We’re just about keeping our feet on the ground after an incredibly exciting 2019. We added five great companies to our portfolio last year and established a team to help that portfolio grow. You could say we went from zero to one. But enough about how great EME is; what this post is about is how we build on what we’ve achieved to make sure that in Jan 2021 we’re asking ourselves the same question as this year “how do we top last year?”. We’ve given it some thought and decided we’d share this with our readers - as many of you may be a part of our 2020.
Engage Strategic Stakeholders
EME provides a lot of hands on support to our portfolio companies and this starts as soon as we invest and continues for as long as we’re adding value. With a portfolio of seven (soon to be eight…) companies, we have plenty of exciting work to do. But we recognise the benefits that a strategic player can bring to a startup. There’s untold value in someone who’s learnt the hard way, understands the problems that exist in particular sectors or business models, and has networks and expertise in a specific field. That’s why this year we’ll be bringing together new strategic stakeholders with our portfolio companies to help them receive the best insights and expertise to help them expand in Myanmar and across the region.
Seek Synergy in New Investments
EME is sector agnostic. The Myanmar startup ecosystem is still developing and so we invest in the best startups and founders that have the greatest potential. With a healthy portfolio which includes B2B and B2C startups, we’re better equipped in 2020 to find synergy between our portfolio companies and new investments we make. Right now our portfolio companies have customers inside the home and at the office, in urban and rural areas, and purchasing on and offline. We see strength in diversity and this year we’ll be especially looking for companies that can leverage and contribute to the skills and experience in our portfolio.
Work With Partners to Expand Our Knowledge
We’ve learnt a lot in the last couple of years and yet there’s always so much more to learn. Henry Ford said that anyone who stops learning is old and anyone who keeps learning is young. Whether you prefer Bob Dylan’s classic or Alphaville’s 80s rendition, at EME we’re planning to stay forever young. We’ll be engaging with new partners, where together we can expand our joint understanding of investing in the sustainable development of Myanmar. If we’ve learnt one thing, it’s that startups in Myanmar can experience phenomenal growth in short periods when they solve a real problem with a truly valuable solution. By enhancing and expanding our knowledge, we aim to increase our advantage for uncovering big problems and the founders solving them.
Get Close and Personal
To-date we’ve used our newsletter as our main mode of outreach (aside from lots and lots of one on one meetings). This year we’ll continue with our newsletter, but we’ll also be working on some new means of getting closer to our market. We won’t be throwing regular cocktail parties (although we will pull all the stops out in Q4 for our birthday). But we will seek to set up some small, intimate get-togethers where we can cosy up with founders, would-be founders or even corporates looking to work with startups and their founders. We’re working out the details, but we think it’s time to get a little closer now that we’ve built some solid traction and have a lot of lessons and insights to share.
Hire Someone Special (Tell Your Friends)
We’re a small team that works hard and we enjoy what we do. We don’t expect to have regular openings in our core team, but a position that we tried out last year turned out to be extremely valuable. Sadly, our young protege was always set to leave us for further education, but this means we’re hiring. We don’t consider EME to be ‘just another company’ and therefore we’re not looking for ‘just another employee’. We’re seeking a young, Myanmar individual who wants to build their career working with startups. It’s a very junior position, but it has every potential to grow into something much larger - as EME itself is growing rapidly. We’re looking for someone to mentor and invest in, or as Richard Branson puts it: someone we’ll train so well that they can leave, but treat so well they won’t want to. It might seem a stretch to put a single junior position in a blog about our year ahread, but that’s how seriously we take this role. If you’re reading this and have a tingling sensation about working with us, you’d do well to drop us a line. Full JD on our careers page.
If you read any of the above and thought along the lines of “hey, I’d be interested in…” then drop us a line. We tend not to bite and we’re always very happy to get coffee or beers and chat through some ideas, whether that’s a new venture, partnership or just putting the world to rights. Reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From left: Thet Paing Kha - Joosk CEO, Soe Moe Kyaw Oo - Nest Tech Managing Partner, Hitoshi Ikeya - EME Investment Director, and Zeyah Htet - Joosk CSO
Nest Tech VN has led a six figure equity investment into Myanmar’s leading animation company, Joosk Studio. EME, who invested into Joosk last year joined the round.
Joosk Studio is a creative digital animation agency founded and run by artists Thet Paing Kha and Zeyar Htet. Joosk has worked with companies including Facebook, CB Bank and Telenor as well as NGOs, UN agencies and the World Bank Group. In September 2019, Joosk’s proprietary animation series, Sassy Bound ("BeBee and friends"), won the company the Myanmar Influencer of the Year Award for Art and Design. Joosk is doubling down on its popular comic series and producing BeBee The Animated Movie, while continuing to grow its core agency business. Joosk’s debut into cinema will bring Myanmar’s first feature length animation to viewers across the country.
Nest Tech VN’s Managing Partner, Soe Moe said, “Joosk have created a great business, serving high profile brands with their unique and funny animation. We’re excited to be a part of this movie, as well as helping Joosk to continue to build their creative agency”.
EME Myanmar joined this round, marking our second investment into Joosk Studio. EME’s Investment Director, Hitoshi Ikeya, said, “we’ve loved working with Joosk and we’re pleased to be able to continue to help them innovate and bring creative content to Myanmar companies and consumers alike.”
Q&A with Thet Paing Kha, CEO of Joosk Studio
What does this latest round of investment mean to Joosk Studio?
At Joosk, we use humour and illustration to reach audiences and share messages. We’ve been running our Facebook comic series alongside our agency work for a while now and this latest investment lets us develop that side of the company to bring our audience something bigger than they’ve ever seen before.
While everyone is very excited and already working very hard on the movie, we’re also continuing to find exciting new ways to serve our business customers. We’re fortunate enough to work on interesting projects - both for NGOs and private companies and we see a lot of synergy between the movie and our core business.
Creativity seems to be such an important part of what Joosk does, how does taking on new investment affect that?
We’re very lucky that our current investors, EME, have always given us 100% freedom when it comes to any remotely creative decisions. When we met with Ko Soe Moe from Nest Tech VN we got the same feeling and had many casual meetings to make sure that we were a fit for each other. We also see that Nest Tech have a lot of digital skills that could help Joosk with digital merchandising and discovering new ways to entertain our audience outside of traditional approaches.
When’s the film coming out and what’s it going to be about?
BeBee The Animated Movie will be in theatres nationwide sometime in 2021. For now that’s all the information we’re sharing I’m afraid, but we’ll be releasing some clues and hints in the coming months! One thing is for certain, if you’ve ever enjoyed anything we’ve made before, we’ve got a very good feeling you’re going to love what we’ve got coming!