This week, the Axiata Digital Innovation Fund (ADIF), which was set up by Asian telco Axiata Group Berhad and Malaysia Venture Capital Management Berhad (Mavcap), announced it poured in a total investment of MYR 12.5 million (US$3 million) into six Malaysian startups.
But that’s not all the good news. ADIF will invest up to MYR 5 million (US$1 million) more into each of the companies, Jamaludin Bajung, CEO of Mavcap, the Malaysian government’s VC arm, tells Tech in Asia.
“We can’t disclose the amount each company received out of the MYR 12.5 million. However, that was only our first investment, and there will be follow-up investments into the companies later,” he says. “We anticipate a funding of around MYR 4 million to 5 million for each company eventually.”
The six startups include Supahands, a virtual outsourcing assistant; Spot News, a curated news app; Tripfez, a company that provides hotel and tour packages to Muslim travelers; MaidEasy, a platform to hire cleaners; EasyUni, which lets parents and students search and connect with universities and colleges; and Easyparcel, which allows people to book courier services. Supahands and Spot News also received funding from 500 Startups for this round.
“We chose them for their strategic fit with Axiata’s business model. Axiata is looking for opportunities to invest in companies that can be regional champions in their respective verticals,” says Jamaludin.
For their part, the companies will benefit greatly from Axiata’s exposure in seven countries in the region, where the telco has 260 million subscribers.
“Axiata provides a ready market. It has a vast network of digital companies developed over the years [and] has access to a multitude of experts in digital services such as ecommerce, online-to-offline (O2O), internet of things (IOT), and other internet services, which the companies can leverage on. We are already planning to bring the companies on a tour to explore business opportunities in the respective markets,” Jamaludin adds.
In November, Axiata and Mavcap inked an agreement for ADIF worth MYR 100 million (US$23 million) as part of the Malaysian government’s initiative to build up the country’s tech sector. Axiata committed MYR 50 million (US$12 million) to the fund, while Mavcap pledged MYR 20 million (US$5 million). The remaining amount would be raised from other principal investors, Axiata had said.
ADIF will hold a 20-40 percent stake in the startups in exchange for its investment.
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