Singapore-registered Ko Shwe Ventures, the company behind Zingo brand of oral healthcare products, has raised $350,000 in a seed round of financing from international investors, the company announced.
The company, which has launched the brand in Yangon, will use the proceeds to support the Zingo rollout across Myanmar and lay the foundation for its international expansion.
Investors who contributed to the round include angel investors and family offices from China, the US, Europe and Australia, according to the release.
“Whilst we have been running the business organically and generating income, this funding will enable us to accelerate our rollout in Myanmar and beyond, as well as funding further product development,” said Sam Glatman, founder, Ko Shwe Ventures.
Glatman, a UK entrepreneur and resident of Yangon, also founded Mako Seafood, a Myanmar startup, which he has exited to focus on Ko Shwe.
Zingo’s oral care products uniquely target the local market where betel-chewing is common with an estimated 23 million people indulging in the habit. Zingo’s products are formulated to help address the effects of betel nut use by reducing sensitivity and staining.
The company rolled out Zingo chewing gum and mouthwash sachets in Myanmar in late 2018 in a low profile manner after spending three years in research, development and clinical trials.
“I was struck by the huge potential of Zingo in Myanmar and across Asia. I have been part of one innovative brand that expanded rapidly across the region and am confident that Zingo can do the same,” said Sam Bool, one of the seed investors in Ko Shwe. Incidentally, Bool helped launch Uber in Australia and across South East Asia, the release stated.
According to Zingo’s research, over 40 per cent of betel users report mouth sensitivity and inflammation and 90 per cent experience teeth staining.
Ko Shwe plans to take Zingo into other markets in 2019 to meet the demand of about 600 million betel chewers across the Asia-Pacific.