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Axiata Digital Innovation Fund Welcomes Johor Corp As Partner to Further Drive Malaysia’s Digital Ambitions

2017-05-05

KUALA LUMPUR, 3 May 2017 – Axiata Digital Innovation Fund (ADIF), Malaysia’s largest corporate venture capital fund, today welcomed state investment arm, Johor Corporation (JCorp), as its new investor to further drive Malaysia’s digital industry. ADIF, a collaboration between Axiata Group Berhad (Axiata) and Malaysia Venture Capital Management Berhad (MAVCAP), was established in support of the Government’s objective of building a comprehensive digital ecosystem to support the growing digital economy. The fund is further directed to help build up the capabilities of local digital companies, especially Bumiputeras, to become successful regional and international players.

At a signing ceremony today, JCorp announced a RM10 million investment in ADIF, adding to RM50 million and RM20 million committed by Axiata and MAVCAP respectively, with the remaining to be raised from other principal investors to achieve the RM100 million target fund size.

Founded in late 2014, ADIF’s purpose is to aid digital startups that are already revenue-generating operations requiring further support to grow in terms of funding, know-how and market access. Additionally, through Axiata’s extensive market reach of approximately 320 million across Asia together with in-depth knowledge of the region, ADIF provides Malaysian digital entrepreneurs with unprecedented access to regional customers and partnership opportunities.

To date, with over RM30 million committed, ADIF has under its belt a total of 13 investee companies in various sectors including travel, business services, food and beverage, education, telematics, logistics and consumer lifestyle. A total of 46% of the investee companies are Bumiputera companies and ADIF targets 70% of its fund to be channelled towards these digital startups. At end 2016, Collectively, ADIF’s portfolio companies have grown 240% over the last two years, generating almost RM60 million in revenue and supporting 918 direct jobs.

Tan Sri Jamaludin Ibrahim, Group Chief Executive Officer of the Axiata Group, said, “We are pleased to welcome JCorp as our partner in ADIF. Their commitment is symbolic of their support and belief in the objectives of the Fund.

“Geared towards becoming a New Generation Digital Champion, Axiata is in an excellent position to collaborate with innovative and high-potential digital companies to help them become profitable and sustainable. Further, in line with our purpose of “Advancing Asia”, we started this fund as part of our corporate responsibility. By 2020, Axiata hopes to nurture and fund a substantial number of Bumiputera and Malaysian digital services businesses with an end goal of building four to five regional champions. Going by the early successes of ADIF, Axiata has now replicated the fund model in Cambodia through our operating company, Smart Axiata.”

YB Dato’ Kamaruzzaman, President & Chief Executive of JCorp, commented, “In this age of business disruptions, corporations must be able to see around corners. JCorp will extend this capability with our participation in ADIF. Concurrently, this creates a conducive environment for JCorp. As a conglomerate with an interest in key sectors of the Malaysian economy, including healthcare, food and beverage, property and plantation, we will have the opportunity to integrate some of the solutions provided by ADIF’s startups into relevant aspects of the business, as a quick win which is mutually beneficial.”

Encik Jamaludin Bujang, Chief Executive Officer, MAVCAP, added, “As Malaysia’s leading VC firm, MAVCAP is committed to nurturing the growth of startups and entrepreneurs in order to develop a world-class digital ecosystem. To this end, JCorp’s investment in ADIF is indeed laudable, as this is in line with our vision of encouraging Malaysian corporations to realise the value in actively participating in the VC industry. Supporting funds such as ADIF helps to unlock potential by creating greater prospects for startups and enabling them to remain competitive in an increasingly globalised economic environment.”

ADIF is managed by Intres Capital Partners, a subsidiary of MAVCAP and a partnership between MAVCAP, Questmark Capital Management and Teak Capital Sdn Bhd, ensuring that ADIF’s portfolio companies benefit from the partners’ extensive network and cumulative experience of 50 years in the venture capital industry.

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About Axiata Group Berhad
As one of the largest Asian telecommunication companies, Axiata today operates in ten countries, servicing approximately 320 million subscribers. With a diverse portfolio in mobile network operations, communications infrastructure services and digital services, the Group pieces together the best in connectivity, technology and people in its vision of Advancing Asia.

Axiata has controlling stakes in market leading mobile operators in South East Asia and South Asia. Axiata Group of companies operate under the brand name of ‘Celcom’ in Malaysia, ‘XL’ in Indonesia, ‘Dialog’ in Sri Lanka, ‘Robi’ in Bangladesh, ‘Smart’ in Cambodia and 'Ncell' in Nepal. Further to this, the Group also holds strategic interests in ‘Idea’ in India and ‘M1’ in Singapore.

‘edotco’, the Group’s infrastructure company, operates in six countries to deliver telecommunications infrastructure services, amassing a portfolio of over 16,000 towers and 12,000 km of fibre. It aims to be one of the top regional tower companies and is committed to responsible and sustainable business operations.

Axiata Digital (AD), its digital services arm, captures the rapid growth in internet-based businesses through its portfolio of 29 digital brands, servicing growing demands in mobile money, mobile adverting, e-commerce, entertainment and education.

As a committed and long-term investor, Axiata provides employment to 25,000 people within its operations. In line with its sustainability goals, the Group actively supports and drives young talent development; disaster response and recovery; as well as green initiatives.