Malaysia’s Sunway Group has partnered with Indonesia’s Kejora Capital (Kejora) to launch $25 million Orbit Malaysia fund to support early-stage Malaysian startups.

This is the first time a Malaysian conglomerate in partnership with a venture capital firm from Indonesia to form a fund with Malaysia Venture Capital Management Berhad (MAVCAP) as anchor investor.

In a joint statement on Wednesday, both parties said Orbit Malaysia will actively invest in Series A, industry-leading companies operating in the FinTech, AgriTech, eCommerce, EdTech and HealthTech sectors, and will invest not only in Malaysian startups, but also significantly in other high-growth Southeast Asian startups.

These companies will be able to tap into Sunway’s various business divisions ranging from property, healthcare, education, retail, and digital as well as Kejora’s digital ecosystem, they said.

There is also a strategic angle of “Jakarta Express” to help Malaysian startups and investors capitalise on the high growth Indonesia market via Kejora.

According to the statement, Orbit Malaysia will be led by Raymond Hor who will be overseeing the fund as Fund Director. In his role, Hor will leverage on the vast network of seasoned business leaders and multi-sector industry experts from Sunway and Kejora Capital to help early-stage Malaysian and Southeast Asian companies expand their market base through regional expansion.

“Malaysia is home to a fast-growing and vibrant startup ecosystem, and there is great potential for Malaysian companies to become Southeast Asia’s next unicorn. With a proven track record in the region and combined cross-border ecosystem, we are confident of replicating our success to empower Malaysian companies to scale rapidly throughout Southeast Asia and beyond,” said Hor, Orbit Malaysia Fund Director.

Cited Statista, the statement said private equity and venture capital firms invested more than $5.9 billion in Malaysian startups between 2014 and 2020. A young, digitally savvy population, coupled with growing adoption of technology, are seen as key drivers of the digital economy in the country, which in turn has prompted investors to eye potential growth opportunities within different industries.

“Orbit Malaysia is an alliance set up in the spirit of collaboration to leverage on the combined resources not just to help startups, but also as a platform for more private corporations to participate in venture capital investment. We look forward to working together with more corporates to enrich Malaysia’s funding ecosystem,” said Hor.

Meanwhile, Kejora Capital Managing Partner Andy Zain said, with Orbit Malaysia, the firm is excited to continue investing in Southeast Asia’s best startups and to help boost Malaysia’s ecosystem by providing companies with added value beyond just capital.

“2021 marks Kejora Capital’s 8th anniversary, and as we embark on our next stage of growth, we remain committed to helping companies become dominant market players and equipping them with the necessary tools to fast-track their market entry regionally,” he said.

Sunway Group Chief Innovation Office Matthijs (Matt) van Leeuwen said Orbit Malaysia is an extension of Sunway’s unique innovation ecosystem and startup funding funnel.

“We share the same mission as Kejora Capital to invest in category leading startups, and at the same time create real social and sustainable impact. Kejora has shown strong track records in their various funds as well as contribution to social impact. With the backing from our anchored limited partner, MAVCAP, Sunway and Kejora can definitely replicate such performance here in Malaysia,” he added.

MAVCAP Chief Executive Officer Shahril Anas Hasan Aziz also said, Malaysia’s startup ecosystem is on the rise and through Orbit Malaysia, a public-private partnership, he hopes that they can strengthen the country’s entrepreneurial excellence, make a difference in the local startup ecosystem, and provide a regional and global platform to showcase their innovation and technological advancement.

“MAVCAP will continue to work together with the private sector, locally and internationally, to support national aspiration on innovation and spurring the digital economy,” he added.

According to the statement, Kejora Capital has over $600 million in assets under management (AUM) with 38 portfolios across eight years of existence, birthing four unicorn exits. Alongside Orbit Malaysia’s current active investments, Kejora Capital has previously invested in a large portfolio of startups in Southeast Asia across a range of industries. These include Indonesian FinTech lender, Kredivo; Malaysia-based drone-based solutions provider Aerodyne Group; Indonesian delivery startup Sicepat Express.

Meanwhile, Sunway Group, through its various funds and accelerator programs designed for different purposes, such as Sunway iLabs Super Accelerator, Sunway Ventures and Sun Sea Capital, has invested in early-stage startups such as Jomrun, Red Dino, Ento, CozyHomes, Quadby, Wise AI to growth-stage startups like regional eCommerce enabler Intrepid and The Lorry. In addition, Sunway’s venture building portfolio includes companies like Sunway XFarms, 42KL coding school, Sunway Research and Development, PopBox, and Sunway Pharmacy.

“As the leading venture capital firm in Southeast Asia, we maintain collaborative relationships with government and some of the region’s largest family offices and corporations. Both MAVCAP and Sunway Group have shown consistent support to the Malaysian startup ecosystem in the past. Leveraging on this network, we are confident that Orbit Malaysia can provide Malaysian companies with the opportunity to cultivate partnerships, and unlock cross-border collaborative opportunities to succeed,” said Zain.

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