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Startups pitch before investors at SmartScale Demo Day

Jose Rodriguez T. Senase / Khmer Times Share:
Feiruz Ikhwan, CFO of Smart Axiata, speaks to the audience at SmartScale Demo Day yesterday. KT/Siv Channa

Participants of the SmartScale project finally had a chance to make their pitches before investors at Demo Day yesterday.

The event was held at Raintree Cambodia in Phnom Penh.

Demo Day marked the conclusion of the startup accelerator programme, which was held from May to July.

Eleven startups were chosen for the programme: Bongpheak, Buyloy.com, Impact Explorer, DirexPlay, First Womentech Asia, Healthogo, Kokopon, Muuve, RENTKH TECH, BLOC, and Wayhome.

Each presented their business in a 5-minute pitch. After each presentation, the audience was given a chance to ask questions.

Some of the startups are expected to receive follow-up investments from Smart Axiata, Seedstar, and other investors.

Investors at the event included venture capitalists from Cambodia, Malaysia, and Myanmar, among other countries. An official from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) was also in attendance.

The first presentation was given by Phan Phanith, founder and CEO of Muuve, a startup seeking to leave a mark in the local food delivery industry.

Before the presentations, representatives from various ministries, businesses, and organisations delivered addresses on the importance of the SmartScale programme.

SmartScale is an initiative of Mekong Strategic Partners and Seedstar World, with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Smart Axiata.

Its goal is to improve local startups and help them succeed. Participants underwent extensive training to improve their fundraising and business management skills. The training was conducted by a group of 20 international and local mentors.

In his message, Kan Chanmeta, secretary of state at the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, stressed the importance of programmes that nurture young entrepreneurs and said the ministry seeks to support local startups.

Mr Chanmeta then had a piece of advice for startups. “It is a long and challenging journey. But you will succeed if you work hard and believe in yourself.”

Other speakers included Chen Kok Hong, director of the Entrepreneurship Development Fund at the Ministry of Economy and Finance; Feiruz Ikhwan, CFO of Smart Axiata; and Kate Heuisler, chief of party of USAID’s Development Innovations.

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