Phandeeyar to bankroll 7 local tech startups in latest funding round

By SEAN GLEESON | FRONTIER

YANGON — Phandeeyar has made a funding commitment to seven more local start-ups as part of its Accelerator incubator program, following major investments in alumni from the tech hub’s first cohort earlier this year.

The seven successful applicants, chosen from a pool of 48 start-ups by a judging panel drawn from Yangon’s tech community, will receive a US$25,000 seed injection, access to services and six months of mentorship from local and international experts.

Participating in the second cohort are Mandalay-based food delivery app Shwe Bite, recyclable waste collection venture RecyGlo, and a raft of logistics, music streaming, health and education start-ups.

“Today, we’re proud to say that Phandeeyar Accelerator continues to be the most prolific investor in Myanmar’s tech and innovation ecosystem,” said Phandeeyar chief executive Mr. Jes Kaliebe Petersen in a statement this week. “The growing demand to start tech startups here in Myanmar is increasing in parallel with a booming interest from local and international firms to invest in local tech startups.”

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Phandeeyar received a $2 million grant last year to underwrite the Accelerator program from the Omidyar Network, a philanthropic venture by eBay founder and media proprietor Pierre Omidyar.

Two members of the program’s first cohort, which started last September, have since accepted major funding offers.

Digital comic platform White Merak raised $140,000 from five Myanmar investors in July in return for a 23 percent equity stake, valuing the start-up at $600,000.

The same month, freelance work platform Chate Sat received a six-figure funding injection from two Singaporean investment firms and an unnamed local investor, along with pledges for future funding rounds.

Vishal Harnal, general partner at the California-based venture capital fund 500 Startups, said the local tech scene was benefitting from “a new wave of tech entrepreneurs ready to help Myanmar leapfrog into a digital economy.”

“It isn’t surprising that VCs are already starting to take notice of startups here,” he said.

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