Bangkok-based venture capital firm Ardent Capital has exited Sri Lanka-based e-commerce portfolio, Wow.Ik, after Dialog Axiata (Dialog) increased its stake in Digital Commerce Lanka Pvt (DCL), an operator of Wow.Ik, up to 100 per cent.
Dialog, the operator of Sri Lanka’s largest mobile network, initially purchased a 26-per-cent entry stake for $1.59 million, and increased to 45.71 per cent in DCL before it paid an additional 247.9 million rupees to acquire all the remaining shares.
Wow.Ik, formerly Anything.Ik, was established in 2011. One year later it merged several of Sri Lanka’s top e-commerce sites owned by Dialog including iBuy.Ik, and Tradenet.Ik into Wow.Ik, making DCL the largest daily deals site and online mall in Sri Lanka.
Reeza Zarook, Co-Founder of Anything.lk and former CEO of DCL, said in the statement that Anything.Ik was the catalyst for a whole new industry and changed the face of daily deals and retailing in Sri Lanka.
“The fact that there are in excess of 50 standalone ecommerce sites today, not to mention traditional brick and mortar business with ecommerce divisions, demonstrates the permanent change that came about from Anything.lk’s existence,” he said.
Wow.Ik was Ardent Capital’s first portfolio investment and began as a daily deals service before evolving into an online retail model.
It now includes a staff of approximately 100 employees. Its current services include Wow Deals, Travel, Tickets, WowMall, Classifieds, and an online financing application for all purchases made on the platform.
“Wow.lk is a perfect example of how a big player in a smaller market can be involved in multiple business verticals successfully,” Ardent Capital’s CEO Adrian Vanzyl cited.
“In Sri Lanka, the market was and still is nascent in the sense that consumers like to have the option of using e-commerce combined with a physical offering as well. The synergies provided by this deal drive this concept and help set a solid growth projection for e-commerce in Sri Lanka,” he added.