Myanmar Online Creations (MOC), one of the country’s first online publishers which provides local content recently announced that venture capital firm BOD Tech has joined its six-digit Series A round closed earlier this month.
The deal was finalized in mid-June, and others who participated in the round include Yangon-based financial advisory firm Trust Venture Partners, and Thaung Su Nyein, the CEO of Information Matrix which produces the 7 Day Journal.
MOC said that the capital from the Series A is intended for its plan to launch up to 10 applications and to set up a broader business plan for 2018.
In fact, the startup already owns five local platforms and applications launched to date since February 2017. These include Onlyinburma.com, a Burmese content portal for the locals in Yangon and Lolburma.com, a social media content platform which allows users to upload funny videos and pictures.
The remaining three sites are Langyaung.com, a business directory listing page which includes accurate GPS mapping for all local businesses; serious dating site Phoosar.com; and ezdin-gar.com, a billing payment system based on QR codes.
“We feel a great synergy and opportunity between the current content and technology of the properties within the BOD portfolio and MOC’s current 5 online sites,” said Win Ohn, the Founder and CEO of Myanmar Online Creations.
Meanwhile, BOD Tech owns flymya.com – a one-stop platform for flight and travel bookings. Aside from MOC, the company has also backed a number of tech-based startups including shopmyar.com, Yangondoor2door, Laundary.com.mm and Star Ticket.
Mike Than Tun Win, the Founder of BOD Technology Company said, “We will be contributing our content and do cross products partnership with MOC products.”
VR entertainment technology startup Havson Group has closed funding from Silicon Valley-based venture capital seed fund and accelerator, 500 Startups. Producing unique VR content and using advanced VR technology that solves problems of motion sickness and latency, Havson Group has recognised the booming virtual reality industry in Southeast Asia and generated early interest from global players.
Pioneering the introduction of VR in the region, Havson Group recently launched EXA Outpost, a first of its kind hyper-reality development studio based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where players leave reality behind and immerse themselves in a first-person experience that puts players in the middle of a dimension exploration.
EXA Outpost 1 located at SetiaWalk Puchong
EXA Outpost: Mission Room
EXA Outpost: Angkas Zone
Backed by a team that has deep-seated knowledge of the industry, Havson Group has been no stranger to the world of gaming. Starting off as Mediasoft, the team has developed some of the top mobile games in the world including the badminton game Jump Smash and the world’s first sepak takraw game Roll Spike that saw more than 10 million downloads.
The founders of Havson Group of companies (Left) Rayson Wong; (Right) Havene Liew
Cementing its track record to date, Havson Group participated and subsequently won the Alibaba CACSC competition held in Singapore in August 2016 emerging as a Champion against 12 other startups from the region. And becomes Merit winner of global final in Hangzhou, China. Havson Group’s unique advantage comes from its VR solution enabling players to move freely in a large space without motion sickness.
Havson Group – Champion of Singapore Division, CACSC 2016
“Through the Alibaba CACSC competition, we managed to prove to the world that we are an emerging global tech company solving real gaming problems.” said Kee Saik Meng, Founding Partner of Havson Group.
Havson Group – Merit Winner of Global Final, CACSC 2016
Havson Group was also the first Malaysian startup showcasing their VR content at the Silicon Valley VR Expo in San Jose.
Even though well known on the international gaming scene, the problems Havson Group sought to address with their tech solutions were more regional. Bringing the VR industry to Southeast Asia, Havson Group saw its many advantages for the market including drawing traffic to dying malls.
“Our VR Parks provides a solution for mall operators wanting to attract footfall, especially from millennials, and provides a gaming experience unlike any other VR multiplayer has done.” said Havene Liew, Founder of Havson Group.
A burning passion for improving and growing the Malaysian games industry drove former film director and game design lecturer Havene to initially kickstart Mediasoft Entertainment in 2012 together with another founder Rayson Wong. During his time as a lecturer, Havene saw numerous young talented individuals leaving the country to seek opportunities overseas or quit the gaming industry altogether due to a lack of opportunities.
Taking matters into their own hands, Havene and Rayson wanted to create those very opportunities, develop those talents and contribute back to the local gaming ecosystem. This passion for talent development saw Mediasoft winning the best employer award in 2015 awarded by KWSP Malaysia.
No stranger to virtual worlds, Kee who has extensive experience in film and games, elaborates on Havson’s insights, “We see this market growing very rapidly in the next few quarters. Besides the growing consumer demand for richer VR experience via malls, we see Hollywood studios and big game companies with IPs entering this space, and, naturally, they are looking for strategic partners to work with.”
This market demand sees Havson Group joining other major competitive players around the world in capturing the global market share. These competitors include The Void, a Hyper-Reality experience gaming centre based in Utah, New York and Dubai. Zero Latency is another immersive VR studio based in Melbourne, Australia which received a total of USD9.5M to date in seed and venture funding from Carthona Capital.
Other players include Dreamscape Immersive which plans to open a VR Multiplex in Los Angeles later this year. Dreamscape has raised USD11M in funding in a round led by Bold Capital. Imax too, has said it plans to open six VR centers in partnership with AMC Theaters and Regal Entertainment, and additional centers planned for Britain and China as well as projects in Japan, the Middle East and Western Europe.
With competition mounting globally in the US, Australia and other parts of Asia, Havson Group’s years of gaming experience and understanding of the Southeast Asian and other regional markets is what they see as their first movers competitive edge.
Others have seen it too with demands for partnerships increasing. Havson Group has already signed partnerships in Pakistan and ShenZhen, China and are currently in discussion with numerous major theme parks and resorts across the region. With interest in VR mounting, Havson Group plans to cement its hold within the region, ahead of the competition.
Managing Partner of 500 Startups, Khailee Ng said that investing in Havson Group was not only in line with their goal to recognize promising startups in Southeast Asia and assist them in growing on a global level, Khailee injects that Havson Group is one of the corporations that has the potential of fast pace growth with the help of technology.
“Having invested in 1,700 Startups in over 60 countries, we’ve built an international platform for startups like Havson to rapidly enter multiple markets at speed. Their business model involves malls paying upfront for rollouts, and generates ongoing profit share. It’s a very capital efficient way to build a global business. Just the kind of business we like!” said Khailee.
With future plans involving Southeast Asia, China and the US, Havson Group of companies is strongly focused on the booming VR market.
“We have the right talented individuals who are brave for new challenges, we can have the right technology along with the skilled software to create a product on par, we have the resources that can push us far, it is undeniable that Havson has the track record that can create another new height,” added Rayson Wong, Founding Partner of Havson Group.
About Havson Group: Havson Group builds VR contents and provides VR tech solutions to FEC, theme parks and shopping malls.
International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group is making an equity investment up to US$25 million in North Haven Thai Private Equity L.P.
IFC said the private equity fund is looking to raise up to US$300 million in total commitments, and the company will not hold more than 20 percent of the Thai investment vehicle.
Managed by Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia Inc, North Haven Thai Private Equity is a newly-formed PE fund with an initial 10-year term.
The fund targets mid-market companies with significant operations in Thailand and is jointly led by two co-heads Eric Ma and Chong Toh.
Last October, Morgan Stanley’s North Haven Private Equity Asia Angel made its first Thai investment by acquiring a 25.63 percent stake in baby-and-adult diaper maker DSG International.
“We believe that the Thai market overall is one of the most attractive markets with positive long-term potential,” said Kingsley Chan, the managing director of Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia.
Renewable energy developer and infrastructure investor Equis Energy is looking to sell its entire India portfolio after a strategic review of its renewable energy portfolio in Asia.
The portfolio is made of two green energy platform, Energon and Energon Soleq, which amounts to almost a gigawatt of wind and solar energy installations.
Energon has 414 megawatts of operating assets which focus on wind power projects, while Energon Soleq works in the solar sector and is developing projects totaling 260 megawatts in Telangana and Karnataka.
Besides, Equis Energy has another 300 megawatts of capacity under development which is also up for sale.
“Equis Fund has put up Energon and Energon Soleq for sale. It is seeing a lot of interest. The exercise is underway as part of their Asia portfolio strategy with them planning to run an auction process,” said a source from Livemint who requested anonymity.
Another source confirmed the development and also adds that there are several firms who expressed interest in Equis’ assets.
The plan to sell is a result of the growing consolidation in India’s green energy sector as well as the declining energy tariffs which bring a concern to the uphold of electricity offtake commitments.
Established in 2012, Equis Energy has 4.7 gigawatts of renewable energy generation assets across Asia-Pacific, with an additional 6.3 gigawatts under development in Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Thailand.
The clean energy firm has earlier appointed Credit Suisse (Singapore) Limited and JP Morgan (SEA) Limited to conduct its strategic review, with a particular focus on its renewable energy portfolio in mid-April.
David Russell, the board chairman of Equis said, “Equis is considering a restructuring of its entire renewable energy business with long-term investors looking to support management’s growth strategy. The process involves a 100% restructuring of Equis Energy.”
EXA Global, under the umbrella of digital entertainment and technology company Havson Group is unveiling Malaysia’s first ever Hyper Reality Experience at Setiawalk EXA Outpost.
Referred by EXA Global as South-East Asia’s first ever Hyper-Reality Family Entertainment Center, players will be able to experience a fully immersive, wireless, free-roaming gaming experience at EXA Outpost. This is made possible thanks to the combination of highly advanced virtual reality technologies like untethered backpack setup and multi-user motion capture system employed by EXA Global.
Richard Lee, the CEO of EXA Global explained that engagement is core to the project designed by the team. The focus is to get players involved in the technology to become part of the story.
“Getting the right module, enhancing the formula, experience and content are key components when creating and building an immersive advanced technology to have people sharing their hyper-reality experience with others,” said Lee.
Upon its launching, EXA Outpost will be featuring an exclusive VR multiplayer sci-fi shooter and space exploration mission, named EXA Dimension 12. Imagine role-playing Starship Troopers or Mass Effect in a fully immersive space dimension, that’s what the EXA Dimension 12 is all about. In the mission, players known as Troopers will first be transported to the Ingress room, where they will receive their EXA gears (guns, backpacks, and other wearables) for the upcoming exploration. Once geared up, players will then be dispatched and transported to the Dimension 12, it is here that the players will ride along a thrilling storyline, receive instructions to investigate unexplored regions, and fight off vicious extra-dimensional monsters with a diversified profile of advanced weaponries.
“Being that part of the story for our players is important to us, as we know experience is something valuable we at EXA Global can offer,” said Lee.
EXA Dimension 12, being fully developed in-house by EXA Global, is a respectable feat demonstrated by the talents of the team. For EXA Global, being able to develop content in-house also means they are not reliant on 3rd party developers for their future VR content. This opens a door to a promising future for EXA Global as they are free to develop any content that falls inline with their business strategy. In fact, this advantageous edge can already be observed as EXA Global has already started working on additional VR contents that revolve around horror and kids-friendly themes to expand their content portfolio.
Moving forward, the company notes that it is planning to open future locations around the world, targeting North America, Europe, Middle East, South Asia, East Asia, Australia, and the neighboring countries surrounding Malaysia. Bigger flagship centers ranging from 10,000 square feet to football size venue will also be opened in future to house a bigger crowd, according to Lee.
Other than looking for rapid market expansion, the company is also looking to upgrade its VR hardware to further improve its hyper-reality experience. In the upcoming future, EXA Global will be developing a full body suit with haptic feedback that is mapped according to traditional Chinese acupuncture points to improve the surrealism of the game. Other wearables like VR gloves and augmented reality (AR) wristband will also be developed alongside the full body suit.
Another noteworthy future expansion for EXA Global is the development of VR eSport. With the rise of eSport in recent years, it is also part of EXA Global’s strategy to tap into this trend and pioneer the VR eSport scene. To achieve this, offering player-vs-player (PvP) experience at its VR centers will be one of the upcoming focuses for EXA Global. Seeing the success of eSports giants like Dota 2 (offering a prize pool of whopping $20,770,460 USD for its tournament) and League of Legend (having an active monthly user base of 100 millions players), the potential of VR as the future mainstream eSport is definitely a huge one.
“As part of the creative and innovative pioneer in digital entertainment and technology Havson Group, between ourselves we aim to create the ultimate immersive Hyper-Reality Studio experience within this region,” said Lee.
Located at SetiaWalk, Puchong, EXA Outpost consists of two rooms whereby one is dedicated to the games while the other is a Hyper Reality Arcade Entertainment Center where players can play VR arcade games. Open for public starting from 3rd of June, for those who wants to take a deep dive into the hyper-reality experience, players can now book for a pair of ticket at a promotional pricing of RM65 on their official website: https://www.exa-global.com/booking.php