Malaysia's EPF commits up to $71m to homegrown mid-to-growth-stage startups

Malaysia's EPF commits up to $71m to homegrown mid-to-growth-stage startups

Employees' Provident Fund (EPF) logo is seen at its headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia September 5, 2019. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng

Malaysia’s largest state pension fund, the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), has committed up to 250 million ringgit ($70.91 million) to fund mid-to-growth stage companies in the country, through a partnership with pan-Asian venture capital firm Gobi Partners.

In a statement on Monday, EPF said the move would support the development of the local early-stage funding ecosystem, in line with the current government economic policy, as well as strengthen social protection in the country.

“The EPF remains committed to increasing its investments in mid-to-growth companies as they are integral to EPF’s mission of creating long-term value for members as well as to provide capital to the Malaysian economy as a whole,” read the statement.

The investments will centre on six strategic themes — healthcare, with a focus on aged care and silver economy; agriculture and food science; financial services inclusivity; sustainability, focusing on the energy transition; education; and social infrastructure.

EPF said that future themes could be added in if they fit into its mandate.

“The EPF is committed to participating in the growth journey of high-potential companies in Malaysia as we align our strategy with the development of an inclusive social protection ecosystem,” said EPF chief executive officer Encik Ahmad Zulqarnain Onn.

“In the long run, we hope this effort contributes to building a resilient society to economic and social challenges while delivering profitable returns for our members,” he added.

Meanwhile, Gobi Partners co-founder and chairperson Thomas G Tsao said the firm is proud to stand alongside EPF, and its focus on the six key themes underscores the former’s dedication to driving innovation and creating lasting socio-economic impact.

Founded in 2002, Gobi has some $1.6 billion in assets under management (AUM) and is dual-headquartered in Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong. It has offices in Singapore, Bangkok, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, and Manila besides.

It has invested in over 380 startups to date including Southeast Asian used car e-commerce platform Carsome, China’s robot-taxi company AutoX, as well as Hong Kong-based genomics-driven health sciences company Prenetics.

EPF has over 15.72 million members and total assets of about 1 trillion ringgit, according to its 2022 annual report.

Edited by: Joymitra Rai

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