Dialog Axiata launches $150m fund for Sri Lankan digital startups

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Sri Lankan operator Dialog Axiata announced the launch of the Digital Innovation Fund, the country’s first digital venture capital fund to exclusively focus on financially supporting Sri Lankan digital startups.

The fund, initiated and anchored by Dialog, aims to invest LKR 2.3 billion ($150.5 million) in local startups – mostly early stage companies – with each investment ranging between LKR 50 million to LKR 200 million per company. The fund will also set aside 20% of its total amount to invest in startups in their seed stage, especially those which are looking for investments below LKR 40 million per company.

The fund will be managed by fund management firm BOV Capital, which specializes in technology investments.

The Digital Innovation Fund will invest in startups that have strong business models, have proven product market fit, demonstrated some ability to expand in Sri Lanka and have the potential to become market shaping digital businesses in the country and beyond.

In addition to financing, the fund will provide support for start-ups and businesses through mentoring, knowledge sharing and business development. Potential investees will also gain insight to marketing, and other critical business processes leveraging strengths of the Smart Axiata Digital Innovation Fund, a similar venture capital fund that was set up to support incubation programs in Cambodia. This will further help create and realize value that remains untapped.

“Small, medium and large scale digital based service providers will be the focus of the Digital Innovation Fund, and we will be selecting potential candidates through a systematic evaluation process,” said Supun Weerasinghe, group CEO of Dialog Axiata.

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