Yangon tech lab Phandeeyar says it will invest in the country’s most promising start-ups after news broke this week that it had been awarded $2 million from philanthropic firm Omidyar Network.
The same company, founded by eBay creator Pierre Omidyar, gave Phandeeyar its $400,000 seed backing in 2014. Since then, the downtown center has become a space for entrepreneurs and digital media types, hosting regular hackathons and panel talks.
“Phandeeyar believes that there is this incredible opportunity for Myanmar to leapfrog the digital economy,” said David Madden, Phandeeyar CEO, yesterday in an interview with the Myanmar Times. “This investment is about making a really, really concerted effort to ensure that digital leapfrog actually happens.”
Myanmar’s population of 51 million has suddenly come online, mostly through mobile devices, after the entrance of foreign telcos on the market in 2014.
“With this Omidyar investment, we’re going to be able to invest money into the most promising tech start-ups in the country,” Madden said.
Awardees will be given mentors and coaching, he said.
The lab also plans an entrepreneurship program and grants for civic and social entrepreneurs.