Back in March, we announced that BanhJi, led by Chankiriroth Sim, or Roth, had become the first ever Cambodian team to be selected for StartupBootcamp FinTech.
Then in May, we sat down with Roth to discuss their experience at StartupBootcamp and to find out more about what BanhJi was all about.
Fast forward to October this year, BanhJi has progressed leaps and bounds, establishing themselves as a reliable, locally run accounting software for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the Kingdom.
Officially released on October 12, the BanhJi Platform now manages millions of dollars worth of assets and is available to any SME in Cambodia for free! If you’re interested in signing up, simply logon to banhji.com and follow the instructions there!
In the months ahead, more major developments are coming up for BanhJi in terms of partnerships and collaborations which should firmly establish them as a premier accounting choice for companies.
Geeks in Cambodia sat down with Roth, the founder of BanhJi to talk about journey travelled and the road ahead.
The following interview has been edited for flow, clarity and language
Congrats on all you have achieved so far. We heard you’re back from a 3 month accerlerator experience in Singapore so what was that experience like?
Roth(R): That three months was really tough – one of the toughest I’ve experienced actually. It was an acceleration period for us, pushing for results, pushing for how things could be done better. But I’m proud to say that in the space of three months, we’ve achieved more for BanhJi than we had in the past three years.
During the acceleration period, we actually re-looked at the whole project and came up with something that is completely different from what I envisaged in the three years spent developing it.
When BanhJi was starting up, how did you decide that SMEs would be your target market?
R: I guess you could say that BanhJi didn’t startup as your typical startup. It started because I actually run a consultancy firm for SMEs, and back in 2013, we were looking at different strategies to remain competitive in the market. One of the main strategies was to develop a financial software for SMEs, and it was originally a concept that we wanted to use to get us, as a consultancy firm, into SMEs. So the main purpose was financial consulting.
But, as BanhJi evolved over the years, now it’s a business by itself and not just a strategy anymore. And we didn’t expect it to grow this way even though we had one eye on the regional market when we came up with the software. That’s why we named it “BanhJi”, because it’s the word for accounting in Laos, Thailand and Cambodia.
What are some of the key features of BanhJi that set it apart from other accounting softwares?
R: The most obvious answer, I think, would be price because its free but yet, I do not think that this is the key factor that sets BanhJi apart. I think the feature that is unique to BanhJi is the localization in term of language, tax, and accounting standards.
Furthermore, the automated setup of complex accounting functions allows BanhJi to achieve the balance of simplicity for non-finance users and multi-level analysis for finance people. Basically BanhJi does all the accounting-related heavy lifting for the users.
Are there any upcoming features that will be added for BanhJi in the near future?
R: Yea, we’ve got some really exciting features coming up, including a collaboration and integration with banks. We’re also looking to add a cash management module which will come when the integration with the banks come into play.
Another thing is that there is actually a Peer 2 Peer lending that is going to be starting up in Cambodia in the near future and we will be integrating our platform with theirs as well.
We are also developing a module specifically for universities and high school students in Cambodia. This is an exciting partnership that will be officially announced next year.
Nice, well lets talk about the bigger picture for a bit. What are some ways you hope to see the FinTech scene develop in Cambodia?
R: To be honest, I think most startups in Cambodia don’t even look at FinTech, perhaps some of them don’t even know what FinTech is. But I think Fintech will be hotter in Cambodia in the near future. We see a huge wave of payment/ remittence solutions in Cambodia. Yet the field of FinTech is so wide, there’s a really wide spectrum and so many different avenues people could explore within FinTech. So, I hope that people would start to explore the world of FinTech a little bit more.
One last question, the last time we met, your advice to other Cambodian entrepreneurs was “dream regional, start local”, would you say your advice is the same?
R: My advice would be the same. To start local – make sure you make a mark on the local market. Then, think about going regional. Because if you can’t even make it in the local scene, you can forget about the regional one.
Something I’d like to add on though, would be that where possible, explore strategic partnerships to bring your business idea to the next level.
That was Geeks in Cambodia’s interview with Roth, the founder of BanhJi. You’ll be able to catch Roth at FinTech Social Phnom Penh in December.
Stay locked to Geeks in Cambodia for updates about FinTech Social Phnom Penh!