Myanmar Digest: EME, Trust Venture Partners back new startups

Emerging Markets Entrepreneurs, a Myanmar-based early-stage VC, has scored two new investments while Yangon-based Trust Venture Partners has injected a five-digit sum into e-wallet aggregator Bards.

Emerging Markets Entrepreneurs makes two new investments

Myanmar-based early-stage investment firm Emerging Markets Entrepreneurs (EME) has made two new investments in chilli producer Natural Farm Fresh and on-demand maid services startup Yangon Broom.

The two deals take EME’s total portfolio to six companies to date.

EME has co-invested a six-figure sum into Natural Farm Fresh along with United Managers Japan Inc. The investment is said to help the company develop new products and introduce digital technologies throughout the supply chain. Natural Farm Fresh produces chilli and other dried food products using locally produced solar dryers to increase yield value.

“The chilli market in Myanmar is well over $100 million and growing; regionally, the numbers are even higher and together we’re very well placed to take advantage of this huge market potential,” said EME director Hitoshi Ikeya.

Meanwhile, EME has also participated in a five-digit funding in on-demand maid services startup Yangon Broom along with its co-investor Vietnam-based Nest Tech. Currently operating in Yangon, the startup will roll out more verticals in 2020.

Founded in 2018, EME has also invested in animation company Joosk Studio, car trading startup CarsDB, HR company Mote Poh and call centre Lan Thit Masterpiece Limited. The early-stage VC  typically invests $50,000-250,000 in each deal.

EME said even as the total number of startups founded in 2019 appeared to be lower than previous years, there was a transition from cornerstone models such as classifieds and e-commerce to more experimental, innovative startups.

Trust Venture Partners backs e-wallet aggregator Bards

Myanmar-based digital solutions provider Bards has raised a funding round from financial advisor Trust Venture Partners and an angel investor, the company said in a statement.

Bards is developing a unified payment solution for mobile wallets, called Dinger (the Burmese word for coin), in Myanmar. The company has secured a partnership with a local mobile wallet and expects to enter into agreements with two more mobile wallet firms.

“The integrated platform will tackle fragmented payment ecosystem as a bridge between e-commerce businesses and mobile wallets, allowing e-commerce businesses to accept payment from many kinds of mobile wallets,” it said.

The startup claimed it has secured ten letters of intent from e-commerce platforms in different industries including education, retail, health and wellness, as of August 2019.

“Dinger unlocks the potential of commercial platforms on Internet as it provides digital commercial access to those unbanked in Myanmar,” said Shinsuke Goto, CEO at Trust Venture Partners.

The firm has invested in companies such as fitness app Flexible Pass, Myanmar Institute of Business, career advice platform Live the Dream, business information provider Frontier Myanmar Research and food firm Provide Advanced Technology.

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.