Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - More angels coming in search of worthy investments

More angels coming in search of worthy investments

More angels coming in search of worthy investments

Two months since a group of angel investors visited Phnom Penh in search of startup investment opportunities, the organisation behind the initiative is planning an even bigger scouting mission, looking for investment opportunities in the Kingdom’s small but vibrant startup community.

Seven members of the Mekong Angel Investment Network (MAIN) visited the capital in June. Fourteen angel investors will join a delegation due to arrive early next month, according to Steve Landman, managing partner of the Lotus Fund.

“We are quite optimistic about the angel investment climate in Cambodia,” he said. “We saw many exciting and enthusiastic entrepreneurs that have done a great job in being investable.”

He said the first visit resulted in two investment decisions – one into local online transport company BookMeBus, which also won the Cambodia’s 2016 ICT competition for best startup, and the other in the Cambodia Investors Club (CiC) – a small- to medium-sized enterprise (SME) growth platform.

Angel investors were also eyeing TOT Delivery, Samai Distillery and 3 Sisters (Cambodia) Enterprise, as well as performing due diligence for a large investment on one additional company, he said.

“While it is still early in the startup lifecycle in Cambodia, [the angel investors] are off to a great start,” he said.

MAIN was established by the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Mekong Business Initiative with financial support from the Australian government. The angel investor network aims to help at least 30 companies become established in the CLMV (Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar) region over the next three years.

David Totten, director of Emerging Market Consulting (EMC), a company that has participated in over 350 projects in the region over the last 12 years, said that the primary value angel investors bring is an alternative source of funding during the early stages before a business becomes “bankable”.

“[Angel investors] can bridge the gap that exists between startup – when the business is too risky for banks to lend or too small for larger equity investors to invest in – [and bankability],” he said.

The early-stage investment can validate a business model, accelerate development and improve governance, he said.

As for startups, Totten said, choosing the right angel investor is crucial as they become partial owners of a business and receive a return on equity if they succeed.

“The entrepreneur may be entirely and uniquely committed to the success of their venture,” he said.

“The angel investor, having multiple ownership interests in many companies, may not.”

“This is not necessarily a disadvantage, it is a difference, and differences between owners are sometimes important,” he added.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia’s image problem

    In opening remarks at a recent event, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Luy David said information can be a double-edged sword. He told a European Institute of Asian Studies (EIAS) briefing seminar that the media has unfairly presented

  • PM Hun Sen says dangers averted

    Delivering a campaign speech from his home via Facebook Live on Thursday, caretaker Prime Minister Hun Sen said his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) had carried the country through danger in its latest mandate. He was specifically referring to the threat of a “colour revolution”

  • Kingdom's trade deal with EU questioned before poll

    A European Union (EU) mission met with senior government officials at the Ministry of Interior on Tuesday as the 28-member bloc monitors an agreement under which Cambodian goods reach the crucial European market tariff-free. Some 10 commissioners are in the Kingdom as part of a seven-day

  • A new carrier takes off in capital

    Cambodia Airways, the latest passenger airline to enter the Kingdom, launched its first domestic flight on Tuesday. Flight KR801, carrying 145 passengers, left the Phnom Penh International Airport at 9:50am and landed in Siem Reap at 10:35am in an Airbus A319. Cambodia Airways marketing and branding