Cradle Fund has sealed its first two deals with co-investment partner OSK Ventures International (OSKVI), both parties committing a total of MYR2 million ($550,000) in two Malaysian technology startups.
Both startups received MYR1 million each from this round of fundraising, which means Cradle and OSKVI have each equally invested MYR500,000 in each deal.
The agreement under Cradle’s co-investment programme, launched late last year, stipulates that the early stage startup influencer and its co-investment partners consent to a one-to-one matching deal where Cradle will fund up to MYR500,000 and the its partners will invest the same amount, or equivalent in Singapore dollars.
The funding will drive Sync Media’s sales and marketing of its School Communication Platform, a software for strategic and more efficient parent-teacher communication.
Sync Media founder Zharif Sharif said the company plans to aggressively expand its technical and sales team as it prepares to reach a nationwide market by 2016. Currently, its platform is applied in 80 urban schools.
“By 2017, we’re looking to expand to the greater Southeast Asian region by leveraging our partners,” he said.
As for MauKerja.my, the funds will go into renewing its marketing efforts and hiring new talents to support growth this year. The hiring portal, which focus is on non-executive job listings, plans to expand into the Philippines and Indonesia.
“We will continue to focus on the Malaysian market before expanding beyond our shores,’ founder Ray Teng said.
Cradle vice president of investment and relationship management Juliana Jan said at the announcement ceremony yesterday: “We are delighted to announce our first two co-investment deals, and hope to be signing two more in the next quarter.”
“By co-investing with partners like OSKVI, we’re opening up new funding options for capable and scalable startups to cultivate their ideas into globally competitive products and services,” she added.
For OSKVI, this is also the firm’s first venture capital deployments, as the firm had only focused on private equity deals prior.
A representative from the firm said that its management had observed a gap in the private funding industry, where growth stage funding such as Series A to C was lacking in Malaysia and the region. “We have always done late-stage funding in private equity deals, and we saw that there is quite a lot of angel investments and seed-stage funds but not many in between,” the representative said.
As for its strategy, OSKVI does not have any designated venture capital fund to deploy.
Another representative from the firm shared that OSKVI’s key investment strategy is to invest from an open-ended fund, which gives the firm more flexibility in looking for investee companies. “The beauty of it is that we don’t have any specific private equity or venture capital fund with a shelf life therefore there is no drawdown,” the representative said, “Whenever we see a good deal, we invest from our internal funds.”
OSKVI is the venture capital and private equity affiliate of OSK Holdings Bhd, a public company listed on Bursa Malaysia, chiefly involved in investment holding, property investment and capital financing. The group, despite being public-listed, is owned by the substantial shareholder and non-executive director Ong Leong Huat, with 60% of interest in the group.
All OSKVI representatives at the announcement ceremony declined to be named.
Last year, Sync Media secured a $78,840 round of angel investment to develop its School Communication Platform. Terms of the investment were not disclosed but Zharif had revealed that the angel investor, who only went by his initials BK, was a serial investor with a corporate background attached to the Technology Park Malaysia (TPM) Angels Chapter.
MauKerja.my, which was among the finalists of Alliance Bank’s BizSmart Academy SME Innovation Challenge 2014, had been self-funded until now.