Sri Lanka’s first venture fund to focus on digital startups, is managed by BOV Capital
From left: Prajeeth Balasubramaniam, Co-founder, BOV Capital, Supun Weerasinghe, Group Chief Executive, Dialog Axiata PLC, Fariq Cader, Vice President – Digital Services, Dialog Axiata PLC, Sameera Wijerathna, CEO, MyDoctor.lk, Mustafa Kassim, CEO, Roar Media and Vipula Dharmapala, Director/CEO – Insureme.lk
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 percent 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.”