Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Smart Axiata Digital Innovation Fund invests in local BanhJi, Thai-based DRVR

Smart Axiata Digital Innovation Fund invests in local BanhJi, Thai-based DRVR

Smart Axiata Digital Innovation Fund invests in local BanhJi, Thai-based DRVR

Tech start-ups BanhJi FinTech Co Ltd and Driver Design Studio Ltd (DRVR) on December 16 bagged an investment fund from the Smart Axiata Digital Innovation Fund (SADIF) to further expand their businesses and meet the needs of their customers, SADIF said in a press release.

Local firm BanhJi is a financial platform for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) while the Thai-based DRVR is a fleet analytics software provider for logistics and passenger vehicles.

SADIF is a $5 million venture capital fund that focuses exclusively on digital firms. Managed by Mekong Strategic Partners Co Ltd (MSP) and backed by investments from Malaysian-owned Smart Axiata Co Ltd, a leading telecommunications service provider in the Kingdom, as well as Forte Insurance (Cambodia) Plc, the priority for SADIF is Cambodia-focused technology companies.

BanhJi co-founder Sim Chankiriroth said SADIF’s investment will advance the company’s mission to provide superior services for MSMEs and contribute to the Kingdom’s efforts toward financial inclusion.

“We founded BanhJi with the mission of powering MSME financial inclusion. In SADIF, we found a partner who not only shares this mission and our values but also has a track record that will help accelerate our progress so we can do even more for current and new customers,” SADIF quoted him as saying.

And DRVR founder and CEO David Henderson said: “DRVR is delighted to receive this investment and establish a strategic partnership with SADIF. We look forward to jointly offering mobile-first telematics solutions with Forte and Smart Axiata.

“Our investment and strategic partnership with Forte particularly will allow us to extend our service and operations into Cambodia, in line with our regional expansion plans. We see huge potential for growth not only in Cambodia but across the ASEAN region,” he was quoted as saying.

MSP partner Bora Kem said the investments into BanhJi and DRVR underline the importance of technology in facilitating data-informed smart decisions.

He said BanhJi’s platform aspires to enhance the reliability of the financial reports prepared by the Kingdom’s MSMEs and bridge the financial gap troubling many of them.

Meanwhile, he said, DRVR’s internet of things (IoT) and real-time analytics intend to cut down on logistics customers’ fleet management costs and prevent road casualties.

Smart Axiata CEO Thomas Hundt pointed out that MSMEs are one of the strongest engines of employment and the economy, but are beleaguered by inefficient financial management.

“BanhJi has developed a local solution to serve Cambodian MSMEs to develop a proper financial report, thereby enhancing their financing opportunity. We are happy to contribute to MSMEs’ development through our SADIF investment in BanhJi,” SADIF quoted him as saying.

The two investments have expanded the SADIF portfolio of promising digital businesses to 10, joining Morakot Technology Co Ltd, Joonaak Enterprise Solutions Co Ltd (Joonaak Delivery), GO24 (Cambodia) Co Ltd (Nham24), Goama Pte Ltd (GoGames), Sala Tech Digital Solutions (Cambodia) Co Ltd, Okra Solar Co Ltd, Sousdey Cambodia and Agribuddy Co Ltd.

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