Mekong investor network to bring overseas angels to tap Myanmar

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Photo: Carego International.
Photo: Carego International.

Mekong Angel Investors Network (MAIN), started by the Asia Development Bank-backed Mekong Business Initiative and Lotus Impact Fund, is planning to undertake tour missions in Myanmar every quarter from February 2017 with the aim to bring angel investors to the frontier market.

MAIN – whose network includes serial entrepreneurs from Asia-Pacific, US and Europe – will be undertaking similar tours to Cambodia Vietnam and Laos. It aims to bring as many as 1000 angel investors to the lower Mekong countries every year. Lotus Fund too is present in Vietnam and Cambodia. MAIN is also looking at additional investors in Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar.

“We just started to build networks (in Myanmar). Cambodia has two angel groups. We’ll do a tour and bring angel investors in Myanmar in February,” Steve Landman, CEO of Carego International and managing partner of Lotus Impact Fund told DEALSTREETASIA on the sidelines of the Mekong Investor Forum 2016 held in Yangon recently.

The Forum – organised by Myanmar Young Entrepreneurs Association, J.E. Austin Associates Inc and US state Department sponsored Tigers@Mekong initiative – brought together over 100 investors from Europe, Australia, Canada, US to meet entrepreneurs in Myanmar.

At the forum, nearly 21 startups pitched their ideas with eight of them from Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar shortlisted for the final round. Two Myanmar based startups, agriculture mobile app Greenovator and Genius Coffee, were among the eight finalists.

Landman also said, he expected to introduce a new platform, KIU, to help businesses access the global market. KIU, which will be launched in Vietnam and Cambodia soon, is likely to open office in Myanmar by April next year, he added.

KIU, which is positioned as an e-commerce platform, will allow businesses in the Mekong region to access buyers around the world.

It will act as a marketplace, payment, logistics as well as financing platform. KIU has 100 manufacturers on its platform from Vietnam.

Meanwhile, Landman will also be expanding his healthcare venture, Carego International, to Myanmar by 2017. He is hoping to get licence to operate clinics in Myanmar by early next year.

Landman is looking to invest a minimum of $500,000 in building clinics in Myanmar along with a local partner.

The Carego clinics are self-contained modular care units that are converted from shipping containers. They are designed to provide healthcare services to often remote areas. Carego International also develops facilities and technology solutions for education, enterprises and government entity in emerging markets.

Landman clinics are present in countries including India, Vietnam and Indonesia and will be tested in Myanmar soon.

‘It will be similar to what I have done in other countries,” said Landman. The model will be the same despite some small differences that could exist in every country.

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