The Real Slim Shady in Cambodia
We figured out of all things RAP is what could help us spread the word 😃 (thanks Eminem!)
When we created our Slash engineering office in Phnom Penh in 2017, it came to a surprise for some. People don’t understand Cambodian tech.
Below is the result. Startup Rap Cambodia — a social project to invite the world to engage with the Cambodian tech scene.
Why Did We Choose Cambodia?
We ended up in Cambodia by coincidence. When Marc and I set out to build our first venture product with Slash mid 2016, a payment abstraction layer that we eventually sold to a global insurer — we subcontracted some of the work overseas. Singapore is an expensive place to build products.
The best results came from a small team of developers in Cambodia, running a dev shop called Flexitech. The quality was amazing. We’d have struggled finding this level in Singapore regardless of price.
The culture and values were right. Fast forward and we ended up joining hands and seeding our Slash engineering office in Phnom Penh with the Flexitech team, to great success.
Its only later that we started seriously looking at the macro picture of the Cambodian tech scene, and got even more excited.
The Cambodia Tech Community Today
When you think of the country of Cambodia, what comes to mind are factories and temples — but, generally not technology — until now.
Yet, this frontier market is home to a young and dynamic startup scene, bustling with activity, and a few hundred startups.
The last few years have seen a rapid growth in co-working spaces, makerspaces, hackathons and tech events to support the tech community. Business angels are starting to invest, local tech portals have emerged and the first corporate VC funds and incubators are setup.
What is needed are more platforms and tools, expertise, capital and opportunities to help Cambodia reach its potential.
The 4 Magic Bullet Points
Why partner or work with Cambodia?
Raw STEM Talent
The community is upskilling fast. The tech talent is hungry to try new ideas, has humility and no sense of entitlement. It is a refreshing feeling coming from more developed markets.
60 percent of the population is below 29 years. 94 percent of Cambodians own a phone. The urban population is “digital native,” with access to 4.5G networks. Also keep in mind that 43 percent of the population is on Facebook using their mobile phone.
Gateway to ASEAN
Cambodia is a cost-effective gateway to ASEAN. Most of the ASEAN region can be reached within two hour flight. The economy is dollar-ized and the companies can be 100 percent foreign owned.
As a frontier market that is unconstrained by many legacy infrastructure, there is less friction to adopt new solutions and services.
Startup Rap Cambodia
Some of the best rappers in Cambodia, 35 tech companies, a kickass film crew, nine months of work and hundred hours of filming.
What a passion and spirit of collaboration in the tech community in Phnom Penh.
We are proud to be a part of it with Slash!
Spread the word:
For more info on the initiative and participants: www.startuprap.org
Startup Rap is an initiative by Slash (http://www.slash.co), AI and Blockchain startup studio, with an engineering team in Phnom Penh and Bali, and an HQ in Singapore.
Our engineering team in Phnom Penh splits their time between building our own venture products and helping enterprise and funded startup clients develop their products (web, mobile, OCR, algorithmic, AI, Blockchain).