Shared offices or co-working spaces are the best workplaces or hubs for tech geeks and emerging entrepreneurs to work and collaborate. They’re very popular in cities around the world, including in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.
In Cambodia’s largest city alone, there are many co-working spaces tailored for tech startup people and digital nomads. In addition to providing collaborative workspaces, the most sought-after coworking spaces are the ones where people can get their work done: productivity. To meet this need, tech hubs like Emerald Hub, TekHub, ImpactHub, Trybe, and AngkorHub (Siem Reap) strive to offer fast fiber optic Internet connections.
ImpactHub Phnom Penh
Is one of the most popular coworking spaces in Boeng Keng Kang 3. Not just an ordinary shared workplace, ImpactHub has a lot to offer to startup people with events and programs that connect and foster entrepreneurship. Always a full house, the ImpactHub has high speed fiber Internet connection for the hub people. ImpactHubbers (as they call themselves) can focus on their work and productivity, not the Internet speed.
Factory Phnom Penh
Factory Phnom Penh is the newest, largest co-working space that’s not in the heart of Phnom Penh. Location: #1159 National Road 2, Khan Mean Chey, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
A shared workspace for early startups and freelancers in Toul Kork district. Co-founded by eccentric Cambodian Rithy Thul, SmallWorld helps grow and nurture a number successful startups in Phnom Penh. Teams like Codingate and Chenla Media spent their early years bootstrapping in this not yet crowded district before heading out for a new place.
Located in The Asia Foundation office, TekHub is a sister coworking space of ImpactHub. One of the permanent tenants is Codingate, headed by Sopheak Monkol, a Cambodian entrepreneur named recently in Forbes magazine in 30 Under 30 2017.
Trybe is the latest coworking space. Also a maker-space, Trybe is located just opposite the French Institute Of Cambodia. It sets itself apart from Emerald Hub, ImpactHub, and TekHub for it’s a place where people make things (hardware like 3D printing and Arduino programming). ARC Hub PNH and System Experts are the permanent tenants at Trybe.
Sok Leap of System Experts, a technology consulting company, told me that “A modern coworking space has a lot to offer to startups. A hub for co-working, networking, and building things that matter. Fast and stable Internet is an integral part of the makerspace like Trybe.” Currently, System Experts manages the WiFi system for the whole Trybe, which uses Fiber Pro 50Mbps connection.
A large space on the 11th floor of Phnom Penh International University (PPIU), this first Emerald Hub offers private rooms for established businesses as well as desks for freelancers and startup teams. One of Cambodia’s successful startup BookMeBus has its own private room there. The Emerald Hub has its second location in Beng Keng Kang 3, too.
In Siem Reap, a tourist town popular for Angkor Wat, AngkorHub is more than just a coworking. Well, it’s also co-living place. While most places mentioned in this blog post are shared offices, AngkorHub is the only place that also offers accommodation in addition to the collaborative working environment.
BioLAB Coffee & Office
According to PlacesToWork.net, there are at least 15 best coworking spaces/cafes in Siem Reap. BioLab Coffee & Office is on top on the list. Located on Wat Bo Road, it’s a nicely designed coffee shop and shared office in one. Eat, work, study, and relax all in the BioLab Coffee & Shop?
More Co-Working Places You Should Know
Cambodia-based Startups You Should Know
In this blog post, you’ll learn about Cambodia’s startups that offer tech solutions to users in Cambodia. These Phnom Penh-based startups take on old and new challenges facing the local population. From optimizing how you commute to work to an easy way to hop on a bus to getting your ordered grocery at your door step.
We tried to pick startups that:
- help people to travel and commute easier
- have technology-driven solutions or at least tech-enabled
- have similar hiring needs to a typical silicon valley startup, small and agile
- are focused on fulfilling basic needs of ordinary people
Successful Startups in Cambodia
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
What they do: As in its name, this is a local startup that helps travelers to book bus tickets easily and quickly.
As BookMeBus has a growing list of bus operators on its online service, it’s so convenient to check bus schedules, compare prices, and order the ticket over the Internet or through your smartphone. Think of this as Cambodia’s Uber for bus.
This startup keeps expanding; book a ferry ticket from to Koh Rong and Koh Rong Sanloem from Sihanoukville was introduced recently. Soon, you can even book a train ticket.
Why you should know about them: Before founding this BookMeBus, Chea Langda was frustrated by how hard it’s get a bus ticket.
Getting to the agent for the ticket in person. Not so much information about the bus of choice, departure schedules to plan the trip well. This startup has attracted attention from those in bigger cities like Bangkok and Yangon.
Download iOS and Android app.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
This is an ultra Uber concept of “a simple idea—tap a button, get a ride.” EXNET doesn’t have its own vehicles or hire full-time drivers. Telling the Phnom Penh Post recently, the founder said “We wanted to provide passengers with a more convenient way to order a taxi, without the need to call and have difficulties explaining their location to drivers on the phone.” Check out its Android app here.
Stops Near Me
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
City bus is relatively new to Phnom Penh residents. To get to the bus stop is a challenge, too, as most people are more used to driving their own motorcycles. When Malypoeur Plong, the app founder, had a tough time to find the closest bus stop and hop on the bus, she coded the app, Stop Near Me (in both Khmer and English).
Chatomuk Traffic (failure)
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Not all mobile apps are all equal. When Chatomuk Traffic was launched in 2014, the media and the public were hopeful it must help ease the pain of of driving through the Phnom Penh traffic. Va Kora, founder of Chaktomuk Traffic, returned from Japan in 2013 to start the commuter app. His motivation is clear: “to do something very useful for the people.”
Failed Startups in Cambodia
Pengpos (failure; transformed into Rushero)
This is not an online store that sells you tomato. Based on your regular need, Pengpos want to solve your daily issue, getting grocery delivered to your doorstep. The startup’s mission is to save people’s time and give them convenience. You browse its website, pengpos.com, for vegetables, meats, and grocery you need to cook. You make an order. Pengpos delivers them to you. Just like BookMeBus that collaborates with bus operators, Pengpos works closely with food vendors and product suppliers.
Good to Know
What these startups have in common is: the adoption rate among local users remains low. The major users who adopt the tech-driven solutions are non-Cambodian. Is it the English language issue or payment method.
Most Cambodians don’t have access to Visa or Master card, not to mention Paypal or standard payment option.
However, here’s a long list of mobile money operators available to many fragments of users across Cambodia: Wing, E-money, True Money and Smart Luy; bank-managed mobile financial services such as ACLEDA, Prasac, AMK, and more.
When you take a look at BookMeBus, the online bus ticket service thrives to provide as many payment methods to its users as possible.
What makes Phnom Penh a smart city? And what makes you a smart commuter and traveler?
While Phnom Penh doesn’t have to be Asia’s Silicon Valley, local entrepreneurs can look for inspiration from there, where startups want to change the world, the way we travel and commute to work.
When Cambodian startup founders want to create new technology-driven solutions, they start with a strong focus on the daily challenges facing the very ordinary people. It’s a really good start.
The technology startup community in the Cambodian capital city has been growing remarkably in the past five years. One thing to note is the growing number of co-working spaces. In Phnom Penh alone, there are almost ten venues dedicated to those who start to execute their ideas. It’s as if the future of shared space is here to stay.