Unlockd scoops $23m; Asian telco group backs venture

Daisy Doctor
By Daisy Doctor | 25 May 2017
Unlockd CEO and co-founder Matt Berriman

Australian technology mobile startup Unlockd has partnered with Malaysian-based telco Axiata Digital during its series B round of funding, which closed at $US23 million.

The partnership enables Australian-founded Unlockd to make headaway into Asia, with plans to enter Malaysia, Indonesia, India and Singapore.

Unlockd has been expanding rapidly since it was founded in 2014. The company makes its money by getting consumers to view ads on the locked screens of their mobile in return for discounts on mobile data bills.

In 2015, it launched funding that raised close to $15m. At the time, local backers of the business included Peter Gammell, former MD and CEO Seven Group Holdings, Seek.com, Hitwise; Sam Mostyn, a board member with the Virgin Australia and the AFL Commission; Margaret Jackson, chair of Spotless.

In late 2016 it entered the Caribbean markets, partnering with Jamaican-based telco Digicel in its second round of funding.

Unlockd's presence in Asia will be overseen by recently appointed chief operating officer Aliza Knox, who previously spent time building Twitter's presence in the region.

“The Asia has always been a strategic focus for us but we have been patient to ensure we had the right entry strategy, including a strong local partner,” Unlockd CEO Matt Berriman says.

“We've always known APAC would be a key region for us. The strategic partnership will provide local knowledge and key talent in the region, overseen by Aliza, who brings a wealth of experience in the region,” Berriman says.

Asia Pacific is a key growth area for the company, as the GSM Association estimates there are more than 2.5 billion mobile subscribers in the region, with a forecast of 3.1 billion by 2020.

Axiata Digital CEO Mohd Khairil said Unlockd's technology will bolster the company's leadership position in the market across its mobile business and help “lower acquisition cost, increase ARPU and minimise customer churn”.

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