500 Startups makes Myanmar investment debut with search engine Bindez

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Global venture capital fund 500 Startups has made its first investment in Myanmar with a seed round in Yangon-based Bindez, an information search engine and discovery platform.

The startup will use the funds to grow its mobile news aggregation platform, Thadin.

The investment marks the third round of fund-raising by Bindez, which works on “making information easy” on mobile.

“In most parts of the world Internet platforms like Facebook or Google are dominant. But in Myanmar, we see Bindez offering a locally developed, alternative way of consuming real-time, relevant information,” said Khailee Ng, managing partner at 500 Startups, the Silicon Valley-based seed fund. 500 Startups has invested in nearly 1,500 technology startups in over 50 countries.

The investment amount is a “small minority stake in the angel and mentoring capacity,” said Rahul Batra, co-founder & CEO of Bindez to DEALSTREETASIA. “The prestigious early-stage fund had come on-board via their third round of funding, along with an experienced consortium of angel investors from across Asia’s internet and technology industry,” he added.

“It’s been an incredible experience through a year of networking, pitching, evaluation, analysis, and negotiations in raising the capital that should help the venture grow its team, product offering and value over the next 12-18 months,” said Batra.

Launched in 2014, Bindez managed to release their first product, “Bindez Tha Din” in June 2015, a news discovery app for Android bringing users the latest Burmese language news articles from the most reliable sources in Myanmar. By November 2015, Bindez reached a user base of 20,000.

Bindez has partnered with telecom operator, Ooredoo, device manufacturers and distributors, and content hubs to bring the product to over 50,000 users in the country. It rolled out key information features related to the devastating Myanmar floods in July 2015 and the historic general elections in November 2015 drawing high engagement and public attention.

It started as a local language search engine project by two techies Yewint Ko and Htet Will in mid-2013. Along with Indian national Rahul Batra, a former Google executive and online product and business expert, they co-founded Bindez in April 2014 to help Burmese language users find information online with more ease and efficiency.

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