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

  • ‘Life goes on’ if Cambodia loses Everything But Arms

    Cambodia's business sector is exploring ways to mitigate any fallout from a possible loss of access to the EU’s Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement as talks continue before the 28-member bloc makes a final decision. The EU monitoring process is set to conclude in

  • Nesat beach: A magnet drawing tourists to the Kingdom’s coastline

    A white sandy beach lined by countless coconut trees awaits travellers off Cambodia’s southwest coast in Koh Kong province’s Srae Ambel district, about 170km from Phnom Penh. Over the past few years Nesat beach – a name inspired by a nearby fishing village – has

  • PM: Workers must train for Industry 4.0

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has urged the Kingdom’s workforce to seek more technical training and strengthen their skills if they are to avoid job losses resulting from the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Hun Sen said the fourth industrial revolution is like a double-edged sword that

  • Huawei applies for OS trademark in Cambodia

    China's Huawei Technologies Co has applied to trademark the “Hongmeng” operating system (OS) in a number of countries including Cambodia in a bid to launch its homegrown operating system as a replacement for the Android OS, Reuters has reported. Huawei has applied to trademark the “