Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Venture capital firm Ooctane identifies start-ups to fund

Venture capital firm Ooctane identifies start-ups to fund

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Ooctane general partner Tapas Kuila (left) and associate Josh Hong model T-shirts with the company logo. OOCTANE

Venture capital firm Ooctane identifies start-ups to fund

Ooctane, a Cambodian venture capital firm backed by local logistics company Worldbridge Group, has identified potential start-ups in the Kingdom to fund, saying it has reserved $55 million for Cambodia’s growing number of entrepreneurs.

The firm was first launched in June last year with Worldbridge Group’s founding chairman Sear Rithy investing $5 million of his own money in the fund.

Rithy has so far raised an additional $50 million from his network of friends, giving the venture capital firm a total of $55 million at its disposal.

One of the firm’s general partners, Tapas Kuila, said since launching the fund last year, the firm has spent time building its internal team and system, meaning it is only now beginning to invest.

Now, he said, everything is ready and the firm wants to let the start-up community know it is open for business.

“Our shop is open now and if there are any start-ups out there or new businesses that want to grow and expand, please talk to us, please reach out to us.

“We have earmarked a few start-ups over the past few months and now as a team, we are actually trying to do a lot more research into them."

“Hopefully we’ll be able to close [the deals] quite soon, maybe sometime in the middle of this year,” he said.

The market for private equity funds has been increasing noticeably in the Kingdom over the past few years, as more firms reserve larger sums to support the growth of small- and medium- enterprises (SMEs).

While there are many equity firms in the market, the five largest – Emerging Markets Investment Advisers, Belt Road Capital Management (Cambodia) Co Ltd, Smart Axiata Co Ltd, Leopard Capital LP and International Finance Corporation, the World Bank’s lending arm – have earmarked hundreds of millions of dollars for SMEs.

Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX) Market Operations Department director Kim Sophanita said the availability of more private equity funds is very important, saying it would help Cambodian start-ups grow faster and make it easier for them to list on the exchange in future.

She said start-ups currently cannot meet CSX listing criteria in terms of accounting standards, corporate governance and so on. But when venture capital firms join, they have both the money and the skills.

Such firms do not merely provide funds but may also help start-ups reform and provide them with strategies to grow as businesses, she added.

Sophanita continued that venture capital firms and CSX are not competitors, but provide distinct financial products to businesses. Each product has different characteristics and businesses can choose which one best fits their strategies.

“Once [start-ups] grow big enough, venture capital firms will use the stock market as their exit strategy. Listing them in the stock market can provide a higher value for the companies and [venture capital firms] can, therefore, sell their shares, making a lot of profit,” she said.

“With more venture capital firms, there will be more eligible companies to get listed in CSX.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • Cambodia to make auto-rickshaws

    Locally-assembled electric auto-rickshaws could hit the Cambodian market as soon as early in May after the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) gave the greenlight to an investment project at the weekend. According to a CDC press release, it will issue a final registration