Khazanah launches US$40mil Future Malaysia Programme to boost startup ecosystem
By Digital News Asia March 19, 2023
- Spur startup ecosystem of founders, venture capital & corporate venture
- CelcomDigi anchor partner driving initiative via its Innovation Centre
Khazanah Nasional Bhd announced last Thursday the launch of the Future Malaysia Programme, an initiative under its Dana Impak mandate, which aims to support the startup ecosystem of entrepreneurs, startups, venture capital, and corporate venture programmes through collaborations with domestic and international partners.
Dana Impak is a US$1.34 billion (RM6 billion) commitment over 5 years and is a key pillar under Khazanah’s Advancing Malaysia strategy, seeking to invest across six themes based on issues and challenges facing the nation, that include Digital Society and Technology, Quality Health and Education for all, Decent Work and Social Mobility, Food and Energy Security, Building Climate Resilience and Competing in Global Markets.
In line with the Malaysia MADANI Budget 2023, Khazanah is committed to playing an integral role, along with other GLICs, in funding high-growth startups in Malaysia to spur innovation and economic growth in the country.
Khazanah’s Managing Director, Amirul Feisal Wan Zahir (pic) said, “We begin with the startup ecosystem, which is an essential source of entrepreneurship, employment, innovation, and investment for the nation. Many potential solutions to the challenges we have identified under the Dana Impak themes are found in early-stage companies, which requires injection of risk capital at different stages of the venture, to scale innovation and business. The programme also aims to drive strategic corporate collaborations within Malaysia’s venture capital ecosystem to foster sharing of ideas and enhance business value in a more holistic way.”
The Future Malaysia Programme aims to deploy an initial amount of approximately US$40.1 million (RM180 million) by working with established local and international venture capital managers as well as corporate venture programmes based in Malaysia.
By addressing the Dana Impak themes of Digital Society and Technology and Competing in Global Markets, the Future Malaysia Programme will augment Khazanah’s efforts in discovering and nurturing early-stage entrepreneurs and startups, providing them with strategic support required to grow.
Partnership with Gobi Partners and 500 Global
In line with this effort, Khazanah has also announced its partnership with venture capital funds – Gobi Partners, a pan-Asian venture capital manager, and 500 Global, an international venture capital manager. Both are among the most active venture capital managers with an extensive investing track record and expertise for value creation in Malaysia. Their international footprint and network acts as a bridge for regional venture funds to invest in Malaysian companies, and for Malaysian startups to expand internationally, with the anticipation of becoming regional champions.
Thomas G. Tsao (pic), Co-Founder of Gobi Partners said, “We are thrilled to support Khazanah in delivering its Dana Impak mandate for the country. As a firm that is also headquartered in Kuala Lumpur and has invested in over 350 companies globally, we look forward to helping expand the Malaysian startup ecosystem and create long-term societal value through our collaboration.”
Khailee Ng (pic), Managing Partner of 500 Global said, “Impact is part of the venture capital DNA. Many of the megatrends that 500 Global is investing in today – financial inclusion, digitalisation, access to healthcare and education, and sustainable cities, are aligned with Dana Impak’s key themes. Our current global economic climate makes it very clear that our future needs rebuilding, and it is a privilege to partner with Khazanah to push innovation, serve the underserved, and uplift Malaysia’s economy and communities.”
On the corporate collaboration front, Khazanah came on board as a corporate partner for the PETRONAS FutureTech 3.0 technology accelerator program. The program is aligned with its purpose to foster collaboration between corporates and the tech-driven startup ecosystem by unlocking synergies and enhancing business value which leverages on cross-industries expertise.
Partnership with Plug & Play with CelcomDigi as anchor partner
In addition, Khazanah is also establishing a partnership with Plug and Play, a global innovation platform that connects startups, corporations, venture capital firms, universities, and government agencies. The focus of the partnership is to set up a Malaysia-based corporate innovation and accelerator programme involving leading Malaysian corporates. CelcomDigi Berhad, a key associate of Axiata Group Berhad, one of Khazanah’s portfolio companies, has signed up as an anchor partner of the programme and will be driving the initiative via CelcomDigi’s Innovation Centre.
“The partnership will open access to leading international and domestic enterprise-focused startups where Malaysian corporates are able to explore and match technology and ideas with their innovation needs, while lowering risks related to corporate ventures,” said Amirul Feisal.
“We are delighted to have Malaysia be part of Plug and Play’s global innovation ecosystem. Partnering with Khazanah is a great start to our journey in the country and we look forward to supporting Malaysian corporations in their innovation journey,” said Jupe Tan, Managing Partner of Plug and Play APAC.
As part of the Future Malaysia Programme, Khazanah will continue to identify venture capital managers and ecosystem players with proven track record, expertise, and complementary strategic value proposition as potential partners. Together with its partners, Khazanah aims to scale Malaysian ideas and businesses to be internationally competitive by deploying capital through its partners as well as directly into companies with sustainable business models that hope to deliver socioeconomic impact and benefits to Malaysia.
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