UMG Idealab invests in Myanmar’s Zay Chin, Indonesia’s Moodco

UMG Idealab, the early-stage venture capital arm of Myanmar trade conglomerate UMG Group, has added two new companies to its portfolio after closing investments in Yangon-based online grocery delivery startup Zay Chin and Indonesian chocolate-maker Moodco last month.

The VC firm did not disclose the size of the investments but said both were seed-stage deals. Prior to these transactions, the firm had closed three early-stage deals this year.

Zay Chin is focused on the wet markets, from where over 90 percent of people in Myanmar buy daily cooking needs and groceries from. The Zay Chin app enables people to purchase goods from these markets online.

“Our decision to partner with Zay Chin will allow us to further expand our presence in the country’s growing digital business sector that will benefit its people,” said UMG Idealab founder and executive chairman Kiwi Aliwarga in a press statement on Wednesday.

The investment from UMG Idealab counts as the company’s first external capital injection and will be used to fuel the company’s growth.

“Zay Chin will utilise the capital for regional expansion, operational upgrades and technological enhancement to deliver a better shopping experience for customers,” its founder and CEO Kyaw Kyaw told DealStreetAsia.

Meanwhile, Surabaya-based Moodco, which operates in the chocolate and coffee processing industry, is developing its chocolate bar product that goes by the same brand.

Moodco CEO Anton Sukamto said that the company is still very early in its development and plans to launch its product in early 2021.

The company seeks to fill the gap in the chocolate-making industry in Indonesia, a market that has few local players despite the country being one of the largest cocoa producers in the world.

For UMG Idealab, which partly also operates as a venture builder, the two new investments add to the 60 plus companies it has backed across Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia and China.

This year, it has injected capital into two of its venture build startups Widya LifeScience and FoodTx, as well as one undisclosed independent company.

UMG Idealab, which currently draws its fund from the balance sheet of UMG Group, cuts checks between $50,000 and $1 million per deal and invests in the pre-seed to pre-Series A stage.

In a recent interview, UMG Idealab says it has started to make initial preparations towards launching its debut venture fund. The vehicle is targeting to raise a corpus of around $100 million to support some of its existing portfolio companies that will be ready to hit the growth stage in a few years.

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.