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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