International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private lending arm of the World Bank, has proposed an equity investment of $3 million in Oway Group, an online travel booking and on-demand ride-hailing service in Myanmar.
Oway Group, which is registered in Singapore and operates in Myanmar, counts Taft Co. Pte. Ltd., Emerging Markets Group Investments, BeeNext Capital and Qualgro Capital among its key shareholders, according to an IFC disclosure.
The company is looking to raise a total of $10 million by way of debt and equity financing to meet the working capital, operating costs and technology development of its two businesses, OwayTravel and OwayRide.
“Myanmar does not yet have a strong Venture Capital ecosystem, and lacks local and later-stage funding options. IFC’s investment in Oway provides access to capital to a promising early-stage technology company in Myanmar,” it said, in its investment disclosure.
The Oway Group is founded by Nay Aung, a Myanmar national, with previous experience at Google and Blue Lithium. He is a graduate of Stanford GSB and London School of Economics.
Some of the booking services that the platform handles include flights, bus ticketing, hotel and tour packages, car rentals and tour guides.
The company forayed into the fast-growing ride-hailing service with OwayRide March 2016. OwayRide, which has already signed on 400 drivers in Yangon, is expected to take this number to 1,500 by the year end. “Companies like Oway create economic opportunity through local job generation,” IFC said, in this filing, highlighting the development impact of job creation in an under-served emerging market.
IFC has been active in debt and equity investments in Myanmar. Just recently, IFC announced an investment of up to $7.5 million in a development fund to support SMEs in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. It also proposed to extend a debt investment of $21 million to half a dozen Microfinance institutions in Myanmar.