A new startup company that mentors local tourism companies throughout the Mekong sub region has recently completed their first full year of operation. Mekong Innovative Startup Tourism (MIST) is a statup accelerator that was born from a joint venture idea between the Mekong Business Initiative (MBI) and the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office.
MIST has just announced that 4 startups in the region are to receive grants of $31,000 between them. In a recent interview, Dominic Mellor, senior economist at MBI, explained that MIST group is in a unique position where it can help startup companies attract investment and forge solid strategic partnerships in the region.
He went on to say that there are destinations in the Mekong region which are excellent locations to host conferences and events due to the vast natural beauty in the areas, and the ease of connectivity between major hubs such as Singapore, Bangkok and Hong Kong.
“There is a lot of potential for technology companies to attract more corporates to come to this region by making it easier to do logistics.”
Some of MIST’s associates include Gobi Partners, the venture capital company and Amadeus Next, a subsidiary of Euro travel IT Company Amadeus which was set up in the Asia-Pacific region as a dedicated accelerator.
Mekong Angel Investment Network
Another new company that launched in June this year is the Mekong Angel Investment Network (MAIN). The aim of MAIN is to get as many as 1,000 angel investors to the Mekong region to tap into the vibrant ecosystem of entrepreneurship.
The aim is to start the angel investment program within 5 years, said David Beatty, an investor under the MAIN network who is also a member of the US Investment firm “Golden Seeds”.
David goes on to say that there are vast opportunities in the region and a lot of startups that need help. “There is no time to waste” he quotes. Due to the regions rapid growth investors are bullish about the opportunities and the high returns on investment that they believe they can make.
Already, a few startups have received funding since MAIN launched 3 months ago. This includes a company in Cambodia who has been offered $100,000 from 5 investors and an online bus ticket company in Phnom Penh called Bookmebus which has received a large investment from a total of 12 investors.
However, there is still a struggle to find investable startups in the region that have a solid team with experience and, more importantly, great ideas.