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Morakot Technology’s CEO Khuon Sophorth is very proud of his company. As Cambodia’s premier all-in-one tech solution for Cambodian financial institutions, his software offers an efficient and inexpensive tool with which companies can work with. It was recently selected as one of the first three digital start-ups to receive coveted investment funding under the $5 million Smart Axiata Digital Innovation Fund (SADIF).
In 2014, Mr Soporth and two friends devised Morakot Technology, a core banking system platform for banks and microfinance institutions (MFIs), to fill a gap they had noticed in the existing market.
Mr Sophorth’s extensive background working with MFIs and as an IT manager for one of the kingdom’s major credit lenders, enabled him to see first-hand how Cambodian companies were hindered by the existing software solutions.
“We were using software which costs over a million dollars,” Mr Sophorth said. “Not only was it expensive, but it took many years to implement it. I wanted to create another option – an alternative built for Cambodia and other developing markets.”
Among the numerous services offered by Morakot are customer management tools, deposit, loan and teller functions, accounting and reporting tools, system administration and more. They currently have 26 clients and the company’s steady growth is encouraging for the future.
“We designed our product for microfinance so that implementations of the standard package are much quicker than international solutions. We can do around two a month at the moment, and with more capacity, we are sure to increase in scale,” Mr Sophorth explained.
This simplicity comes largely from Morakot’s foundation that is built as an entirely cloud-based tool; it is able to offer its services through a traditional web browser with no additional hardware or software installation required. Deployment is thus a very simple process. Mr Sophorth said this is one of the strengths of Morakot in comparison to its often much more expensive competitors, where he claimed that only five percent of financial institutions in countries like Cambodia can afford such expensive core banking systems. Many have instead turned to simple solutions and stopgaps like Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and paper-based bookkeeping.
For Mr Sophorth and his small team, SADIF’s backing will play a crucial role in helping take his platform to the next stage of growth – an international presence.
“We are looking at other markets that can benefit from our product and we are targeting both Indonesia and especially Myanmar for the short-term,” he said.
“They are more than 200 MFIs in Myanmar and it is very similar to Cambodia in terms of how they work and the regulations which oversee them. As the Myanmar market continues to be liberalised, so will its regulations,” he noted.
“For us, it is a good opportunity to try and move into Myanmar while having other markets like Philippines and Indonesia in the pipeline. And for that to succeed, SADIF funding and support will be essential. The world-class mentoring is something we are very interested in. We hope that growing our team and capacity as we seek international growth will come in tandem with funding from SADIF.”
More Cambodian-based digital and tech companies will receive SADIF funding at the range of $25,000 to $500,000 over the next five years. SADIF was devised by Smart in partnership with investment and advisory firm Mekong Strategic Partners, with Forte Insurance recently introduced as co-investor.
For Smart Axiata’s CEO Thomas Hundt, Morakot fits well with SADIF’s vision and objectives within Cambodia’s tech innovation scene: “I have been impressed with Morakot since they began. Their solution provides an innovative and truly beneficial service to financial institutions in Cambodia. I am very pleased that they have decided to be part of SADIF’s portfolio of companies.”
“With their plans to take their product and solution to other countries in Asia, it is a very exciting time, and I look forward seeing them grow and develop even more,” Mr Hundt added.
Kem Bora, Investment Manager at Mekong Strategic Partners, said venture financing from SADIF is crucial in the growth of Morakot. He was keen to stress that companies can take advantage not only of the financial investment but also personalised and experienced advice on strategy, governance and business development from the SADIF partners.
“Morakot, Aniwaa and Joonaak will be able to benefit from the networks and resources of Smart, Mekong Strategic Partners and Forte, that would not have been available without SADIF. This is something I am sure they will take full advantage of as they realise their future expansion plans,” Mr Bora said.
For more information on and updates on SADIF, follow the “Smart for Cambodia” Facebook page at www.facebook.com/smartforcambodia or visit https://sadif.com.kh