A business set up by Cambodians for Cambodia

Cambodia’s longest-running logistics service provider, WorldBridge Group, has launched its $5m venture capital fund Ooctane to help local companies get off the ground. Fresh startups could see investments from the firm of up to $10,000, while those with a viable product ready could get $25,000. Southeast Asia Globe caught up with the group’s chairman and the new VC’s leading investor, Rithy Sear, to talk about the impact the firm hopes to make on the Kingdom

Janelle Retka
August 21, 2018
A business set up by Cambodians for Cambodia
Rithy Sear, leading investor in Ooctance venture capital fund Photo: Sam Jam

Tell us about Ooctane and its plans…
Ooctane is a venture capital fund set up by Cambodians for Cambodia. We aim to invest in startups launched in Cambodia. We are also looking at exciting startups launched by overseas Cambodians. Ooctane will start with investing in early-stage startups, but we are open to looking at startups in all stages of growth. We plan to bring not just money but [also] mentorship to the startups we invest in.

Why is this venture capital fund important to Cambodia, and why now?
Ooctane is our vote of confidence in the future of Cambodia and Cambodians. Over the last few years, we have observed many more Cambodians taking the plunge into entrepreneurship. We have also met more and more entrepreneurs, Cambodians and foreigners alike, who want to launch their startups here… Ooctane wants to be part of this exciting transformation of the Cambodian economy. We want to partner [with] these entrepreneurs in their bets on the long-term future of Cambodia.

Are there incubator or accelerator programmes Ooctane hopes to partner with in the future?
Ooctane is currently in talks with several incubators, accelerators and co-working space operators to explore collaboration opportunities. We are also in talks with other venture capital firms to explore opportunities for co-investments in Cambodian startups.

How do you see this organisation growing or changing in the future?
Ooctane takes a long-term view when it comes to our investments. We think that Cambodia is at an inflexion point where technology will fundamentally change a lot of things here in Cambodia. We see a lot of Cambodians, young and not so young, embracing all kinds of disruptive technologies. And some of these Cambodians have even started to create interesting technologies and launch exciting startups. Ooctane wants to be the fuel that will power this explosive growth.

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