Dialog Axiata PLC, Sri Lanka’s premier connectivity provider, has selected new media platform, Roar, insurance broker, InsureMe and integrated healthcare platform MyDoctor.lk as its first phase of investments. The Digital Innovation Fund managed by BOV Capital, marks a definitive shift to foster startups and build further on the business capabilities of digital technology and talent within the country.
The Rs. 2.3 billion Digital Innovation Fund was debuted by the Malaysian Prime Minister in December 2017, and invests in growth stage Sri Lankan digital startups, with investments ranging between Rs. 50 million and Rs. 200 million. 20 per cent of the total fund has also been set aside for investments in early stage or seed startups, particularly those looking for investments less than Rs. 40 million.
The initial screening by BOV Capital considers several factors including revenues, user traction and scalability and includes a comprehensive study of the business model. Subsequently, the startups are approved by the Investment Committee of the Digital Innovation Fund, for further evaluation prior to awarding the funding.
One of the investee companies, Roar, is a South Asian new media platform that creates high quality content in five languages, namely English, Sinhala, Tamil, Hindi and Bangla and is gaining online traction for its eight different sites drawing over three million unique readers and over thirty four million video views each month. Ranked amongst the top 50 websites for Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, the site contributes more than 500 articles per month covering current affairs, business, lifestyle, technology, arts, and culture.
Commenting on what’s next for Roar Media, Mustafa Kassim, CEO of this New Media Platform said, “Roar has grown immensely across the South Asian continent over the last 24 months, and now, with backing from Dialog Axiata and BOV Capital, we can accelerate this growth even further. We can leverage these networks across South Asia to help us reach many more users and drive sales to the next level.”
InsureMe is a dynamic and innovative insurance broking company backed by a team of professionals with unmatched experience in the insurance industry, offering a transparent and unbiased professional service comparison encompassing a wide range of convenient insurance solutions direct from key insurers in the country.
Speaking about InsureMe’s plans to change the landscape of insurance, Vipula Dharmapala, Director/CEO said, “We are delighted to partner with Dialog Axiata and BOV Capital through the Digital Innovation Fund, and are confident that this partnership will take the Sri Lankan insurance industry to a new level, which will definitely benefit the Sri Lankan consumer. With this partnership, we are committed to offering the best digital insurance experience that aims to deliver on our promise of making insurance convenient by providing value with professional advice.”
MyDoctor.lk, Sri Lanka’s pioneering digital health platform and the first runner up at The Commonwealth Digital Health Awards in 2017, brings together visionary medical thinking and cutting edge digital technologies to introduce an integrated full suite of medical and wellness services.
Speaking about MyDoctor.lk and the future of digital health services, Sameera Wijerathna, CEO, MyDoctor.lk said, “We have partnered leading medical professionals and healthcare institutions in Sri Lanka to provide services such as a doctor on demand, medicine delivery, lab reports and healthcare partner discounts. The Digital Innovation Fund provides us great opportunity to leverage MyDoctor.lk’s revolutionary platform to transform the way you experience healthcare services.”
Elaborating on the Digital Innovation Fund’s selection of Roar, InsureMe and MyDoctor.lk as its first investments, Fariq Cader, Vice President – Digital Services, Dialog Axiata PLC said, “Dialog continues to be at the forefront of innovation in the country’s ICT sector and we are happy to propel currently established or emerging companies in the field of digital based services. 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.”
Signaling the next step for the Digital Innovation Fund, Prajeeth Balasubramaniam, Co-founder, BOV Capital said, “We see a lot of potential for digital startups in the areas of Fin Tech, Health Tech, Edutainment, IoT and Media/Ad Tech. Since Dialog has provided the initial investment, we are focusing on finding and engaging with charismatic entrepreneurs who have a ‘can do’ attitude and those with a well-thought-out business plan, who are ready to go after the next big thing.”
The Digital Innovation Fund is looking to attract sector-agnostic digital startups that disrupt or transform industries, or create new sectors, in fields such as Big Data, AI, etc. Proposals for funding should include a business plan or investor deck, to be submitted via the Digital Innovation Fund’s website at www.dif.lk.
About Dialog Axiata Group
Dialog Axiata Group, a subsidiary of Axiata Group Berhad (Axiata), operates Sri Lanka’s Leading Quad-Play Connectivity Provider. Dialog Axiata PLC, listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange, 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 (Private) Ltd (DBN) and Dialog Television (Private) Ltd., (DTV). Dialog Axiata Group is Sri Lanka’s largest Foreign Direct Investor (FDI) with investments totaling USD 2.3 Billion.
The winner of six Global Mobile Awards, Dialog has the distinction of being voted by Sri Lankan Consumers as the Telecom Service Provider of the Year for seven years in succession at the SLIM-Nielsen People’s Choice Awards. Dialog was also voted by Sri Lankan consumers as the Internet Service Provider of the Year for six years consecutively, and has topped Sri Lanka’s Corporate Accountability rankings for the past eight years in succession, and is an ISO 9001 certified company. The Company has received numerous local and international awards including the National Quality Award and Sri Lanka Business Excellence Award.
Dialog has been at the forefront of innovation in the mobile industry in Sri Lanka since the late 90’s, 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.
About BOV Capital
BOV Capital is a Venture Capital Firm based in Sri Lanka and Singapore. Established to help startups 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 and help with all aspects of the business.
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 B2B and B2C software for international markets. To date, BOV Capital has provided Rs.2 Billion in funding 25 startups.
The founders of BOV Capital have also been instrumental in sparking and nurturing the startup ecosystem in Sri Lanka. This has been achieved by creating awareness through the Venture Engine program, creating a large investor/ mentor network, helping entrepreneurs build capability, 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.