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

  • US imposes sanctions on Oknha Pheap and Kun Kim

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation expressed strong dismay on Monday over the designation of Cambodian tycoon Oknha Try Pheap and General Kun Kim under the US’ Global Magnitsky Act. “It is very disturbing when the public figures of a country become the

  • Mother, daughter killed in hotel fire

    The bodies of a mother and daughter were found locked in an embrace after they were killed in a hotel fire in Phnom Penh at around 3:30am on Wednesday at the Phkar Chhouk Tep 2 Hotel and Restaurant in Phsar Doeum Kor commune, in the capital’

  • Rights Day forum denied in Sihanoukville

    The Preah Sihanouk provincial administration last Saturday denied the request of land communities for a public location in the province to celebrate International Human Rights Day 2019 as the administration had already held forums to discuss land issues. However, the land community representatives said they would

  • EBA withdrawal a destruction of EU achievements, PM says

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the EU’s possible suspension of its Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement amounted to a destruction of its achievements in the Kingdom and the demise of the opposition group. Hun Sen made the remarks while addressing more than 6,700 students during

  • PP residents urged to use public transport

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol has urged Phnom Penh residents to use the capital’s existing public transport services rather than private vehicles, as it is leading to increased traffic congestion. He also called for the city’s public bus system to

  • Kingdom calls on Japan to increase number of direct flights to Siem Reap, Phnom Penh

    Cambodia is requesting Japan to increase the number of direct flights from Japanese cities and provinces to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, so as to contribute to increasing cooperation and tourist numbers between the two countries. During the opening ceremony of 3rd Japan Travel Fair