Mobile users across several APAC countries could soon be viewing ads to unlock discounts and perks thanks to a strategic partnership between Unlockd and Axiata Digital.
Part of Axiata Group Berhad, Axiata Digital has become the lead investor in Unlockd's just-closed Series B funding round, which raised US$23 million from Axiata, existing and early-stage investors, and a new venture-capital firm, Australia-based Alium.
The deal will give Unockd direct access to Axiata’s carrier businesses and local knowledge, overseen by Aliza Knox, who was recently hired as chief operating officer. Axiata has mobile operations in Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Nepal, India and Singapore. The company claims to have 320 million mobile subscribers. It also has a presence, but not mobile operations, in Pakistan and Myanmar.
The deal gives Unlockd an "expedited pathway into one of the fastest growing smartphone regions in the world", CEO and co-founder Matt Berriman said in a release. The service will be able to roll out sooner than previously planned in these markets, and the money will also help Unlockd scale its operations globally.
Axiata said Unlockd will help lower customer-acquisition cost, increase revenue-per-user, and minimise churn, according to CEO Mohd Khairil Abdullah. “For our customers, Unlockd’s unique value exchange offer will reward them for viewing ads and content on their mobile devices," he said. "It will allow our customers to have more credit to stay in touch with friends, family, and their peers.”
Since its Series A funding round, Unlockd has launched Unlockd Connect in the USA with Sprint Telecom subsidiary Boost Mobile, the UK with Tesco Mobile, the Caribbean with Digicel Group, and Etisalat in the UAE. The company's second product vertical, Unlockd Stream, launched in 2017 with MTV and provides an ad and content funded platform for premium subscription content providers.