Japan’s Daiwa to set up VC fund to invest in Myanmar startups

Downtown Yangon, Myanmar. Photo: Pixabay

Daiwa Securities Group will set up a venture capital fund in Myanmar, in a first for a major Japanese financial institution.

The Southeast Asian country’s economy is growing at a roughly 6% clip, and information technology startups are emerging. This makes Myanmar an attractive market for Japanese institutional investors seeking relief from persistently low interest rates at home.

Taiyo Life Insurance has already decided to contribute to the fund. Daiwa is thinking about launching more such funds, depending on how the first one performs.

The fund is likely to amount to $30 million, with an investment period of about 12 years. The plan is to invest around $1 million in each promising Myanmar startup the fund targets.

Daiwa hopes to help the companies grow for a few years, ushering them toward initial public offerings — from which it would reap profits. The listings would be supported by the Myanmar Securities Exchange Centre, a joint venture between Daiwa and state-run Myanma Economic Bank.

Myanmar is hungry for foreign investment, especially after the total authorized in the year through March fell 37% on the year to $3.6 billion. Money inflows slowed after the military crackdown on the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority made global headlines.

Daiwa, an early entrant into the Myanmar market, aims to take advantage of its deep local knowledge. Daiwa and Japan Exchange Group were among the investors that backed the Yangon Stock Exchange when it opened in 2015.

The securities house started to invest its own money in Myanmar startups in 2017. So far, it has injected a combined $25 million or so into five companies, including an internet service provider and an online travel service.

This article was first published on Nikkei Asian Review

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.