Axiata Digital, the digital services division of the Malaysian telecom operator Axiata is geared up to launch a $15 million venture capital fund for Sri Lanka. This would be similar to the micro VC fund that the company launched for Cambodia during the early stages of 2017.
What is Axiata Digital’s VC fund?
This fund which would invest in digital startups and service providers in Sri Lanka is looking to be launched in December 2017 but no exact date has been specified. In case you didn’t know, Axiata Digital carries out investments outright or via its VC platform, which is the Axiata Digital Innovation Fund (ADIF).
This fund was originally created to provide funding for local tech startups. It has now branched out into investing in fields such as financial services, advertising/adtech, e-commerce and entertainment. In March 2017, the ADIF announced the Smart Axiata Digital Innovation Fund. This would be a $5 million micro VC fund for Cambodian companies. Launched in partnership with Mekong Strategic Partners (MSP), the goal of the fund is to identify and invest in ideas and businesses in Cambodia’s digital ecosystem. As such, Cheque sizes to be disbursed from the Cambodia fund will range from $25,000 to $500,000.
Carrying forward a successful history
Axiata Digital became a leading VC participant in May 2017 when it led a Series B round Unlockd, which is a Melbourne-based mobile advertising startup for $23-million. The company teamed up with existing strategic and early-stage investors and Alium Capital Managenment, which is an Australian company for for that funding round.
In addition, Axiata Digital also invested in VAV Apps Sdn Bhd , which is a soundwave-based technology solutions provider, Pixelated Sdn Bhd which is a Malaysian telematics startup now known as KATSANA, and BIMA, an insurance technology firm that provides micro insurance to underserved families in emerging markets.
According to Mohd Khairil Abdullah, CEO of Axiata Digital, when the company carries out deals in the Europe or the US, their primary target are models that can be brought into Asian or Southeast Asian markets. As an example, he explained about BIMA which is an InsurTech firm based in Sweden. The company has a model that is in line with emerging markets. Axiata Digital also made an investment in FreedomPop which is a US wireless carrier as well.
While this does seem like an opportune moment for startups who are looking for funding, they will have to hold on till December to know the exact details of what the VC fund offers. For now, its a waiting game.