Ever since Myanmar opened up its economy following one of Asia’s most brutal dictatorships in 2010, everything from politics to culture and business in the once-isolated nation has radically changed. From being virtually off-grid, Myanmar has seen mobile usage rocket. This largely untapped market of 60 million people has caught the interest of entrepreneurs and investors alike.
One of them is Justin Sway, a businessman based in Australia who bet on Burmese real estate portal ShweProperty, which he now runs together with its founder, Kaung Thu Win. The startup today announced “a high six-digit” sum for its series A round – a rarity for Myanmar’s fledgling startup industry.
ShweProperty has over 60,000 home and apartment listings and over 350,000 visits per month, up a dozen-fold from 2015 when the site raised its seed round.
Myanmar’s real estate sector has fast expanded alongside the booming economy. Political stability has provided further support.
Justin tells Tech in Asia the team will focus on working closely with the nation’s top property developers and real estate agents to get them to advertise on the site.
Rocket Internet rivalry
Justin expects Myanmar’s startup activity to pick up further with more and more players coming in. ShweProperty itself faces competition from Frontier Digital Ventures’ iMyanmarHouse and Rocket Internet’s House.com.mm.
Apart from Rocket Internet and Malaysia’s Frontier Digital Ventures, Silicon Valley-based 500 Startups has also made a foray into the country through an investment in news app Bindez.
The newest funding for ShweProperty came from global institutional investors who are experienced in developing online classifieds worldwide, and have significant investments in Asia, Middle East, and Europe, says Justin.
“The funds will be used to bolster the leadership team, drive sales and marketing efforts, and increase product development to deliver more visibility and productivity services for agents,” he adds.
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