Baby brand Kyarlay gets $750K investment boost

Yangon-based baby products start-up Kyarlay this week raised US$750,000 from two growth funds looking to expand their investment in Myanmar.

Kyarlay, an e-commerce and delivery provider specialising in baby products, sold equity stakes to Emerging Markets Entrepreneurs and United Managers Japan Inc. It did not disclose the amount of the shareholdings.

Kyarlay was founded last year by Ko Soe Lin Myat and Ma Nang Mo, a couple who both worked at gaming service Garena and saw a market niche to be filled while expecting their first child.

“In Yangon, forgetting something as simple as milk powder can easily mean a one hour round trip back to the store,” said Ma Nang Mo who described her frustration with the limited choice and availability of well-priced and high-quality baby products.

“We realised that there was a large market of parents just like us and that this market was growing,” she added.

Kyarlay is the largest investment to date for Emerging Markets Entrepreneurs, an early-stage venture capital firm focusing on Myanmar launched in October 2018. Backed by private investors and the Dutch Good Growth Fund, it provides post-investment support to help start-ups grow. Its portfolio includes Ezay, an e-commerce site targeting rural “mom and pop” shops, vehicle platform CarsDB and digital animation firm Joosk.

“We’ve been watching Kyarlay for a while and we’re so pleased we’re able to support them, especially during this volatile time when others might shy away from new investments,” said Emerging Markets Entrepreneurs director Hitoshi Ikeya.

United Japan Managers Inc is a Japan-based hedge fund.

Kyaray opened its first store in South Okkalapa township and recently launched a second. The stores double as distribution fulfilment centres.

The start-up plans to expand its shops across the commercial capital with its four-hour delivery service, combining a digital presence with apps, a website and Facebook with physical stores.

The longer-term plan is to branch out to other parts of Myanmar and come up with products under their own brand, Ma Nang Mo added.

But its digital footprint is already growing rapidly. Their website – which includes advice from qualified doctors updated regularly – now boasts several million active users, the company says.

Myanmar has one of the world’s youngest populations. According to the United Nations, more than a quarter of the population is aged from 10 to 24 years.

Like many other consumer goods, the number of certified baby products in Myanmar is limited. The government’s efforts to open up the retail industry in recent years may improve the availability and reliability of products.

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Source : Myanmar Times

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