BIT, parent of Myanmar’s e-book store Wun Zinn, nets “7-figure USD” Series B funding

Bagan Innovation Technology (BIT), a digital content provider in Myanmar, has secured “seven-figure USD” in Series B funding, led by Japan’s Kyuu Roku.

Existing investor UMJ Ikeya Investment, besides Hotto Link, a social listening company listed on Japan’s stock exchange, also participated.

BIT will use this financing to invest into their automatic speech recognition, language sentiment analysis and other technology.

“This raise means a lot to BIT at this stage of our business; last year we saw great unit economics across our business lines, which has meant we’ve been able to reach more customers. We’re constantly investing in our language recognition and this investment, and the investors, will enable us to keep BIT at the forefront,” Co-founder and CEO Thet Lynn Han told e27.

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BIT is the company behind Wun Zinn, an e-book store and web series, which claims to have 2.5 million users. Serialised web novels is the most popular content type in the country and BIT is already working with over one hundred writers for daily serialised content.

The Yangon-headquartered company’s other popular product is Min Thein Kha, a mobile astrologer marketplace. The firm claims this product grew 7x in revenues last year and it currently has one million users.

The company also owns ‘Frozen’ and ‘Bagan’ mobile keyboards with full automatic speech recognition for the Burmese language. BI Miner, a social listening tool providing sentiment analysis to Myanmar’s corporates, is the other product it owns.

BIT has also developed, a social commerce chatbot that can quickly take enquiries, check stock and complete orders.

Kyuu Roku is an investment holding company founded by Seiji Kurokoshi, who has several investments in Myanmar and whose company Digi Search specialises in helping companies go direct to consumer.

“Companies like BIT are hard to come by but when you find them you just know you’ve found something exceptional. Thet Lynn Han and his team have proven that they understand the consumer better than anyone and in today’s age that plus technological finesse can take you a long way and unlock untapped potential in Myanmar’s frontier market,” said Kurokoshi.

In the past, BIT has raised several rounds of investments. In January 2018, it secured a “six-digit USD equity investment”, led by former Goldman Sachs executive Takashi Hatanaka. Prior to this, it netted a seven-digit USD investment in Series A led by Group Lease Holdings and Alliance Technology Investments.

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Earlier, in 2016, UMJ Ikeya invested seed funding in the firm.

Myanmar is a country with more than 50 million people and where mobile phone ownership is 101 per cent and where 85 per cent of all internet traffic is on smartphones. However, the country is often last on the list when investors consider Southeast Asian tech startups, with Indonesia leading and recent excitement echoing from Vietnam.

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Source: e27

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