Petronas invests in agritech startup in first VC foray in Malaysia


PETROLIAM Nasional Bhd (Petronas) is making its first foray into venture capital investment in Malaysia through an agreement to invest in agriculture technology (agritech) startup, Braintree Technologies Sdn Bhd.

The deal, signed by its corporate venture capital arm Petronas Ventures, was expected to be completed early next month, the national oil company said in a statement today.

Braintree Technologies develops robotic devices and proprietary software that would be able to provide agricultural total solutions, as well as convert unattended, non-revenue generating agricultural land into high-value crop farms.

Petronas Ventures head Mohd Azli Ishak said the investment was aimed at scouting for breakthrough technologies that could support Petronas’ growth beyond the oil and gas business.

“We believe the investment in Braintree Technologies will establish the right ecosystem for a smart farming business model by capitalising on Petronas’ strong knowledge in urea and fertiliser application, as well as Braintree Technologies’ artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics technology,” he said.

Meanwhile, Braintree Technologies chief executive officer Arif Makhdzir said smart farming could help to increase farm productivity and yield, as well as the livelihood of farmers.

“By combining our technical experience in software development and agriculture knowledge, we hope to drive a change for Malaysia in this major industry,” he said.