Axiata Digital invests US$16.8 mil into Swedish insurtech, BIMA

  • Micro insurance player has 27 million customers across 16 countries
  • Alongside product development, Axiata to prioritise geographic expansion

AXIATA Digital, the digital services arm of Axiata Group Berhad (Axiata) has made its 29th startup deal, announcing last week a US$16.8 million investment into BIMA, a 2011 founded micro insurance player from Sweden which targets underserved families in emerging markets and which has raised US$75 million since its launch.

Axiata Digital joins existing shareholders, Kinnevik, Milicom (Tigo), LeapFrog Investments and Digicel while its investment replaces existing shareholders commitment for the second instalment of a C-series fundraising completed in June 2015.

With presence in 10 countries and over 320 million customers across the region, Axiata already works with BIMA as a partner in several markets. The transition to shareholder deepens the integration with BIMA while opening upAxiata Digital invests US$16.8 mil into Swedish insurtech, BIMA new high-growth markets across Asia to the startup which already has a presence in a 16 countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia, reaching 27 million customers.

BIMA founder and CEO Gustaf Agartson (pic, right) said “Asia is a key region for BIMA. It is home to some of our most successful and profitable markets as well as the consumers who will drive the digital services revolution. Axiata Digital’s investment will ensure that BIMA continues to lead the industry and capitalises on the significant opportunity in Asia.”

Commenting on the deal, Mohd Khairil Abdullah, CEO of Axiata Digital, said, "Investing in BIMA is a strategic move that positions Axiata Digital and Axiata mobile operating companies to shape the future of digital services in Asia.”

Together, BIMA and Axiata have revolutionised access to insurance in Asia, using mobile technology to deliver services that are inaccessible via traditional channels. BIMA’s technology platforms create a paperless experience and enable scale, while the agent force distributes products and provides customer education

Working together with Axiata’s subsidiary Smart Axiata Co, Ltd, BIMA has become the largest provider of life insurance in Cambodia – in less than a year. At end 2016, approximately 3 million Axiata customers in three of its operating companies are covered by mobile insurance policies.

“As a long-term partner, we recognise the strength of BIMA's technology and model, and have seen its growth trajectory. Our shared commitment to innovation is a key driver behind Axiata Digital’s investment. Together we have the potential to transform the way consumers across Asia access and use products in the digital age,” says Khairil.

Alongside product development, Axiata will prioritise geographic expansion through new local partnerships to bring BIMA’s services to millions of families across Asia.

Chris Bischoff, BIMA chairman and senior investment director at Kinnevik, said, “Axiata’s investment in BIMA brings together two of the leading names in digital financial services in a move that will define the future of the industry. This investment will fuel BIMA’s growth in Asia and continued dominance as the emerging market insurtech leader.”

BIMA and Axiata today operate local partnerships with Dialog Axiata Plc (Sri Lanka), Robi Axiata Limited (Bangladesh) and Smart.

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