Oway Group last week received $7 million in fresh funds from Mekong-focused private equity firm Belt Road Capital Management (BRCM), which is headquartered in Cambodia.
The online travel service provider, which is founded by local entrepreneur Nay Aung, operates the mobile taxi-hailing service Oway Ride as well as oway.com.mm, Myanmar’s largest online travel portal.
The deal, BRCM’s second investment in the region, is part of a $14.7 million funding round which included Japanese multinational business conglomerate Daiwa and the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
It also comes after the mobile ride hailing app Grab bought a 27.5 percent stake in rival Uber, giving the lion’s share of the Yangon market.
Asked about Oway’s concerns over the rising competition, Alex Odom, Chief Investment Officer of BRCM said: “Oway has a great management team, a leading market position in the online travel space and unique accessibility to the local transport scene.”
He added that “on top of unique local knowledge, we believe new regulations will give a comparative advantage to locally-run and operated companies, more so than foreign counterparts.”
Oway Group last raised a $10 million round in 2016 from investors including Northstar Group, Emerging Markets Investment Advisers Pte Ltd (EMIA) and the IFC.
BRCM partners with promising small and medium enterprises to facilitate sustainable growth and expand access to new markets.
The firm’s first Mekong-focused investment took place in January, when it injected A$2.25 million in Digital Classifieds Group (DCG), an Australia-based online classifieds business which has launched online portals in Cambodia and Laos.
“Myanmar is undoubtedly an exciting market to settle our second deal. We are glad at the opportunity to invest in Oway and given its leading market position in the online travel space and unique accessibility to the local transport scene, we are confident in the Company‘s future” said Mr Odom.
“Rapid internet penetration is an obvious advantage, however one of the main challenges remains in digital payment solutions. Myanmar is so far as one of the least developed financial systems in Southeast Asia and needs to continue to develop its financial infrastructure in order to maximise full potential,” Mr Odom added.
Source: Myanmar Times