BIMA, the InsurTech pioneer bringing microinsurance to underserved families in emerging markets, today announced the close of an investment of USD16.8 million by Axiata Digital, the digital services arm of Axiata Group Berhad (Axiata), one of Asia’s largest telecommunications groups.

The Asian telecommunications giant, with presence in 10 countries and over 320 million customers across the region, already works with BIMA as a partner in several markets. The transition to shareholder deepens the integration between BIMA, and the Group while opening up new high-growth markets across Asia.

Together, BIMA, Axiata Digital and Axiata have revolutionised access to insurance in Asia, using mobile technology to deliver services that are inaccessible via traditional channels. For example, in less than a year, BIMA together with Axiata’s subsidiary Smart, has become the largest provider of life insurance in Cambodia. At end 2016, approximately 3 million Axiata customers in three of its operating companies are covered by mobile insurance policies.

BIMA founder and CEO Gustaf Agartson 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.”

“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.”

“Alongside product development, we will prioritise geographic expansion through new local partnerships that will bring these life-changing 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”

Axiata Digital joins existing shareholders, Kinnevik, Milicom (Tigo), LeapFrog Investments and Digicel. Axiata Digital replaces existing shareholders commitment for the second instalment of a C-series fundraising completed in June 2015. BIMA has raised USD75 million since launch.