Myanmar: Phandeeyar sets up accelerator, to invest $200k in 8 startups in 2016

Photo: Phandeeyar

Fresh from securing a $2-million grant from Omidyar Network, Yangon-based Phandeeyar has announced the launch of its first tech startup accelerator programme with a seed fund of up to $200,000 that will invest in over half a dozen startups in 2016.

Over the next three years, Phandeeyar is actually looking at investing up to $2 million in startups through the accelerator programme.

Tech hub Phandeeyar, born out of Code for Change Myanmar in 2014, will sprinkle $25,000 in up to eight startups in 2016 and help them scale their business. It will also put together additional support in the form of mentoring from local and overseas strategic partners, a Phandeeyar official said.

“In three years, we are going to invest in 15 to 20 promising tech start ups in Myanmar,” said David Madden, founder and CEO of Phandeeyar.

Phandeeyar will handhold these startups with seed funding, coaching and mentoring, office space, and also help connect them with follow-on investors for additional investments.

“These are the problems that we are going to solve. And we thought that the best way to do this is to launch an accelerator,” said David Madden, founder and CEO of Phandeeyar.

Applications are open starting June 10 until the end of July. The six-month accelerator program begins in September 2016.

“We will take 12 per cent equity in the startups that we take on board. The 12 per cent stake will be in the form of a convertible note. By the time they raise the follow-on funding round, we will change that convertible note into equity,” said Jes Kaliebe Petersen, director at Phandeeyar Accelerator. Petersen will lead the nine-member accelerator team of Phandeeyar.

In August, the shortlisted applicants will be invited to a two-day pitching session where a panel of judges will make the selection.

The chosen startups will then required to register their company in Singapore.

“We know how much talent there is in the startup community in Myanmar. We also understand the challenges they face. So we designed the accelerator programme to help solve some of the critical challenges that the local entrepreneurs are facing as they try to grow their businesses. We’ll get some great start-ups applying to Phandeeyar accelerator, and have great companies coming out of this,” said Madden.

Local mentorship providers include Tun Thura Thet, founder of Myanmar Information Technology; Chaw Khin Khin, CEO of MCC group; Wai Yan Lin, CEO of CarsDB.

Regional leaders like Jeoffrey Paine from Golden Gate Ventures, Singapore; Joseph Ziegler, entrepreneur from Muru-D, an accelerator in Singapore; and Phil Morle, who built and run accelerators throughout the region, will be also among the coaches to provide a global perspective.

Access to a network of investors for a follow-on investment will be provided. “We will make the initial investment. We will introduce them to other investors who could write the next cheques,” said Madden.

During the accelerator programme, strategic partners of Phandeeyar will be chipping in for additional support. Free access to Facebook’s programmes, hosting services from Amazon web services, Microsoft Azure cloud computing platform and services are included in the plan.

IT companies in Myanmar will also provide their expertise to the startups who make it to the accelerator. While Telenor will help with go-to market strategy, Wave Money will assist in developing monetization models. JobNet will help with recruiting strategy while Ogilvy and EduLink will bring in their expertise in marketing and English language training respectively.

Phandeeyar started in 2014 and, to date, has worked on over 100 events including hackathons, meet-ups and workshops to support the tech community.

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