PLDT sinks $5M into US-based Matrixx

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PLDT Capital, the investment arm of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT), rolled out its fourth investment in Silicon Valley with a $5 million stake in digital analytics provider Matrixx, as it seeks to transform its telco business into an expansive digital commerce business, the company said.

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“It is a bridge between telco services and digital commerce… from providing content to providing transaction platforms. This [investment with Matrixx]allows us to use that.” Winston Damarillo, PLDT Chief Strategy Advisor and PLDT Capital Co-Managing Director said in videoconference with the members of the media Wednesday.

Matrixx will enable Smart, PLDT’s mobile services subsidiary, to provide streamlined and targeted financial services to its subscribers. Through Matrixx’s technology working in conjunction with the group’s big data intelligence arm Talas, Smart’s subscribers can manage their mobile account usage and spending, tailor services, and choose ‘sachet-size’ packages based on their preferences and budgets, Damarillo said.

Damarillo explained that Matrixx fused with Talas’ technologies will provide billing and microbilling services and wallet management for mobile services subscribers, allowing PLDT go beyond just providing telecommunications services.

“Evolution of the telco into a Digital Service Provider requires viewing the customer through a different lens in order to identify new ways of serving them. We’re transforming the customer experience, and we chose MATRIXX Software because its technology and performance is unmatched, and they are able to help drive the PLDT Group’s digital vision more rapidly than anyone else.” Damarillo said.

PLDT’s $5 million investment in the Silicon Valley-based company gives the telco a roughly 4-percent stake in the US firm.

When it was launched in 2015, PLDT Capital had an initial budget of $50 million to be spent in strategic partnerships, acquisitions, and investments that would link the PLDT Group to companies in Silicon Valley.

By the close of 2015 PLDT had used only $36 million of the $50 million budget. PLDT Capital invested in Phunware, Hopscotch, and AppCard last year.

Damarrillo said that this year, however, the telco would be more conservative in terms of investments and acquisitions.

“We will be a bit more conservative this year. [There are] more investments than acquisitions.” Damarillo said.

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