Give a Day 12: Challenges and Opportunities of Investing in Cambodian Startups

Entrepreneurial ecosystems
The second Give a Day of 2023, and the 12th one in the series was successfully organized by Khmer Enterprise and Swisscontact on 17th March 2023. The topic for the 12th Give A Day was Challenges and Opportunities of Investing in Cambodian Startups.   

The keynote was delivered by Mr. Vannarath Vicheth, the Investment Director at OBOR Capital to discuss the challenges faced by investors when investing in startups, as well as what startups need to prepare for when seeking investments. The gathering was held at the Khmer Enterprises office in the Business Development Center (BDC) and was attended by over 50 of Cambodia’s leading stakeholders in the startup scene.  

Some of the key takeaways from the event were: 

  • The Mekong region, consisting of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, has seen impressive economic growth over the past decade, with a 6.6% GDP compound annual growth rate.
  • According to the participants, one of the most significant challenges facing investors is the lack of IT (Information Technology) capabilities within start-up teams. Cambodia is still developing its IT infrastructure, and not all start-up teams have the necessary technical expertise to develop and deploy technology-based products or services. To overcome this challenge, investors can look for teams with technical experience and offer to mentor them to enhance their IT capabilities.
  • Another common challenge is an overly high expectation of valuation. Many start-ups in Cambodia have inflated valuations, which can lead to unrealistic expectations from investors. This can result in deals falling through, as investors are unwilling to pay the asking price.
  • Market fit, unclear growth strategies and incorrect business model are critical challenges facing investors.
  • To know more about Obor Capital, you can visit the website.

The event was covered by the following media: 

Entrepreneurial ecosystems
Enhancing Entrepreneurial Ecosystem and Investments (3Ei)
The overall goal of the 3Ei is for the private sector to actively contribute to the Cambodia's socio-economic development and attaining the goals of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The achievement of this overall goal will be driven by two outcomes: enhanced coordination, and collaboration within the entrepreneurial ecosystem; and increased business performance and investments in the ecosystem.