The announcement comes just a month after the telco purchased up to a 30 per cent stake in local digital media and entertainment group, Sabay Digital Corporation.
Each of the three startups will receive between US$25,000 and US$500,000 in investment.
“Following months of diligent review of the applications we received, we are also pleased to unveil Joonaak, Morakot and Aniwaa as the first companies to receive funding from SADIF. Smart is at the centre of Cambodia’s digital revolution and we look forward to working with these innovative companies to develop and grow their digital businesses,” said Smart Axiata CEO Thomas Hundt.
Here is a brief bio of the three startups:
Joonaak Delivery is an e-commerce, logistics and delivery service for corporates and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Using a technology-enabled platform, Joonaak optimises deliveries and focuses customer service with on-the-ground delivery personnel and a network of delivery partners throughout Cambodia. Joonaak provides e-commerce merchants with warehousing, checkout, customer service, payments and deliveries. It currently has over 250 merchants on its platform and has delivered over 30,000 packages to happy customers since its inception in 2014.
Morakot Technologies is a cloud-based core banking platform for microfinance institutions and banks. Morakot was formed in 2014 by a group of banking, technology and microfinance veterans to provide secured, customisable and reliable software-as-a-service solutions in Cambodia. Since its launch in 2015, the company has served 26 microfinance institutions with 26,000 clients and a collective loan portfolio of over US$85 million.
Formed in 2013 and based in Cambodia since 2014, Aniwaa is a comparison website for 3D printers in the world. The startup was founded by childhood friends Pierre-Antoine Arrighi and Martin Lansard, who quit his job at Google to focus on Aniwaa. Martin now runs the company from its headquarters at Confluences Incubator in Phnom Penh.
Working closely with manufacturers, Aniwaa offers in-depth 3D printers reviews and powerful comparison tools for thousands of products, and quickly gained traction with industry insiders as the leading authority on 3D printing hardware with thousands of site visits a day. It is now looking to leverage its expertise to expand into new categories and become a global leader in the review of cutting-edge tech hardware. Aniwaa is a member of the 3D Printing Association and La French Tech Cambodge.
SADIF was created in March this year by Smart Axiata and managed by investment and advisory firm Mekong Strategic Partners (MSP). Forte Insurance is also co-investor in SADIF, which aims to invest and provide strategic insights into creative and dynamic Cambodian-based digital businesses.
“We look for businesses where funding could have immediate positive impact and where the markets are ripe for emerging technologies. The three who made the cut this round are both well-positioned to go to the next level, and we are confident that the investment as well as the strategic inputs and business development from Smart, Forte and MSP will supercharge their next phase of growth,” said Kem Bora, Investment Manager of MSP.
“Cambodia’s tech space has the potential to become a very significant contributor to the country’s economic development. That’s what we’re seeing now and that’s why we created SADIF and why we are pumping money into the system,” added Hundt.