Hangme was started in early 2020 by me and friends of mine from RS Digital Ventures. The goal is to make e-commerce stores accessible to Cambodian businesses. I was the product designer, graphic designer, and front-end developer. My friends managed all the backend and engineering stuff.
E-commerce in Cambodia is lagging. Normally businesses need to pay a lot of money to build a website, manage all the backend, and pay banks for the payment API, it costs thousands of dollars upfront just to get started. We want to change all that, so we built a platform with everything built-in, the business would pay a cheap $29 per month to start selling, they don’t need to worry about managing the server, payment, delivery, etc.
So what happened?
We did get to the MVP phase somewhat smoothly, on our website, we can create user accounts, create a new store, manage products and their categories, publish the product, take orders, process the order, integrate with our delivery partner’s API and payment partner’s API, plus the consumer can buy the product. So we were looking for investment to go further. We got some financial support from our friend but obviously, we need a lot more for marketing, expanding our operation, and providing support for our existing merchants. And we never got other investments to come through.
Cambodia is not ready for actual e-commerce.
If you’re Cambodian or live here, you know buying and selling online are mostly done on Facebook. It’s relatively cheap, everyone is on Facebook and it’s somewhat easy to use. We want those merchants to leverage even more power from other search engines like Google. And what happens if Facebook goes away?
Education is the key to modernization. A lot of Cambodians never understand the concept of E-commerce and its benefit to them as customers, merchants, and the government.
We spend so much time explain average people that we provide the merchant with the software, and no we don’t sell shoes or shirts or food. People already learned to go to Facebook and find what they want, instead of Google or their trusted merchant’s website.
We pulled the plug.
So after 2 years, on November 2022, we decide to discontinue the project. It’s been a long dragging 2 years, we were emotionally exhausted.
But this will not be the end, in a few years, the time will be right to execute the plan again, and hopefully this time we will know what we’re doing.