Week in Review: Message behind Nova Founders’ fundraising
By Karamjit Singh September 19, 2014
- Raises US$50mil in Hong Kong, will be launching new offices
- Huge week for entrepreneurs in Malaysia with GREAT, KL Converge
IF at first you don’t succeed, try and try again – and go where the money is. That seems to be the message from the successful US$50-million (RM161-million) funding round that Nova Founders Capital announced on Sept 18.
The name will ring a bell in these parts as the founders launched the company in Malaysia in 2012 and got down to trying to raise funds from successful technology entrepreneurs and some of the biggest tycoons in town.
I remember Mads Faurholt-Jorgensen attending Disrupt#2 when billionaire Vincent Tan was a panellist, even jumping into the lift to give his elevator pitch, hoping to sell Tan their vision and pry open his wallet.
It didn’t work with Tan, other billionaires or with technology entrepreneurs in Kuala Lumpur, who either felt the idea was too big or that the Nova team could not execute.
But the founders did not give up, and even established their headquarters in Hong Kong, which has a lot of old money and institutional and venture investors. And today, their persistence and belief seems to have been rewarded.
The Nova team members are also clever in thumping their chests and blowing their own trumpets. For instance, declaring that one of their ventures, CompareAsia Group, is by [geographic] footprint the largest financial comparison company in the world – but with no mention of the number of users or revenues anywhere.
The slick self-promotion aside, I’m sure this is just the first in subsequent rounds that it will raise as it is set to launch offices in Silicon Valley, London and Germany. Coincidentally, those are all locations where the firm surely try to raise more funds too.
This 'moving to where the money is' or to where money comes from is not unusual and we will see more of it. Already Bikesh Lakhmichand, chief executive officer of 1337 Ventures Sdn Bhd, tells me that he has no hesitation in moving and establishing 1337 Ventures in any country it gets its funding from.
He is specifically targeting to raise US$10 million next year.
Now, for our Malaysian readers, specifically those based in the Klang Valley, this has been the single busiest week for entrepreneur-focused events with GREAT 2014 and KL Converge offering a bewildering number of options.
GREAT, which actually comes from the Bahasa Malaysia name for the Cyberjaya-based festival, was organised by the Ministry of Finance. KL Converge was the brainchild of telco industry regulator the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and was a TED-like event, the US-originated meshing of technology, entertainment and design.
Whichever event you went for, I hope you were enriched. I went for a talent conference organised by the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC). You can read my article and Gabey Goh’s story from the KL Converge event she attended.
And speaking of MDeC, let’s welcome Yasmin Mahmood to the hot seat as she takes charge this week. Hopefully, she will want to make a difference and push the organisation up a gear.
Finally, I am excited over Disrupt#22 themed Meet the Disruptors to be held on Sept 24 from 5.30pm to 7:30pm at the TM Auditorium Room at the TM Convention Centre, Menara TM, Jalan Pantai Baru, Kuala Lumpur.
Do note that the venue has moved from Cyberjaya to KL and register yourself for it via this link.
I look forward to seeing you there.
Lastly, this week’s most popular article was: PayPal launches Startup Blueprint in eight APAC markets.
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