What started as an idea to better coordinate pick-up soccer games has become an award-winning application, and now the five Cambodian university students who developed it are set to fly to Singapore and meet with high-powered tech executives.
The GoSoccer application was declared the winner of the SmartStart competition in Phnom Penh yesterday morning, earning the app’s creators the contest’s top prize: an all-expenses-paid trip to meet with representatives of technology giants Facebook, Google and Microsoft in their Singapore offices.
According to Sengkhun Lim, one of GoSoccer’s founders, he and his friends created the app to help users find like-minded soccer players and reserve spaces to play in Phnom Penh.
“We came up with the idea for finding matches to play, and then decided to include bookings for fields, too,” Lim said, adding that GoSoccer’s profits would hopefully come from the field-booking aspect of the application. While they have not yet officially launched the app, the five co-developers plan to charge a 5 percent commission on each field booking and sell membership packages to field operators.
The SmartStart contest was sponsored by mobile operator Smart Axiata, which gave five teams of young developers $4,000 each six months ago to further develop their ideas. The five teams pitched their products to a panel of five judges in Phnom Penh yesterday morning, with GoSoccer coming out on top.
Smart has kept open the possibility of additional funding for the app in the future, though GoSoccer’s developers seemed more interested in the trip to Singapore than in any additional financing.
“Right now, we’re not thinking about money, we’re just excited to learn from these companies [in Singapore] and use the knowledge to help us scale our platform,” said team member Ratanak Hang.
“Singapore is a high-tech country, and we can learn a lot from them,” added Sovann Lyhour, another GoSoccer developer and a computer science major at Zaman University in Phnom Penh. “We look forward to visiting these big companies and allowing them to inspire us to work even harder on our own projects.”
Other ideas pitched at the final round of the contest included Ligo, a mobile platform for learning basic Khmer language and etiquette; Prestige Gift, a gift-wrapping and delivery service; Spare, a digital platform for renting available office and conference space; and Propey, a digital wedding planning service.
The incubation programme was created, developed and run by Impact Hub, a local platform for entrepreneurs and start-ups.