Home-grown talent bring digital transformation to Myanmar enterprises

A GROUP of Myanmar whizz kids have set their hearts on becoming an integral part of Myanmar’s digital transformation journey by building up their own venture Nexlabs, a digital consulting firm focused mainly on digital solutions for companies to improve their business performance.

Ye Myat Min, co-founder and chief executive of Nexlabs, said in an exclusive interview that the firm is dedicated to helping businesses in Myanmar in their efforts to digitally transform, as their clients are eager to follow the global trends.

“For local businesses, it is time to move forward with the help of technology. Otherwise, they will be left behind in such a digital age,” he said.

Recognition of this led him to establish Nexlabs in April 2013 with a friend, Myo Htet Aung. The firm started with only four people including the founders, and later changed its name to Nexlabs, aiming to use technology to transform businesses in Myanmar. The firm has since expanded its headcount to 84.

“Over the past five years, we have built a diverse team with both local and international experience, combining self-taught coding prodigies with seasoned professionals who have been well-trained and worked enthusiastically in Myanmar and abroad,” said Ye Myat Min.

The team has created innovative websites and world-class mobile applications, digitised traditional businesses, crafted client identities, and become a leader in creating effective integrated marketing campaigns.

“If businesses want to take on the future, they should get in touch with us because we have a proven record of successful transformation stories nationwide,” Ye Myat Min said.

“We help businesses get ready and succeed in the digital economy through a combination of data, marketing, creation, and technology.”

He said most of Nexlabs’ clients are fully locally owned, ranging from conglomerates to traditional businesses that are willing to embrace digital transformation for their sustainable growth.

“Whatever the type of project is, we get a buzz from transforming businesses with technology. If a business is set for its next big thing, we make sure we will come up with some innovative ideas to make it a reality,” he said.

Though it can provide innovative technological solutions for different lines of business, the firm mainly focuses on key sectors such as banking and finance, food and beverage, and retail and e-commerce.

“We also see room for improvement in other sectors such as insurance, healthcare, education, payments, and logistics, following the potential boom of our core areas over the next few years,” Ye Myat Min said.

He said the team usually takes time to fully understand the market including customers’ behaviour and experience. In this respect, the firm usually invests a lot in research about specific markets, thereby improving brand values and creating branding strategies through the systematic use of social media and other platforms.

“It is very easy to develop an application but it is so hard to make it persuasive to the target audience. We need to make sure the app is user-friendly and convenient. It usually takes time to meet our core dimensions,” he said.

“We usually take time to understand our clients and their customers, crafting impactful brand identities. Our strategists do proper research to fully understand the market and clients’ goals so that our creativity and innovation always come up with positive results.”

He takes pride in the firm’s success stories in conducting integrated marketing, innovative designs, developing websites and mobile applications, UX (user experience) consultancy, and shaping branding strategies of its clients. Nexlabs has been part of the transformation stories of Nescafe, City Mart Holdings, Gloria Jeans, Mingalar Let Phwet, and Wave Money.

In the light of Nexlabs’ success, Ye Myat Min and Myo Htet Aung were among the eight young innovators from Myanmar who made it into Forbes Asia’s first “30 under 30 Asia” list in 2014. The judges for the magazine selected talented young people from across the continent to represent 10 fields including enterprise technology, the arts and media.

This year, the firm attracted US$150,000 in investment in from London-listed Myanmar Strategic Holdings Ltd and received a six-digit equity injection from Singapore venture capital firm Vulpes Innovative Myanmar Investment Company.

“Our VC-backers in Europe and Singapore believe in our vision and capability to expand, train and mentor our next-generation rock stars and create genuine value in Myanmar and beyond,” said Ye Myat Min.

Last year, the firm enjoyed 140 per cent growth in revenue, and aims to sustain that kind of growth over the next few years. It posts annual revenue in the seven digits in US dollar terms, Ye Myat Min said.


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