DSA Summit: Malaysia VC-startup players upbeat about more capital inflows in 2018

Riding on strong industry-government linkages and a robust digital ecosystem, venture capital and startup ecosystem players in Malaysia are upbeat about increased capital inflows in 2018.

Speaking at DEALSTREETASIA’s Asia PE/VC Summit 2017 held in Singapore recently, Norhizam Abdul Kadir, VP, Malaysia, Digital Economy Corporation, said, “Malaysia is doing pretty well as compared to other markets in Southeast Asia. We are about 32 million people compared to  Indonesia which is 10x more, so it is going to be quite difficult to compare on market consumption, but, when you come to digital ecosystem, the landscape is pretty robust here.”

On the panel, Kadir was joined by Jan Lambrechts, CEO of CXS and SaiKit Ng, CEO of Captii Ventures.

Kadir further noted that 75 per cent of the Malaysian population used the internet, which has resulted in opportunities for local players to create solutions for the region.

Elaborating on the technology landscape of the south-east Asian region, he added, “If we look at the tech IPO exits in SEA market in the last 15 years, out of 14 companies, seven were from Malaysia.”

Linkage between industry and government

The strong industry-government linkage has been counted as a significant environment enabler in Malaysia. Companies can reach out to the government in a matter of minutes and seek a meeting with anyone, a panelist shared.

“Last year, we were at the ideation stage. We contacted the Malaysian government and they liked the idea and said, ‘why don’t you make a pitch to us about it.’ We pitched our idea to them and within three months, we set up a company in Malaysia. We were supported by the Malaysian government, and we sought $1 million in a span of three months time. Now, we are active in 34 countries with a huge pipeline,” shared Lambrechts.

Exciting times ahead in 2018

Talking about market trends in 2018, Captii Ventures’ CEO Saikit Ng said, “we do not have enough VCs operating in the country. The good thing, however, is the entire ecosystem is doing well, from the banking and transaction side.”

Captii has been in operations in the country for the past two-and-a-half years.

Ng opined that more funds needed to be set up in the country that would not just spread across entrepreneurship but also add to the talent pool. “2018 is going to be very exciting for Malaysia as we can expect a lot happening  in the market. If you have lot of capital, that gives a lot more confidence to founders to come out in the market,” predicts Ng.

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.