Cambodian telecommunications firm Smart Axiata has launched the Smart Axiata Digital Innovation Fund to provide advice, development opportunities and funding to fintech start-ups in the digital service sector.
Phnom Penh-headquartered Smart Axiata’s Smart Axiata Digital Innovation Fund (SDIF) is providing guidance and business development opportunities to digital services sector fintech start-ups across Cambodia, as well as investments ranging from $25,000 to $500,000.
The level of funding available to start-ups is calculated based on stage of development, industry, and funding requirements, and has been devised through Smart Axiata’s partnership with investment firm, Mekong Strategic Partners.
At a launch event last week, Smart Axiata chief executive, Thomas Hundt, said digital services and fintech initiatives were a harbinger of progress in the Cambodian economy, and cited citizens’ growing affinity for digital-first services, as well as high adoption rates.
“The rapid introduction of smartphones and the willingness to embrace new apps and services are the coming strides towards a digital future,” he said.
“This will result in Cambodia accessing the internet and interacting anytime, anywhere, leading to increased efficiency and connectivity.”
Cambodian start-ups are expected to place significant attention on the development of mobile and payments services moving forward, after an Asian Foundation and Open Institute December 2016 report found one in two Cambodians own smartphones.