Maria Montero

Kargo is disrupting logistics in Myanmar, one of the countries …

The founders in Seattle recently lamented the lack of capital and support compared to Silicon Valley. What about new construction companies in more remote markets?

Kargo, a company that takes the spirit of Uber and into the disorganized world of transportation, has raised a SG $ 800,000 (US $ 580,000) funding round, giving TechCrunch an excuse to delve deeper into the world of startup development in Myanmar, one of the most curious countries in the world.

Abandoned from the world until its first free general election in 2015, Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, has seen the world’s most radical digitization. Ruled by the military from 1962 to 2011, the price of a SIM card in the country was $ 250 in 2013 (a big jump in $ 3,000 in the early 2000s) but everything changes around the 2015 elections, when the country was opened. Its doors to foreign investment and global companies. Telecommunications companies were quick to slash the price of a SIM card to mere dollars, in US terms, and gave those who bought them gigabits of data to use each month.

That rush saw services like Facebook Go from the non-existent to the key digital space overnight when Myanmar’s 55 million people took to the web – America’s social network has been unable to cope with such wild growth. Today, an estimated 46 million people are online in the country, with mobile as the dominant platform and Facebook as the best browser. Yes, the social network is that big.

Myanmar is getting its first 4G launches and the seeds have been sown for internet companies and startups.

Simplifying logistics

Kargo, not to be confused by the Indonesian company of the same name that is backed by Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick, was started in 2016 by Alexander Wicks, an Australian expat who had previously run digital marketing businesses.

The young company initially joined Phandeeyar, a technology accelerator in the big city of Yangon, before pulling out due to a disagreement on terms, CEO and founder Wicks said. He told TechCrunch He valued the organization but decided to “fly solo” with the business.

That’s a gamble that seemed to pay off, at least so far. Kargo won a grant from the GSM Association’s Ecosystem Accelerator Fund, a unit associated with the GSMA, and represented Myanmar at last year’s World Seed Summit. Now, it has secured this new financing led by Singapore-based early stage specialist Cocoon Capital.

Wicks said the round is a pre-Series A deal and he hopes Kargo can scale up Series A to fuel growth abroad within the next year or 18 months.

Alexander Wicks started Kargo in 2016

Kargo works with multinational companies, including Coke and Nestlé, To help them navigate the complicated world of logistics in Myanmar. By adding multiple fleets through its platform, Kargo becomes a single point of contact for companies moving products, thus greatly simplifying the process. In the past, they dealt with a large number of intermediaries, who teamed up with truck fleets to add unnecessary levels of complications and costs.

“The market is very large, it is a fundamental part of how the whole country works,” he explained, adding that Myanmar’s freight forwarding industry is expected to triple in the coming years.

Wicks said Kargo works with more than 2,000 drivers, mostly through fleet owners, who typically operate 5 to 50 trucks through their businesses. Disintermediates the brokers and intermediaries mentioned above, to help drivers and fleet owners regain a top of each order and gain access to potential new customers. A partnership with Yoma Bank will also give the startup company an SMB loan that will allow it to make daily payments to drivers who need more immediate cash flow than their regular weekly deposits.

Kargo is currently close to $ 200,000 in monthly order volume, growing 20 to 30 percent month-over-month during 2019, Wicks shared.

Now he is exploring his first steps outside of Myanmar by covering the “logistics corridors” in Thailand. Wicks said the company has seen a high level of requests to move abroad from existing clients, and intends to use those relationships to begin tentatively entering new markets, starting with Thailand.