vKirirom, resort and school developer for Cambodia, gets $2.9M from angel investors

Students at Kirirom Institute of Technology with Takeshi Izuka (standing on the right)
Image credit: vKirirom

See the original story in Japanese.

Singapore-based vKirirom, the startup developing and operating a resort as well as a boarding-style university on a Cambodian plateau, announced on Saturday that it has fundraised $2.9 million from 15 angel investors in Japan and Singapore. Names of the investors participating in this angel round have not been disclosed.

vKirirom is a social entrepreneurship startup founded in February of 2014 by Japanese serial entrepreneur Takeshi Izuka. After selling his startup Digital Forest, the company behind web access analysis platform Visionalist, to NTT Communications in 2009, he moved to Cambodia with his family in January of 2014 after spending four years in Singapore. He has leased land in the Kirirom National Park from the Cambodian government, which is located near the country’s capital of Phnom Penh, to develop a resort city along with a boarding-style university.

Of particular interest regarding this project is Kirirom Institute of Technology (KIT), a
boarding-style university located within the resort premises, where local students can learn programming and English while receiving scholarship provided by sponsoring companies. It aims to nurture engineers and business leaders for the information industry which is likely to be considered promising in terms of securing income and careerbuilding, then contributing to heightened educational and living standards for this country. Since the university is still new, it wil take a little time until the results are out; however, some of their graduates may establish a potential unicorn startup in Silicon Valley or on their home turf of Cambodia in the near future.

(I assume that one of the primary motivations of companies sponsoring the university in providing scholarship may be similar to the cases where Chinese IT giants establish or sponsor their university for securing future human resources.)

We were told that Izuka has made great efforts to launch vKirirom Pine Resort and KIT, such as constructing a branch road from the main highway to the premise, setting up power generators and securing broadband internet connectivity by radio waves from the nearest town, so he himself has been bringing in much equipment from Cambodia to facilitate the environment-building. Based on the initiative by the university, he wants to further develop resort facilities to serve the needs of tourists, company outings and vacation homes. To secure funds for these, he intends to explore the possibilities of investment-type crowdfunding as well as a series A round funding this year.

Bungalows in vKirirom Pine Resort (image credit: vKirirom)

Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy