Above: Nang Mo (4th from left) and Soe Lin Myat (3rd from right) with members of the EME Myanmar team
EME has made its largest investment to-date, investing alongside United Managers Japan Inc. for a combined USD 750,000 into Kyarlay, Myanmar’s leading baby products ecommerce and delivery provider. Kyarlay was co-founded by husband and wife Soe Lin Myat and Nang Mo while expecting their first child. Frustrated with poor choice and availability of well-priced and high-quality baby products, they saw an opportunity in helping make parenting in Yangon safer and more convenient.
Both Soe Lin Myat and Nang Mo previously worked for the tech giant Garena and have been able to apply leading technology to Kyarlay, while maintaining an approach tailored to the Myanmar market. Their stores are open seven days a week and double as fulfilment centres, making Kyarlay the only company able to provide safe and efficient delivery within just a few hours.
Kyarlay has also created a strong community among young Myanmar parents, including with their app and website which include videos and content from Myanmar’s leading paediatricians and obstetricians. By creating a community around their business, Kyarlay is able to continuously learn more about their customers. It’s due to this community that Kyarlay recently started to develop their own branded products for the Myanmar market – meaning they’re able to offer quality items for a lower price to their customers.
EME Director, Hitoshi Ikeya said, “We’ve been watching Kyarlay for a while and we’re so pleased we’re able to support them, especially during this volatile time when others might shy away from new investments. Soe Lin Myat and Nang Mo have proven their ability to develop a leading business and EME is thrilled to join them in their journey. We’ll be helping to bring new and exciting products to market, but right now we’ll be helping to ensure that Kyarlay has everything it needs to help parents stay home and stay healthy.”
Kyarlay marks EME’s eighth investment in Myanmar since launching in October 2018. EME is a VC based in Myanmar and providing significant post-investment support to its portfolio companies to help them scale. EME is backed by private investors as well as the Dutch Good Growth Fund and seeks to contribute to Myanmar’s sustainable economic development by supporting great entrepreneurs who can change markets and deliver true value to consumers and businesses alike.
**Q&A with Nang Mo, Co-founder of Kyarlay**
Why did you start this business?
As a parent you always need certain items, diapers for instance, and you often forget them. In Yangon, forgetting something as simple as milk powder can easily mean a one hour round trip back to the store. We experienced this frustration and saw that we had the skills to address it. We realised that there was a large market of parents just like us and that this market was growing. We each applied our core skills and started Kyarlay, adding the app and 4-hours delivery late last year.
What makes Kyarlay different from regular bricks and mortar baby stores?
Our community-driven approach really helps us to be closer to our customers. We’re able to share with them and in return learn more about their challenges. It’s this community approach that drives our business, whether it's later opening hours so parents can visit one of our shops after work, or competitions and promotion within our app that helps parents engage with one another. We launched our 4-hour delivery because we realised that parents need items on the same day and our community and customer focus helped us to understand that.
Why did you choose EME as investors?
When Kyarlay started, there wasn’t an institutional investor in the Myanmar market that would invest in this type of business. With EME, they’re here in our market and understand our model and approach. While many VCs might think having bricks and mortar stores is a barrier to scale, EME have supported this approach from the start and understand its importance in this market. We’re looking forward to having people close by that we can brainstorm with and depend on.
What’s your vision for Kyarlay and how will EME help you to reach it?
We’ve recently launched our second store and we plan to open lots more in order to serve the whole of Yangon with our 4-hour delivery. As we build our store and delivery network, we’re really looking forward to being able to provide additional products – such as the private brand products we’re producing now. Once we can serve the whole of Yangon with competitively priced high-quality products then we’ll start branching out further. Our plans will require constant adjustment and a lot of operational savvy, so we’re very happy that EME can be nearby to help us with this physical and digital growth.