First three win­ners of Smart Ax­i­ata fund an­nounced

The Phnom Penh Post - - BUSINESS - Robin Spiess

THE first three re­cip­i­ents of fund­ing from the Smart Ax­i­ata Di g i t a l In­no­vat i o n Fund (SADIF), a $5 mil­lion ven­ture cap­i­tal fund com­mit­ted to dig­i­tal ser­vice com­pa­nies and star­tups, were an­nounced yes­ter­day, while Smart also wel­comed Forte In­sur­ance (Cam­bo­dia) Plc as a co-in­vestor in the fund.

Thomas Hundt, CEO of Smart Ax­i­ata, said at an event yes­ter­day that Joon­aak De­liv­ery, Mo­rakot Tech­nolo­gies and Ani­waa 3D-print­ing were the first re­cip­i­ents of the fund. How­ever, nei­ther the amounts awarded to the com­pa­nies nor the in­jec­tion of cap­i­tal by Forte into the fund were an­nounced.

“Mekong Strate­gic Part­ners have screened the mar­ket [for Smart to ver­ify the most vi­able can­di­dates for fund­ing], and it is re­mark­able to present the first three,” Hundt said. “For sure there will be more inves- tees an­nounced soon.”

Leakhena Long, from Joon­aak De­liv­ery, a com­pany she co-founded, said that the fund would help ex­pand busi­ness op­er­a­tions. Launched in 2014, Joon­aak spe­cialises in pro­vid­ing lo­gis­ti­cal and de­liv­ery sup­port for on­line shops.

“So far, we have been in busi­ness over two years and have de­liv­ered 69,500 pack­ages,” she said. “We are ex­cited we got se­lected to be one of the [SADIF] in­vestees, and with the prize we are in­tro­duc­ing our new mo­bile ap­pli­ca­tion for our clients.”

Ripe for growth

Speak­ing on be­half of Mo­rakot Tech­nolo­gies, co-founder Sophorth Khuon ex­plained how the cloud-based bank­ing plat­form, launched just over two years ago, had al­ready grown to ser­vice 26,000 clients with a col­lec­tive port­fo­lio of around $85 mil­lion.

Martin Lansard, CEO of Ani­waa, said he had only just re­ceived word of be­ing awarded fund­ing yes­ter­day morn­ing. His com­pany, which has been based in Cam­bo­dia since 2014, is one of the most en­com­pass­ing com­par­i­son web­sites for 3D prin­ters in the world.

“With this eq­uity part­ner­ship, we will be in a stronger po­si­tion to build a world-class con­tent team,” he said. “We will also strengthen our sites and rich data­base ca­pa­bil­i­ties.”

Kem Bora, in­vest­ment man­ager for Mekong Strate­gic Part­ners, said that the fund was be­ing used to iden­tify busi­nesses that are ripe for growth and can have an im­me­di­ate pos­i­tive im­pact.

“The three who made the cut this round are well-po­si­tioned to go to the next level,” he said.

The Smart in­no­va­tion fund was launched in March of this year, with Mekong Strate­gic Part­ners as part of the in­vest­ment com­mit­tee, and aims to in­vest in at least 15 com­pa­nies over five years.

HONG MENEA

Smart Ax­i­ata CEO Thomas Hundt speaks at an event yes­ter­day in Ph­nom Penh.

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