Startup Rap

Success Story

Celebrating Cambodian tech talent with a Startup Rap song!

The Cambodian startup scene is young, agile, dynamic as the entire country is.
Thomas Hundt, CEO at Smart Axiata

When we set up our R&D office in Phnom Penh back in 2017, our international clients and partners didn’t know much about Cambodia and its tech scene. We initiated Startup Rap to tell the world that Cambodia has tech talent and to invite them to engage.

Digital Empowerment

Cambodia has a young population with 60% of the population below 29 years, ‘digital natives’ that are hungry, with 4.5G networks and 43% population on FB (via mobile). Cambodia has raw STEM talent and the community is upskilling fast, with humility and no sense of entitlement, to build new solutions. It is also a cost-effective gateway to ASEAN, with a dollarized economy that allows 100% foreign ownership. Finally, it provides less friction to adoption of new solutions, as a Frontier market that is unconstrained by legacy infrastructure. These four reasons make it an attractive location to pilot new solutions, leapfrog progress and cost-effectively access talent.

Project Highlights

We partnered with Khmer-American rappers to write the song, record it in a studio and invite 30+ executives and founders of local companies to sing along in one energizing music clip. See

We recorded a behind the scenes video of the Startup Rap initiative, to address some of the challenges and opportunities for the Cambodian ecosystem:

In addition, we created several 1min docu-videos to share the perspective of different players, including Smart Axiata (Telco) CEO, the US Ambassador to Cambodia, and a local startup CEO. 

Startup Rap was asked by the government-organized annual ICT awards in 2018, to show the video clip. We had a group of talented street kids from the breakdance & hip hop NGO “Tiny Toones” perform live on stage in front of the surprised and enthusiastic ICT industry and officials.

Oh and did we mention we painted a large “Cambodia has startup talent” graffiti wall of 10 meters x 4 meters inside University of Puthisastra? Check it out, it’s only a few hundred meters from our Phnom Penh office, on street 184.

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Accelerating the transition to a digital economy in Cambodia

After establishing a R&D office in Cambodia in 2017, we noticed that there is a gap in the tech ecosystem. With our deep product, tech and startup expertise, we believed we could make a difference and help accelerate the transition to a digital economy in Cambodia.