Malaysia: Cradle revamps funding programme, unveils new pre-seed product

Cradle Fund office. Photo from Cradle's official Facebook Page.

Malaysia’s early stage startup influencer Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd has restructured its early-stage funding programmes and launched CIP300, a pre-seed investment product for funding up to MYR300,000.

The revamp follows its announcement late last year that it was looking to rework its conditional grant products, pre-seed CIP Catalyst for product development funding up to MYR150,000, and seed type CIP500 for funding commercialisation up to MYR500,000.

In an announcement on Wednesday, Cradle said CIP300 will help address the funding gap that exists for early-stage businesses at the ideation and prototyping stages as well as early commercialisation of products.

“We now offer two products, DEQ800 (direct equity investment programme) and CIP300, which bring together a range of funding and value added benefits to create a more coherent framework to allow startups to grow and do business locally and regionally. This gives our local startups the opportunity in starting and scaling up a company with the help from the government and private sector,” Cradle group CEO Nazrin Hassan said.

Cradle also inked two collaborations — one with the Malaysian Business Angel Network (MBAN) and K-One Technology Bhd (KiasuLab) and the other with MBAN and Sunway University — to increase private sector participation in the startup ecosystem.

Cradle, a government owned outfit that has earlier relied mostly on government funds and was known to provide financial grants to local entrepreneurs, has been trying to wean itself off grants. With the funds given by the government shrinking, it is currently on its path to transform into a full fledged venture capital firm.

In an bid to change its investment direction and strategy, the organisation started a co-investment strategy in 2014. It has partnered with about 32 co-investment partners under this plan where its partners match the amount invested by Cradle to fund local tech startups. As part of this program, it has invested in and SyncMedia with OSK Ventures International, and Be Malas with Singapore’s KK Fund, among others.

Earlier this year, it announced its direct equity investment programme. Cradle’s equity product DEQ800, which was launched in February, is a capital injection between MYR300,000 to MYR800,000 intended to be the next step for early stage startups to scale up.

Cradle claims that its newly launched CIP300 offers a lower amount to wean entrepreneurs off grants and encourage startups to plan and opt for other options of funding such as equity crowdfunding and angel funding to improve commercialisation and growth outcomes.

Sectors covered under this programme include ICT, non-ICT as well as other technology-based fields such as semi-conductors, life sciences and clean technology. This product is eligible for application by individual or locally incorporated companies operating for less than three years.

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