Finding Opportunities Where Few Dare To Invest

Khmer Times | 08 Feb 2015
By Cam McGrath
Douglas Clayton, CEO and managing director of Leopard Capital, at his office in Phnom Penh. (KT Photo: Jonathan Pannetier)

In 2008, Leopard Capital launched Cambodia’s first private equity fund. Now, as the eight-year fund approaches its expiry date, the frontier markets investment firm is looking for exit options. Douglas Clayton, CEO and managing director of Leopard Capital, spoke to Khmer Times about the risks and rewards of being a first-mover in a frontier market, and of the opportunities he sees in a country that is still off the radar of most institutional investors.

KT: You were a pioneer investment firm in Cambodia. What was the market like when you first arrived and what led you to open a private equity fund here?

Clayton: I first came to Cambodia in 1991 as a tourist and saw Angkor Wat, which was as the UN [peacekeeping mission] was coming in. Sixteen years later I ended up moving my family here and setting up a fund because I felt if a country could change that much in 16 years, what about the next 16? I felt it had already done the hardest thing, which is to take itself from a dusty, frontier town sort of place to a one where I could safely move my family and set up a business. So I’m a believer in the long term.