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UMG Idealab invests in Myanmar’s Zay Chin, Indonesia’s Moodco

UMG Idealab, the early-stage venture capital arm of Myanmar trade conglomerate UMG Group, has added two new companies to its portfolio after closing investments in Yangon-based online grocery delivery startup Zay Chin and Indonesian chocolate-maker Moodco last month.

The VC firm did not disclose the size of the investments but said both were seed-stage deals. Prior to these transactions, the firm had closed three early-stage deals this year.

Zay Chin is focused on the wet markets, from where over 90 percent of people in Myanmar buy daily cooking needs and groceries from. The Zay Chin app enables people to purchase goods from these markets online.

“Our decision to partner with Zay Chin will allow us to further expand our presence in the country’s growing digital business sector that will benefit its people,” said UMG Idealab founder and executive chairman Kiwi Aliwarga in a press statement on Wednesday.

The investment from UMG Idealab counts as the company’s first external capital injection and will be used to fuel the company’s growth.

“Zay Chin will utilise the capital for regional expansion, operational upgrades and technological enhancement to deliver a better shopping experience for customers,” its founder and CEO Kyaw Kyaw told DealStreetAsia.

Meanwhile, Surabaya-based Moodco, which operates in the chocolate and coffee processing industry, is developing its chocolate bar product that goes by the same brand.

Moodco CEO Anton Sukamto said that the company is still very early in its development and plans to launch its product in early 2021.

The company seeks to fill the gap in the chocolate-making industry in Indonesia, a market that has few local players despite the country being one of the largest cocoa producers in the world.

For UMG Idealab, which partly also operates as a venture builder, the two new investments add to the 60 plus companies it has backed across Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia and China.

This year, it has injected capital into two of its venture build startups Widya LifeScience and FoodTx, as well as one undisclosed independent company.

UMG Idealab, which currently draws its fund from the balance sheet of UMG Group, cuts checks between $50,000 and $1 million per deal and invests in the pre-seed to pre-Series A stage.

In a recent interview, UMG Idealab says it has started to make initial preparations towards launching its debut venture fund. The vehicle is targeting to raise a corpus of around $100 million to support some of its existing portfolio companies that will be ready to hit the growth stage in a few years.

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