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New RM100 million fund to nurture Bumiputera and Malaysian digital services innovators

2014-11-04

KUALA LUMPUR, 4 November 2014 — Axiata Group Berhad (Axiata) and Malaysia Venture Capital Management Berhad (MAVCAP) today signed an agreement for the establishment of a RM100 million venture capital fund, the Axiata Digital Innovation Fund (ADIF). Representing the largest digital corporate venture capital fund in Malaysia, ADIF will encourage and spur innovation and growth of Malaysia’s digital ecosystem. The signing ceremony was witnessed by the Hon Prime Minister, YAB Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak and YB Dato’ Sri Ahmad Shabery Cheek, Minister of Communications and Multimedia.

Axiata will commit a total of RM50 million to the Fund while MAVCAP will commit RM20 million, for phase one, with the remaining to be raised from other principal investors.

In support of the Government’s objective to build up the capabilities of local technology companies, especially Bumiputeras, ADIF will aid companies in the digital services space with innovative products and market fit. These companies will be revenue generating but require support to grow in terms of funding, know-how and market access. Through Axiata’s extensive market reach of over 13 million customers in Malaysia and over 250 million across Asia together with in-depth knowledge of the region, Malaysian digital services entrepreneurs will have unprecedented access to funding and regional partnership opportunities.

Dato’ Sri Jamaludin Ibrahim, President and Group Chief Executive Officer of the Axiata Group said, “We are very excited about the venture which will support the fast growing digital services business and promote innovation, which is crucial to the telco industry and national development. Axiata has been growing significantly over the last few years and now feel a responsibility to spur other Malaysian companies, especially Bumiputeras, to become successful too. Via this programme, we intend to nurture talent, enabling them to grow bigger and faster. This is very much in line with our purpose of “Advancing Asia” via connectivity, technology and talent. We aim to make a real difference to people’s lives and help to transform the economies of the countries in which we operate.”

He added, “We are also very happy to partner with Malaysia’s largest venture capital firm, MAVCAP, to complement our capabilities.”

Encik Jamaludin Bujang, Chief Executive Officer of MAVCAP, said, “We are indeed pleased to embark on this collaboration with Axiata. This is a unique partnership as it is among the first few between a Government-backed venture capital firm and a corporate investor. The new Fund is in line with MAVCAP’s aspiration to increase availability of funding for deserving companies, while at the same time reducing dependence on Government funding. We hope that with this initiative, more Malaysian corporations will realise the value in actively investing and participating in venture capital funds. This is all the more crucial for Malaysian multinational companies (MNCs), as they must take steps to remain competitive in an increasingly globalised economic environment, particularly in the face of fiercer competition expected from foreign-owned MNCs as the economy becomes more liberalised in the future. The move is also in line with MAVCAP’s role as an enabler in Malaysia’s VC funding ecosystem.”

MAVCAP and its partners, Teak Capital and Questmark Capital are the Fund Managers of this new Fund.

“By 2020, Axiata hopes to nurture and fund a substantial number of Bumiputera and Malaysian digital services businesses and build 5 to 10 regional champions. The programme supports the Malaysian Government’s call for the transformation of the nation into a developed and high income economy that is sustainable and inclusive by creating a pool of knowledge workers in high-value jobs,” concluded Dato’ Sri Jamaludin.

About Axiata
Axiata is one of the largest Asian telecommunications companies. Axiata has controlling interests in mobile operators in Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Cambodia with significant strategic stakes in India and Singapore. In addition, the Malaysian grown holding company has a stake in non-mobile telecommunication operations in Pakistan.

The Group’s mobile subsidiaries and associates operate under the brand name ‘Celcom’ in Malaysia, ‘XL’ in Indonesia, ‘Dialog’ in Sri Lanka, ‘Robi’ in Bangladesh, ‘Smart’ in Cambodia, ‘Idea’ in India and ‘M1’ in Singapore.

The Group, including its subsidiaries and associates, has over 250 million mobile subscribers in Asia. The Group revenue for 2013 was USD5.8 billion. The Group provides employment to over 20,000 people across Asia. Axiata’s vision is to be a regional champion by 2015 by piecing together the best throughout the region in connectivity, technology and talent, uniting them towards a single goal: Advancing Asia.Axiata was awarded the Frost & Sullivan 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 Asia Pacific ICT Award for Best Telecom Group and the Telecom Asia Best Regional Mobile Group 2010 and 2011 for its operations in multiple Asian markets.

About MAVCAP
Malaysia Venture Capital Management Berhad (MAVCAP) was established in 2001. Formed to realise the Government’s mission to support Malaysian-based information, communications and technology (ICT) companies as well as the growth of the venture capital (VC) industry, today MAVCAP is the country’s largest VC company with investments in the ICT sector and other high-growth industries.

MAVCAP is a company owned by the Minister of Finance Incorporated.