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Startup Waters 101

“What could investment have been really meant for the startups before it was cool in Myanmar?”

Four years ago. Facebook to me was English with less Burmese contents, and information sending locals abroad scrumming for updates about what’s happening back home. Tech community presumed imaginary as nothing much really happened yet.

This is what we thought or at least some people assumed. The fact though is that, some startups or startup enthusiasts had already been cooking up starters to bring it to the table, or at least it’s been in the plan of masterminds or adventurers. They made plans to secure seeds funding, some cashing-out from corporate job savings. It seemed like an all-out plan to venture towards the startup enthusiasts. The Big question mark now, was it worth it?

Pay-off time is still nowhere near for many of the startups. Tiny portions compared to the regional level of inspiration. However this is too much to ask for as an entry level or frontier markets. It’s all about tractions and building viable products or super cool tech platforms alongside major publicity. Few of topnotch startups raised impressive round of investments from international patrons and angels mostly. Earliest folks to attract the investments are- online marketplaces, classified listing web platforms, brand PR & social media marketing pioneers and first-tapped mobile app startups, during the birth of Myanmar Startups.

Moving on to 2016, few contexts lined up probably most remarkable compacts – Oway by IFC, Bindez by 500 startups, Star Ticket by BOD Tech, Phandeeyar by Omidyar Network. Totalling around USD 7 million summed up. However, it was still all hurdles for international investors to chip in on every possible playground. Presenting the three blind mice (setbacks); company laws, investment laws and banking laws.

Despite the setbacks 2017 was welcomed with early fresh round of investment for two more local startups. Globalways backed Code2lab half a million and Shweproperty.com secured Myanmar first ever Seven-digits Series A round. With that in mind, the water has been supplied still good for the startups community here. Sustainable or not there are more and more startups pouring into the hood noticeably.

“It’s important that startup should think carefully about the ultimate solutions for the market avoiding mainstream business model. Currently, there are only few capable to crack the pain-point of customers out there”. Ko Ravi, commented on recent startup competitions.

Myanmar Startup scene’s patron David Madden, whose organisation made a large number of workshops and events for startup community pointed out in general to the needs of sustainable innovative ideas to have innovative economy or an idea based economy and bringing better education to have a good understanding of what’s going on with the businesses around.

Do startups need investment to keep it alive- or go lean and sustain the business- what would be the best for them?

The question remains whether it is of a good idea to start a tech startup with the pain recognition of no immediate revenue or services that probably bring less innovation but sustainable for the entrepreneurs, the answer would remains a mystery to some extents. The fountain of water may keep flowing for the startups in Myanmar just enough to survive at the moment. Going LEAN might not work anymore or else!

Should Startups consider revenue generating business model? Are those fancy startups raised loads of cash doing good now? Will they bring impressive culture or not?

Will the startups need to consider investment oriented business model? How are those tech startups doing these days after raising millions of dollar? Will they build their own big empire in Myanmar near future? Really soon? These are the questions current and future startups will have to think about in order to sustain themselves.

“Today is cruel. Tomorrow is crueler. And the Day after tomorrow is beautiful”.

-Jack Ma

“Water is Essential”

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