US$11.2 mil spacetech fund launched in Malaysia by Nusa Kapital and Sirius T&E
By Karamjit Singh November 29, 2022
- To fund between 13 to 15 startups with average cheque size of US$737k
- Improved regulatory environment for space in Malaysia a key motivator
The improved space regulatory environment in Malaysia has brought two seasoned names in Malaysia’s satellite sector, Nonee Ashirin Radzi (pic, left) from Nusa Kapital Sdn Bhd and Khairuddin Rahman from Sirius T&E Sdn Bhd (a wholly owned subsidiary of SMART Digital International Sdn Bhd) together to launch the country’s first space tech venture capital fund at US$11.16 million (RM50 million).
Nonee Ashirin comes with over 25 years of experience in aerospace and defense. Besides being the executive chairman of an maintenance, repair and overhaul company, Global Turbine Asia Sdn Bhd, she sits on the boards of Felda FGV and Boustead Holdings.
A veteran of the satellite industry since 1995, Khairuddin, a trained accountant who describes himself as being fearless, has delivered broadband via satellite, to 5,000 mostly remote public schools in the East Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah through a programme called SchoolNet between 2004 to 2010. He also raised eyebrows in 2019 with his plans to launch a satellite TV service in Malaysia, which he did in 2020, called Sirius TV.
Called Dana Angkasa Malaysia (Malaysia Space Fund), Nusa Kapital will provide the funding with Sirius T&E the industry expertise and administering the fund. “Sirius T&E will evaluate and decide who will receive funding,” said Khairuddin, adding that the average cheque size will be around US$737,000 (RM3.3 million) in exchange for around a 10% stake. “We are looking at funding between 13 to 15 companies and are already evaluating four companies.” The fund has an aggressive timeline of one year in identifying and investing in the companies.
The fund was announced on 26 Nov, witnessed by the Director of the Malaysian Space Agency (MYSA), Space Exploration Division, Kamaruzzaman Wahid.
A key motivator for the new fund is the improved regulatory environment for space in Malaysia, Khairuddin explains. “The gazetting of the Malaysian Space Board Act 2022 (Act 834) in January 2022 has provided guideline on service provisioning using various type of satellite and configuration. Furthermore, streamlining the space enforcement to Malaysian Space Agency has provided a clearer legal framework to the space industry, making it a viable business to be involved with.”
While the names of Malaysian companies involved in spacetech do not roll off the tongue, with Angkasa-X probably being the most visible player, Khairuddin is confident the fund will not be short of applicants.
His confidence stems from the fact that the advancement of space technology in the world, especially the dominance shown by China and India in Low Earth Orbit satellites for the latest IoT technology has spread to other Asian countries, especially Malaysia.
Demand from the plantation and oil and gas industry for satellite based data is another promising development. “The requirement from these two sectors for asset monitoring, tracking, surveying and mapping has increased the consumption of big data analytics based on data provided by sensors connected to LEO satellites which can deliver the information cheap and fast,” Khairuddin says.
Concurrently with the establishment of Dana Angkasa Malaysia, Sirius is launching an NGO called Malaysian Space Council (Majlis Angkasa Malaysia) which will focus on industry education via workshops and seminars. Sirius and Nusa Kapital believe the launching and activities of the Malaysian Space Council held in tandem with the implementation of the National Space Policy 2030 (DAN2030) will further empower and drive the culture of space-related technology in Malaysia to greater heights.
To find out more about the Dana Angkasa Malaysia (DAM 22/23), please visit www.orion-sirius.com or contact Sisius at 010 220 6640.