Oknha Rithy Sear, Chairman of Cambodian logistics and real-estate developer company Worldbridge Group, on Tuesday announced the launch of venture capital firm OOCTANE in Phnom Penh.
Currently in the process of completing its registration process, the firm aims to invest in local and international entrepreneurs in Cambodia who had the potential to “transform Cambodia into a digital powerhouse of the future.”
OOCTANE is also set to launch its first fund, the Cambodia Startup Fund. Sear will be the lead investor in the fund with a US$5 million investment; the fund is also in talks with other potential investors.
The firm will invest in startups in the fields of mobility, logistics, e-commerce, fintech, agritech, edutech, healthtech, and tourism.
Individual investments from the fund will start from US$5,000 to US$10,000 per investment for startups in the initial ideation stages. For startups which have at least a minimum viable product, funding will be available from US$25,000 per company.
In a press statement, OOCTANE named lack of mentorship and early stage capital as the challenges faced by the local startup community.
“There is no lack of innovative ideas and entrepreneurial spirit in Cambodia. For us, launching OOCTANE is the natural next step of progression in bringing about a radical shift in perspective among a new breed of Cambodian entrepreneurs who often lament the lack of venture capital in this country. A number of young projects do not make it beyond the critical first year, or they decide to try their luck abroad due to lack of suitable funding locally,” Sear said.
“We are here to make sure that there is sufficient venture capital available for promoting innovative new startups and jumpstarting Cambodia into the digital century. In general, we are looking for cutting edge projects in the STEAM domains – science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics,” he added.
In addition to funding, OOCTANE will also provide its startups with a mentorship programme that will offer insights in marketing, public relations, and legal advisory, leveraging on the firm’s networks.
The firm also aims to seek partnership with incubators and accelerators.
In Cambodia, one of the most recent funding announcement by a local startup is an undisclosed six-digit seed funding round for proptech startup KhmerHome, led by 500 Startups.