Seedstars Powers up SmartScale, a New Acceleration Program in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

June 21, 2019

Starting on 2nd May 2019 in Phnom Penh, SmartScale powered by Seedstars gathered 11 early-stage startups in a three-month acceleration program fuelled by 20+ international and local high-level mentors and an ambitious curriculum program. The goal of the initiative is to prepare the participating startups to raise funding while also to provide the opportunity to receive investment from the program partners. With the demo day approaching at the end of July, let’s have a deeper look into the workings of the program.

Startups pitching their business ideas

The program covers topics including how to target customers and identify their pains, growth strategies and implementation of the AARRR funnel, and finally, fundraising strategy, process, cap table and negotiations, all specifically designed using lean and growth methodologies to help startups scale faster and hit their next investment milestone quicker. The format proposes a fresh sequence of sessions, such as dynamic workshops with local and international mentors, dedicated 1:1 meetings with entrepreneurs in residence, exclusive ecosystem dinners, interactive role plays with customer interviews, and allocated help desk times.

1:1 mentor sessions

Unveiling for the first time the participating startups, we’re proud to announce the 11 that we trust to be the next high-growth companies in the region:

  • Bongpheak: Bongpheak is the first job site in Cambodia specialized in low-skilled and unskilled employment.
  • Buyloy.com: Searching for the only trusted online shopping in Cambodia, Buyloy.com is the first option.
  • Impact Explorer: A solution connecting independent travellers to impactful travel experiences, while changing people's lives through tourism.
  • DirexPlay: The startup creates fun mobile games that allow you to express yourself and connect with other players to enjoy the moment of the play experience.
  • First Womentech Asia: a SAAS platform for hospitals aiming at modernizing hospitals and healthcare business operations, quality of healthcare service and license fees.
  • Healthogo: A solution providing cost-effective and patient-demand tools for health providers to acquire new customers and maintain existing customers.
  • Kokopon: Kokopon is a promotional website listing various products and services with a heavy promotion in a limited time and amounts of 50% of the original price.
  • Muuve: A food delivery service with advanced application to ease today’s busy lifestyles and a platform to support local businesses and Cambodians.
  • RENTKH TECH: RENTKH.COM is an online platform for listing and booking property rental. Their strength is stock of thousands of properties & live update.
  • TK Express / Bloc: BLOC is a Cambodian-based consumer goods e-commerce and delivery company founded in 2018 by TK Express. They are not just a delivery company, the team pushes beyond that by bringing your daily life need closer.
  • Wayhome: Wayhome.asia offers easy to use service solutions to tenants, rental owners, and agents seeking residential and office rental support.

Startups at the SmartScale program

The accelerator is also supported by key enablers Development Innovations (DI) and Smart Axiata and jointly operated by Mekong Strategic Partners (MSP) and Seedstars. Bora Kem, Partner at MSP says: “Mentorship and technical support are crucial for a startup’s long-term success. With SmartScale, we will provide startups with experienced local mentors while partnering with Seedstars to deliver the best-in-class global startup program. We hope to facilitate regional interests in Cambodian startups and to bring them to the global stage."

Active discussions during the breaks

“After having had the opportunity to work with a dozen of startups last year in a 3-day bootcamp and a pitch competition, which resulted in Seedstars investing in a local delivery startup called Joonaak, we are excited to be back. While the Cambodian startup ecosystem is nascent, the local founders are exceptionally driven and willing to learn. We are excited to contribute to this ecosystem and to the growth of this batch of startups together with strong local and global partners” states Adriana Collini, Program Manager of SmartScale.

Adriana Collini, Program Manager at SmartScale

Adriana Collini, Program Manager of SmartScale

The end of the program will be marked by a demo day on the 25th of July. This day will not only give investors the opportunity to get to know the startups in SmartScale, but give international players an introduction to the local startup ecosystem and provide connections to all important players in Cambodia - startups, investors, accelerators, corporates and the government.

Would you like to know what is happening in the Cambodian startup ecosystem? Register for the demo day here (Password: smartscale).