IN LESS than one year since its September 2016 launch, Chate Sat, Myanmar’s first ever freelancing platform where users can find or offer freelance work, has gathered more than 5,000 freelancers and 900 employers on its network.
Honey Mya Win, co-founder and chief executive officer of Chate Sat, said on Sunday that the start-up recently received six figure funding from three venture capital firms – Singapore’s Vulpes Investment Management Ltd, Theta Capital, and a local investor.
“I am confident they will inject further funding for future rounds. And we have planned to raise Series A funding in the next 18 months,” she said. Honey Mya Win said the funding would help the firm to foster its business activities in Yangon, as well as to expand its services to other major cities including Mandalay, Nay Pyi Taw and Taunggyi.
“We will mainly focus on Yangon and Mandalay in the coming months until 2018. But we will also go to other cities to educate the people about digital services and their strengths,” she said. The start-up now has a team of seven young people. It serves as the simplest medium to engage local freelancers to collaborate with businesses in the homeland and abroad.
“We gather skilled individuals and a constant source of projects in one place while ensuring to avoid unpaid invoices and poor quality works for respective parties. We mainly focus on simplicity so that the experience of hiring and accepting projects on Chate Sat is super quick and easy,” she said. “At first, we aimed to get local freelancers connected with businesses here in Myanmar. As our service gets known, we have welcomed a few foreign companies from Thailand and Singapore. [They] signed up on our website to find suitable freelancers who could translate their projects into the local context to promote their businesses here.”
She said Thai and Singaporean firms are mostly interested in seeking designers for their business expansion. She is confident about securing at least 1,500 projects that will acquire over 8,000 freelancers and 2,000 employers onto the platform by the end of this year.
She said local and international tech investors had long been eyeing Myanmar’s tech and innovation sector. Local tech start-ups could harness the connectivity revolution to accelerate business growth with support from investor communities, she added. “As the economy opens up, we want to continue creating more freelance jobs for the 53-million strong population,” she said.
She said the major challenges as a tech start-up are mainly technical issues and dealing with online payment systems. Other business obstacles include the lack of infrastructure, frequent electricity blackouts and slow Internet speed. She has planned to educate people about the digital ecosystem and develop familiarity with their product.
“If you are a freelancer or would like to hire a freelancer, ours is the right place. It is a community of freelancers who are seeking freelance projects to show their profession and earn money, and employers who are willing to hire freelancers to finish their tasks fast,” she said.
The firm is one of the four alumni from Phandeeyar Accelerator Cohort 1. Phandeeyar, Myanmar’s most popular innovation lab, supported it with US$25,000 (Bt830,000) in pre-seed funding, and will remain an investor in the company going forward.
Jes Kaliebe Petersen, CEO of Phandeeyar, said online job platforms in Myanmar have been growing at an exponential rate.
“With Myanmar’s economy opening up, major local and international companies will get into stiff competition in search of the best talents from the country,” he said.