Phnom Penh-based automotive investment holding group Iron Capital Plc has raised $5.7 million in Series A funding to develop the first digitalized automotive ecosystem in the Kingdom, according to the company the funds were raised from a local source.
Chief Executive Officer of Iron Capital Wei Ken Lee told Cambodia investment Review that the majority of car garages in Cambodia are small, independently owned, or family businesses that are run in a manual or traditional way. Stating, Iron Capital can see the opportunity to digitalize the operations and automate the workflow to deliver time and cost-efficiency.
Ken added, big data and AI can be utilized to improve the customer experience but what is lacking now is the technology platform to tie all the components together and that is where Iron Capital comes in.
“Overall we want to change the industry perception. There is a bad reputation of garage or mechanics cheating customers – swapping spare parts, fake parts/products, problems that never get fix causing multiple trips to the garage, etc. We want to set the new benchmark for trust and quality minus the high prices of a dealership,” Ken said.
Ken added that both local and international investors should feel confident as despite the current COVID pandemic Cambodia has a history of strong economic growth and has great potential in the digitalization of markets with its young and tech-savvy population.
A growing middle class of consumers in Cambodia
“Put aside COVID, Cambodia had a very strong GDP growth showing in recent years and even for the potential future. There are favorable investment laws or environments for foreign investors/businesses. Investors can look forward to a growing middle-income class and more technology savvy community too,” Ken said.
According to the firm, Iron Capital was launched by its Co-Founders Seang Piseth and Sok Chanlin and serial entrepreneur Tommy Sim. Their stated goal is to transform the automotive ecosystem in Cambodia with ISO-standard workshops, technology-integrated automotive services, high-skilled labor, and a cost-efficient supply chain by the year 2030.
Iron Capital is also an investor in the garage franchise A Klasse Auto, digital media company Advanced Auto Digital Media, and planning an automotive spare part supply, warehousing, and logistics next year.
Cambodian consumers spent $1.09 billion on car imports from international markets in 2020, down from $1.73 billion the previous year, or 36.6%, according to a report issued by the Ministry of Commerce.