Singapore: Spout eyes expansion in Myanmar after closing $2.1m seed funding

Singapore-based Spout Entertainment Group plans to launch an e-education app in Myanmar to grow its presence in the market. The expansion will be supported by funds it raised from venture builder REAPRA in a S$3 million ($2.1 million) seed round.

Spout on Tuesday announced that it has closed the seed round funding and invest the proceeds to expand to emerging markets such as Myanmar. The media company has also set aside up to S$835,000 ($600,000) to provide free education resources to the local community, it said in an official statement.

The e-education app for Myanmar, called CITE because of its stated mandate to Connect Individuals Through Education, is expected to be launched by the end of June.

“As more global companies enter Myanmar and face a shortage of skilled labour, our vision is focused on uplifting the local community’s accessibility to education, and help families enjoy a better livelihood where they can become more affluent and knowledgeable,” said Spout founder and CEO Daryl Teo during an interaction with DEALSTREETASIA.

Teo is a former vice-president at TheMobileGamer, in which SingTel and Japanese telco SoftBank had picked up about 41 percent stake each in 2012.

Initially, all the app content will be available for free to users. Spout plans to introduce premium content at a later stage.

“We want our users to be able to pick up practical and relevant skills through CITE. Later on, we will also have premium content, but the content will be very affordable,” said Chester Mark, head of corporate strategy at Spout Entertainment Group. Mark leads Spout’s push into Myanmar. He brings on board regional and local expertise acquired from previous experiences including with Yoma Bank in Myanmar.

The app will focus on two key segments — individual learners and employers — in Myanmar. Companies will be approached to take interns/full-time hires from the CITE program.

Spout will be the first of REAPRA portfolio companies to foray into Myanmar. The free online education tool is also planned to be launched in the Philippines.

Teo said Spout has already launched a news aggregator www.SpoutNow.com in the Myanmar market aimed at providing free current affairs coverage. It now plans to grow the platform “to raise awareness on personal well-being and health knowledge”.

Spout runs a slew of companies, including Spout360.com, a one-stop shop for gaming and eSports coverage; SpoutAgency.com, an e-sports influencer management agency that helps teams and athletes get brand sponsorships; and gaming stadium Spout Arena.

The media firm also announced the acquisition of Zaany Technologies, a venture arm with a portfolio of corporate clients including Grab, traditional conglomerates like Filtermist and private institutions like ACCA.

The firm is looking to use Zaany’s expertise in designing mobile apps to build a live-streaming portal for e-sports influencers, to better connect with their fans and a possible 10-second advertisements.

REAPRA is targeting to invest up to $46.6 million in Southeast Asia and Japan in 2017 with an aim to be a $2 billion industry builder company by the next decade.

Its latest investment was in Newlegacy Hospitality, an operator of Kokotel hotel chain, with an injection of $2.8 million.

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