The US-based San Francisco venture capital firm 500 Startups will bring its world-class startup programming to Cambodia to help drive the formation and scale of technology-driven startups in the Kingdom.
In partnership with Khmer Enterprise, the firm is launching Angkor 500 to support relevant entrepreneurs and prepare for regional expansion. Over the initial two-year partnership, 500 Startups will conduct a range of programmes to accelerate the development of the Cambodia business ecosystem.
They will bring together founders from throughout the country to form teams and technology companies. The globalisation bootcamps are designed to improve the readiness of Cambodian startups for engagement with international markets and investors. International showcases will raise the global profile of the Cambodia ecosystem by connecting startups to key industry stakeholders and corporate partners.
With the support of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Khmer Enterprise and 500 Startups will work together to build projects from ideation to investment readiness, said Chhieng Vanmunin, chief executive officer (CEO) of Khmer Enterprise.
“It’s expected that this programme will successfully lift Cambodian startups’ profile for international investment. It is time to start local, scale to regional and engage with global,” said Vanmunin.
“Khmer Enterprise has already made significant progress in helping local entrepreneurs start and scale businesses that will contribute to Cambodia’s economy. Despite the obstacles created by COVID-19,” Vanmunin said.
He added that Khmer Enterprise and 500 Startups are united in the belief that the present moment offers a critical opportunity to invest in the next generation of startup founders. This partnership shows the commitment of Khmer Enterprise and 500 Startups in bringing expertise and experience to the ecosystem.
Amid profound challenges throughout the world, 500 Startups is grateful to partner with Khmer Enterprise to advance our mission of uplifting people and economies around the world through entrepreneurship, said Christine Tsai, CEO and founding partner of 500 Startups.
“Cambodia’s economy and talent are at an inflection point for rapid growth and we are confident that this programme will help local founders build strong companies that will push the boundaries of what is possible,” Tsai added.
Vongsey Vissoth, secretary of state of the Ministry of Economy and Finance as well as chairman of the Entrepreneurship Development Fund, highlighted that this programme will ignite Cambodia’s vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem with a broader base of digital enterprises, despite operational challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the programme is intended to serve as a gateway for business founders to gear themselves up for the tech industry and entrepreneurs will be able to plug into regional startups ecosystems.
“This is one of the implementation plans of the royal government of Cambodia as articulated in Rectangular Strategy phase IV to accelerate a healthy environment for SMEs [small and medium enterprises] and innovative startups to become much more competitive when moving to the digital economy,” he said.
Since its inception in Silicon Valley, 500 Startups has invested in more than 2,300 companies via its five global funds and 15 thematic funds dedicated to either specific geographic markets or verticals. Its 100+ team members are located in 20 countries around the world in order to support the 500 Startups global portfolio of investments which spans more than 75 countries. Notable investments in the 500 portfolio include Credit Karma, Twilio, Canva, Grab, Bukalapak, The RealReal, Talkdesk, Knotel, Udemy, and Ipsy. Beyond providing seed capital, 500 supports startups via their Seed Accelerator Programmes which emphasise digital marketing, customer acquisition, lean startup practices and fundraising for pre-Seed companies. 500 Startups further contributes to the development of innovation ecosystems by supporting startups and investors through educational programmes, events, conferences and partnerships with corporations and governments around the world.