Malaysia’s government-linked investment firm VentureTECH has partnered with Japan’s financial services group SBI Holdings unit SBI Ventures Malaysia to launch a private equity co-investment fund of 75 million MYR ($18.06 million) for growth-stage technology companies.

The fund is designed to play a strategic role in supporting Malaysian firms in the high value-added and emerging industry market segments to scale up to their full potential and help attract additional investors to support the expansion of these companies during this economic recovery period, said VentureTECH in a statement.

According to VentureTECH, the strategic partnering with Japan’s SBI Ventures Malaysia is important in helping Malaysian industries build synergies and collaboration at the regional level, and in continuing to support their long-term growth as they strive to continue to scale up and compete in both the Malaysian and global markets.

The initial fund targets to support technology industry leaders with their continued expansion in higher value-added production and services, and in improving the productivity of the traditional industries through IR4.0 and IoT applications in areas such as agro-based smart farming and digital healthcare, which is in line with Malaysia’s MyDigital aspirations of increasing productivity by 30 percent across all sectors by 2030.

The investments also aim to increase the number of skilled and highly skilled jobs with higher income to Malaysians, with other socio-economic benefits.

“I believe it is vital that we continue to support this segment of the high growth market, and our team is committed in our work to fund local industry players particularly Bumiputera (sons of the soil) who need, not only the fund but also the linkages, network, and expertise, to fuel their continued business growth and expansion globally,” said VentureTECH Managing Director Norida Abd. Rahman.

According to her, this private equity co-investment fund is a significant step forward towards VentureTECH’s vision for creating Malaysian industry leaders, and also a hallmark collaboration to diversify their sources of funds for the Bumiputera Investment Program which has to date resulted in a total investment of more than 200 million MYR ($48.15 million), to nurture those companies in adopting best practices and values, and to accelerate their growth strategies and scale into regional and global champions.

“Malaysia is ranked third among ASEAN region in terms of per-capita GDP (gross domestic product), blessed with young, skilled and abundant labor population, coupled with a low unemployment rate. SBI recognizes the existence of ample investment opportunities in Malaysia, one of the fastest-growing economies in the ASEAN region with attractive start-ups,” said SBI Ventures Malaysia managing director Yoshihiro Ishiwata.

According to him, SBI Group seeks to expand its $5.5 billion worth of private equity portfolio globally and strive to nurture meaningful co-creation throughout this partnership with VentureTECH.

VentureTECH is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT) and was established with a developmental mandate on local and Bumiputera industry development.

Since its inception in 2009, VentureTECH has invested and committed to investing in 23 technology industry leaders in the targeted bio-based, emerging, and green industries, with aggregate investee net worth surpassing at least the 1.2 billion MYR ($290 million) mark.

Among VentureTECH’s investees are Ain Medicare, Selia-Tek Medical and Cell Tissue Technology in pharmaceutical, medical devices, and biotech; Prestigious Discovery, CMC Group, NDE Consultancy, Dreamedge, TXMR and Aerodyne in IR4.0 and IoT; Extra-Built, Maerotech, ACME Chemicals, Gaia Plas, TEVO and Detik Aturan in green industry; and KiwiTech in smart city platform.

The SBI Group was established in 1999 as a pioneer of Internet-based financial services in Japan. Since then, the SBI Group has formed the world’s first Internet-based financial conglomerate, providing financial services in a broad range of fields including securities, banking and insurance.

In addition, the SBI Group provides Asset Management Business, with a prime focus on investment in venture companies – an activity undertaken since before the group’s founding. In this sphere, the SBI Group has made focused investments in the IT and biotechnology sectors. Currently, the development of new technologies is accelerating within the FinTech, IoT, AI, Big Data, and related fields.

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