Malaysian seed-to-exit venture capital firm Midana Capital is likely to have an active 2017 with six investments worth $6.5 million lined up for the year. The investments will also include large ticket sizes in two local technology startups, a clear shift in the firm’s investment pattern that was largely conservative earlier.
If the plan materialise, deal volume is expected to see a big jump from $2 million invested last year across six startups.
The shift in investment direction was evident with most investments in tech firms including two in Singapore and four in Taiwan.
“Indeed, there is a shift. Undoubtedly (for us), technology is the way to move forward,” said Midana’s Chief Marketing Officer Chris Tan in an interaction with DEALSTREETASIA recently.
However, he added that the challenging part is “to look for one (tech firm) that does not require too much to burn (lean startups) and its business model can be commercialized soon.”
Midana was founded in 2012, and its co-founder Allan Tan is the Managing Director of the firm. The firm invests in startups from China, Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore. It has offices in Hong Kong and Malaysia. Midana typically enters a company with a 5 per cent stake and in some cases, it could go up to 10 or 20 per cent.
Earlier, the firm’s portfolio companies were mostly solid asset-based with the investment criteria focusing on high growth potential companies with steady revenue generation and market expansion plans. Moreover, in an interaction with this portal in 2015 the firm had said, “we are still quite new in the industry and do not want to take on too much risk. We invest mainly in manufacturing companies.”
Midana had put in $1.16 million in a round raised by China-based inflight catering company LianHua Foods Co Ltd. Its other portfolio companies were involved in consumer goods, agriculture, telecommunications and technology, but a shift in its portfolio came only in 2015.
“We have been monitoring tech companies ever since we founded Midana Capital, but to conclude a deal requires a lot of time and efforts; the timing was right for us back in 2015 and we never looked back since then,” Tan said.
Last year, the firm invested in Singapore-based energy sector tech startup Evercomm Uni-Tech, and biotechnology startup Denova Sciences. The four Taiwanese firms that the company invested in include SOLOMOMA based e-commerce platform with blockchain technology Owlting, Modernity Financial Holdings, Melten Healthcare, and CoolBitX.
“Taiwan, particularly, gave us the best experience. Talent pool here is fascinating with a good mix of western and eastern ideology. Most entrepreneurs here studied and worked overseas before coming back to start their own businesses. For example, Owlting CEO Darren Wang went to Boston University, went to Google HQ and Cyworld before starting Owlting in 2014,” Tan said.