycle 2 and was awarded a trip to Singapore to visit tech giants like Google, Microsoft, and Facebook.
Four other teams presented fantastic pitches at the Grand Finals at Impact Hub Phnom Penh, they were; Homex, a mobile application that connects users with household needs to reliable technicians; Haystome, a digital platform that connects tourists with local artists for a truly authentic experience; Malis, a digital solution facilitating appointments at beauty salons and Tos Rean, an online platform matching tutors and students.
Thomas Hundt, CEO of Smart Axiata and a judge of the competition, emphasised on the difficulty the judges faced in coming up with a decision.
“Ultimately from our perspective it’s very exciting to see that in such a relatively short period of time university students went from ideas, with the support they received, and built up to the prototype level, where they have a beta, some of them even have revenues and customers already. It’s very exciting to see and we are very upbeat, that’s why SmartStart Cycle 3 is coming soon. We’ve seen a huge upgrade from the first cycle to the second cycle and I believe that Cycle 3 can again be another step up.”
The SomJot team poses with Thomas Hundt, CEO of Smart Axiata. Photo Credit: Smart Axiata
The event concluded cycle 2 of SmartStart, a nine-month long program by Smart Axiata and Impact Hub Phnom Penh, endorsed by Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications and Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, aims at enabling promising Cambodian university students to launch their digital business ideas.
The teams that presented had received $4,000 in startup funding and a six-month incubation program from Impact Hub since June of 2018. “Although we had to face many challenges in the last few months, we were grateful to have experienced mentors, Impact Hub and Smart, who guided us till we finally launched the beta version of our application. We look forward to build on this success as our digital product and service gains traction in Cambodia,” said Ms Ny Chanpichmean from team SomJot.
Mélanie Mossard, Impact Hub Phnom Penh’s Director of Venture Support, praised the commitment of all the teams throughout the whole program.
“The quality and hard work on display in SmartStart Cycle 2 has been amazing. It has been great to see how these young university students have all responded to the advice and workshops during the incubation period. We at Impact Hub can’t wait to see all the teams further develop their ideas and use our continuous support to guide them through their entrepreneurial journey.”