Penjana Kapital, AC Ventures partnership to spur local start-up scene

The collaboration is hoped to stimulate Malaysia’s start-up ecosystem by encouraging innovation and equipping innovators with necessary resources

by ASILA JALIL / Pic by TMR FILE PIX

PENJANA Kapital Sdn Bhd has entered into an agreement with Indonesia’s venture capital (VC) investment firm AC Ventures to spur Malaysian start-ups’ ecosystem.

AC Ventures is one of the eight VC fund managers selected as part of the Dana Penjana Nasional, a programme administered by Penjana Kapital.

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz  (picture) said the funds would encourage innovation among Malaysian startups and enable them to tap into the Indonesian market.

“We are pleased with AC Ventures’ decision to partner up with Penjana Kapital and invest in the Malaysian start-up space.

“These funds are crucial to spur our start-up ecosystem, by encouraging innovation and equipping Malaysian innovators with the necessary resources to scale and succeed, particularly in Indonesia, the largest consumer market in South-East Asia (SEA).

“By tapping on the power of AC Ventures’ local knowledge and network, Malaysia’s start-ups stand a higher chance of go-to market success in a US$1 trillion (RM4.17 trillion) economy,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Tengku Zafrul and Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob witnessed the signing ceremony of Penjana Kapital and AC Ventures partnership during the PM’s three-day working visit to Jakarta.

AC Ventures has partnered Translink Capital and Vertex Force Sdn Bhd to invest in Dana Penjana Nasional’s SEA Frontier Fund LP focused on funding promising local start-ups to expand into Indonesia and form partnerships within the regional technology ecosystem, among others.

With nearly 100 companies in its portfolio, AC Ventures has backed the likes of Carsome Sdn Bhd, Xendit, Stockbit, Eden Farm, Ula and many other unicorns.

Through the investment, the SEA Frontier Fund will double down on its strategy of identifying and funding start-ups with the potential for regional expansion.

The SEA Frontier Fund has also attracted commitments from strategic foreign investors including a global conglomerate from South Korea.

The fund aims to raise an additional RM100 million in the next three months on top of its current fund size of RM200 million.

Penjana Kapital sees opportunities for Malaysian start-ups in a few sectors such as automotive, agriculture and food as well as healthcare under the Making Indonesia 4.0 initiative by the republic.

Dana Penjana Nasional has raised a total commitment of RM995.4 million for its eight funds as of October 2021 where the Ministry of Finance will match every ringgit that is successfully brought in by the funds. Of the total, RM562.7 million came from foreign and private local investors.

Dana Penjana Nasional has also approved 30 investments worth RM267.2 million. Two of them have recently attained unicorn status.

Penjana Kapital was incorporated in July last year as part of the government’s initiative to accelerate Malaysia’s economic recovery by attracting funding from international and local investors to facilitate the growth of start-ups in the local venture capital space.

Ismail Sabri’s visit to Jakarta includes meeting with President Joko Widodo and the Indonesian business community, chief editors of Indonesian media as well as the Malaysians there.

The PM is also expected to pay a visit to a defence industry facility in Bandung.