Upon opening up after decades of isolation from the rest of the world, Myanmar has taken a leapfrog from being a technological backwater to a frontier market overnight. And as the country—long-known for its golden Buddha statues, temples/pagodas, and rich culture and abundance of festivals—establishes itself on the global stage, innovative ventures are emerging to answer the growing demands of the local consumer base.
The country’s explosive rate of mobile adoption and internet penetration has created a fertile market of opportunities for local and foreign tech startups. And despite the challenges imposed by the lack of infrastructure, the country’s startup scene has begun to bloom and is expected to accelerate in line with the rising economy. Here are 13 promising tech startups in Myanmar you need to know about in 2016.
VisitMM is the first to offer internet booking and purchasing of travel services to and within Myanmar, enabling travelers and investors alike from all over the world to experience the relatively untouched country. The platform aims to provide seamless and convenient travel planning process and travel experiences coupled with transparent pricing and secure online payments.
Yangon-based Xavey is a market research consulting firm with capabilities ranging from research problem identification and exploratory research to conclusive research with larger sample data sets: focus-group interviews (FGI), in-depth interviews (IDI), and more. The company is the developer of the Mell Rewards App, an app that enables the Myanmar community at large to share their opinions on current affairs and products/services via mobile.
With the digital wave taking Myanmar by storm, firms large and small are finding that having a strong digital presence is crucial to their business. New Wave Technology is a market leader capitalizing on this growing need, possessing an ever-growing portfolio in software, web, and mobile app development. The company is also developing the mobile travel guide “Best Trip”—an app that provides information on tourist attractions, cruises, restaurants, archaeological sites, and more.
GoBus is a mobile bus ticketing app for purchasing bus tickets on-demand, conveniently. Express buses are a major transportation method in Myanmar, with approximately 1.2 million monthly riders traveling from Yangon to other regions in the country. GoBus has teamed up with a number of top local express lines to offer customers with a wide selection of bus lines, ticket prices, and seats.
Burmese Hearts is a elearning platform that provides online courses conducted in Burmese Hearts on a variety of subjects– languages, programming, software development, design, cooking, arts, entrepreneurship, to name a few. Users can register for courses in their area of interest and access the lecture videos on-demand. Burmese Hearts also encourages users to become instructors in their areas of expertise and create a network of learners and instructors.
OneKyat is essentially an eBay for Myanmar—the platform is a fast-growing consumer-to-consumer mobile marketplace where people can buy and sell new or pre-owned items. The app’s chat function allows sellers and buyers to communicate directly with ease.
ZawGyi Mart is an etailer that provides online shopping and door-to-door delivery services in Myanmar. The website features a collection of diverse products: clothing, cosmetic, books, electronic appliances, consumers and household products, and more. ZawGyi Mart also provides a buyer protection and refund policy as well as standard secure payment processing.
iMyanmar Group is the industry leader in Myanmar’s online media and advertising tech scene. The homegrown venture owns and operates popular classified portals such as iMyanmarAds, iMyanmarHouse, iMyanmarCars, and ShweRooms.
Shwe Property is a one-stop real estate portal for buyers, sellers, and investors of Myanmar properties. In addition to listing properties and developers, the heavily trafficked website also provides local real estate market news and guides to buying and selling properties.
MyLann is the first online restaurant directory and food review website in Myanmar. Users can easily search for restaurants by keyword or phrase, locate establishments by proximity using its “nearby” feature, and write food reviews/restaurant ratings for sharing to social media. The mobile version of MyLann is currently available for Android devices.
Bindez is a localized search engine for the people of Myanmar to access relevant information across the web conveniently. Despite the country’s rapid internet adoption and mobile penetration, the majority of locals find it difficult to navigate the web and find content due to low or non-existent English/foreign language proficiency. Bindez—currently in beta—fulfills this need in the local market.
NEX is a high-flying provider of a range of digital innovation services, to include web app and mobile app development. The firm has developed a number of popular apps targeted towards young adults including Kabyar, Hush, and the Nexy Myanmar keyboard.
Wisper allows you to send texts, photos, videos, and audio clips that eventually disappear, a la SnapChat. The app features sketching and captioning capabilities for every photo or video, and of course—everything disappears after 25 seconds.
According to IMF World Economy Outlook, Myanmar’s economy is estimated to grow at 8.4% in the 2016 fiscal year, placing it among the fastest growing economies in the world. Fueled by this growth and the local market’s appetite for technology, the tech startup scene in Myanmar continues to hold ample opportunity for local and foreign tech startups, investors and entrepreneurs.