Dialog Axiata Digital Innovation Fund picks first three start-ups

Wednesday, 4 April 2018 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Rahel Kirinde

Dialog Axiata stated on Thursday that it has selected Roar Media, InsureMe and MyDoctor.lk as its first phase of investments from the Digital Innovation Fund (DIF).

The DIF is a Rs. 2.3 billion venture capital fund formed to finance high potential start-ups in Sri Lanka. Management of the fund is handled by BOV Capital.

“Roar, InsureMe and Mydoctor.lk were selected based on a systematic evaluation process with the intent of furthering the digital services ecosystem in Sri Lanka,” said Dialog Axiata Digital Services Vice President Fariq Cader.

Cader mentioned that Dialog would continue to be the forefront of innovation in the country’s ICT sector and propel currently established and emerging companies in the field of digital-based services.

BOV Capital Co-Founder, Prajeeth Balasubramaniam said, “Apart from financing, through the fund we will provide support through mentoring and business development. Currently global statistics say that only one in 10 new companies succeed; we’re trying to take it up to at least six or seven companies.”

Roar Media CEO Mustafa Kassim said: “Roar has grown immensely across South Asia over the last 24 months and with Dialog Axiata and BOV Capital backing us up, we can accelerate this growth even further. We can now leverage our networks and reach many more users and drive sales to the next level.” 

Roar is a new media platform that creates high quality video and image content in five languages, namely English, Sinhala, Tamil, Hindi and Bangla. The site also publishes articles covering current affairs, business, lifestyle, technology, arts and culture.

InsureMe CEO Vipula Dharmapala said: “We are confident that our partnership with Dialog Axiata and BOV Capital will help take the Sri Lankan insurance industry to the next level.” “We are committed to offer the best digital insurance experience possible and promise to make insurance more convenient by providing value with professional advice.”

InsureMe is a digital insurance brokering company offering transparent and unbiased service. It offers Life and General insurance solutions to both individual and corporate customers.

MyDoctor.lk CEO Sameera Wijerathna said: “The Digital Innovation Fund has given us a great opportunity to lift our revolutionary platform of transforming the way we experience healthcare services.” 

He stated that MyDoctor.lk had partnered with several leading medical professionals and healthcare institutions to provide services such as a doctor on immediate demand, medicine delivery and healthcare partner discounts.

MyDoctor.lk is Sri Lanka’s pioneering digital health platform. It brings together visionary medical thinking and cutting edge digital technologies to introduce and wide range of medical health services. It also allows you to create a digital health profile.

The Digital Innovation Fund was inaugurated as Sri Lanka’s first venture capital fund that will focus exclusively on financially supporting Sri Lankan digital start-ups, mainly in their initial stages. Single investments will range between Rs. 50 million and Rs. 200 million. Also 20% of the fund is allocated for the sole purpose of financing seed stage start-ups showing results of early traction, particularly those looking for investments less than Rs. 40 million.

Dialog Axiata Group, a subsidiary of Axiata Group Berhad, operates Sri Lanka’s leading quad-play connectivity provider and supplements its market leading position in the mobile telecommunications sector with a robust footprint and market presence in Sri Lanka’s fixed telecommunications and digital television markets through its fully-owned subsidiaries Dialog Broadband Networks Ltd. (DBN) and Dialog Television Ltd. (DTV). Dialog Axiata Group is Sri Lanka’s largest foreign direct investor with investments totalling $ 2.3 billion.

Dialog has been at the forefront of innovation in the mobile industry in Sri Lanka since the late ’90s, propelling the nation’s mobile telephony infrastructure to a level of advancement on par with the developed world. The company delivers advanced mobile telephony and high speed mobile broadband services to a subscriber base in excess of 12.7 million Sri Lankans, via 2.5G and 3G/3.5G and 4G/4.5G networks.

BOV Capital is a venture capital firm based in Sri Lanka and Singapore. Established to help start-ups capture regional and global opportunities, the firm will invest and work closely with early stage ventures with each investment ranging from Rs. 15 million to Rs. 200 million.

Mainly interested in tech-based ventures that focus on innovative technology with rapid growth potential, BOV Capital has become known for investing in exciting companies that develop Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Consumer (B2C) software for international markets. BOV Capital has provided Rs. 2 billion in funding 25 start-ups to date.

Providing seed and follow on funding and helping companies to accelerate their growth. The principals of BOV Capital are also founder members of the Lankan Angel Network, which is the first angel network focused on high-growth, early-stage Sri Lankan ventures.

Pix by Indraratne Balasuriya