Hanhwa Asset Management set for Malaysia’s expansion

by AZREEN HANI / pic courtesy of Hanhwa Asset Management

MALAYSIA’S start-up ecosystem has a huge potential to grow, with more high-quality start-ups emerging soon, according to Hanwha Growth Fund principal Kimo Kim (picture).

He told The Malaysian Reserve that the market presents a unique opportunity, as South-East Asia (SEA) is home to a large, young population eager to adopt technological changes.

The venture capital firm’s expansion, made possible via partnership with Iris Capital, is a testament of the firm’s confidence in Malaysia as well as SEA’s growing market.

“Our fund is the inaugural venture fund in Malaysia that represents the growth prospects of the region. Our initiative in Malaysia is the first of many partnerships with Iris Capital as we are looking to invest more in Malaysia and SEA,” he explained.

“Additionally, the market is still in its development stage and we think there are huge opportunities,” Kim said in an email interview recently.

Commenting on Hanwha Asset Management Co Ltd’s partnership with Iris Capital, Kim said the firm has seen a lot of increase in inquiries from promising start-ups.

“We believe that venture debt (VD) provides clear advantages when structured appropriately. Because VD minimises dilution for entrepreneurs and it helps companies save time fundraising.

“We are planning to offer more financing to local start-ups and small and medium enterprises, so that Hanwha Asset Management and portfolio companies can grow together,” he added.

Kim noted that the Malaysian start-up ecosystem has a huge potential as it is becoming a very start-up-friendly economy, with the government, institutions and venture capitals being really supportive in helping and growing local start-ups.

“Various players in the ecosystem are creating collaborations and we strongly believe that more and more high-quality start-ups will emerge,” said Kim further.

He expects that there is still a lot of potential for the consumer sector to grow further in the country.

“We will continuously bet on the consumer sector including commerce, healthcare, fintech and education, among others,” he said, adding that these include Web 3.0 companies, telehealth service providers, genetic testing providers and social commerce providers as well.