SADIF stands for Smart Axiata Digital Innovation Fund. It is Cambodia’s first venture capital fund focusing solely on digital companies. Managed by Mekong Strategic Partners (MSP), with investments from Smart Axiata, as well as Forte Insurance, the priority for SADIF is Cambodia focused technology companies.
SADIF provides support for the companies and aids their businesses growth. This is done through advancing their networks and expanding their company presence to a wider area and a wider customer demographic.
The main objective for SADIF is to invest in the next generation of transformational companies that make up the digital ecosystem. The hope is that with five million dollars to invest in Cambodian based digital services and start up, SADIF can spur the digital revolution in Cambodia.
SADIF have just announced their latest investments here in Cambodia. The first is a Cambodian based solar energy software company called Okra. The second company is Sousdey. Sousdey is a digital marketing platform that specialises in enterprise solutions for management of customer relations.
Bora Kem, partner of Mekong Strategic Partners said, “Our investment into Okra underlines the importance of innovation to address issues relevant to [the] most under-served population while still deriving attractive economics and impacts on a global scale”.
Okra helps rural communities access solar power technology for their homes at an accessible and affordable price point. It does this by using its advanced distribution of energy technology. The software that Okra creates, enables solar panels and batteries to be connected to smart microgrids. A microgrid is a small network of people using electricity that has a local supply source.
Usually this network is attached to a larger centralised electricity grid. The microgrid is able to function independently of the centralised grid. A smart microgrid is internet enabled, it can relay real time data to remote destinations for analysis.
Okra are an Internet of Things (IoT) company. The IoT is a new idea. It refers to the interconnection of devices via the internet, like the smart microgrids. These devices are inanimate objects with computing capabilities embedded within them, this enables the objects to send and receive data.
Okra software enables power distributors to remotely control and monitor electricity usage and systems, as well as receiving real-time data about customer behaviour and usage. In turn this data can be used to predict and prepare for periods of high and low usage in advance. This can prevent load shedding and power cuts to remote communities, communities that rely on affordable and reliable access to electricity.
Okra has already provided 500 people and 100 households in Cambodia with affordable electricity.
Afnan Hannan, Co-Founder of Okra said, “We are very excited to receive support from SADIF. It was a natural choice to partner with Smart as we already use network connectivity to remotely manage and control our IoT microgrids … we need to make sure communities have access to energy.”
The second company that SADIF has invested in is Sousdey Cambodia.
The company began operations in 2017 and is known in the Cambodian market for its Facebook messenger chatbot and its development of Khmer Natural Language processing on an Artificial Intelligence (AI) based platform.
Facebook and Facebook Messenger are ubiquitous for SMEs and businesses in Cambodia. Without Sousdey’s valuable input, Cambodian businesses would struggle to effectively communicate with their customers over these platforms.
“Sousdey Cambodia highlights the speed and scale of AI-based software to solve engagement issues in a customer-facing business,” said Kem in reference to Sousdey.
As well as these innovations, Sousdey also provides access to a messaging and analytics platform for customer relationship management.
On the platform, merchants can customise solutions to automate interactions with customers. Enabling actions like the broadcast of promotions, order fulfillment, customer support and reservations.
Charles Cheo, CEO of Forte Insurance, a limited partner of SADIF said, “The fast e-commerce market growth gives merchants opportunities to build relationships with customers virtually. However, a common pain point is that since every transaction is processed manually, problems can arise throughout the process. Sousdey’s enterprise solution is capable to address both the customers and merchants”.
Sousdey already serves 800 corporate and small and medium sized enterprises clients, facilitating more than two million conversations through its platform.
Founder and CEO of Sousdey Cambodia, Djibril Cisse said, “the funding from SADIF will greatly support our platform development while reinforcing our sales and marketing efforts to expand our product. Sousdey looks forward to collaborating with Smart, Forte and MSP to help access enterprise clients and build world class enterprise products”.
The technology sector is growing globally and Cambodia is no exception. The continued growth will need to be serviced by more and better infrastructure.
SADIF promises to continue investing in Cambodian technology companies and help to future proof the market.