Malaysia’s sovereign fund Khazanah Nasional Berhad has on Thursday announced the launch of the Future Malaysia Program to support the local start-up ecosystem of entrepreneurs, start-ups, venture capital, and corporate venture programs through collaborations with domestic and international partners.

Khazanah said in a statement that the initiative is under under its Dana Impak mandate, which is a MYR6 billion ($1.33 billion ) commitment over five years.

According to the statement, Dana Impak is a key pillar under Khazanah’s Advancing Malaysia strategy, seeking to invest across six themes based on issues and challenges facing the nation, that include digital society and technology, quality health and education for all, decent work and social mobility, food and energy security, building climate resilience and competing in global markets.

The Future Malaysia Program initiative marks a milestone for Dana Impak in increasing Malaysia’s economic competitiveness and in building national resilience, while delivering socioeconomic benefits and impact to Malaysians.

In line with the Malaysia MADANI Budget 2023, Khazanah is committed to playing an integral role, along with other government-linked investment companies (GLICs), in funding high-growth start-ups in Malaysia to spur innovation and economic growth in the country.

“We begin with the start-up ecosystem, which is an essential source of entrepreneurship, employment, innovation, and investment for the nation,” said Khazanah’s Managing Director Amirul Feisal Wan Zahir.

Many potential solutions to the challenges we have identified under the Dana Impak themes are found in early-stage companies, which requires injection of risk capital at different stages of the venture, to scale innovation and business, he said.

According to him, the program also aims to drive strategic corporate collaborations within Malaysia’s venture capital ecosystem to foster sharing of ideas and enhance business value in a more holistic way.

The Future Malaysia Program aims to deploy an initial amount of approximately MYR180 million ($39.96 million) by working with established local and international venture capital managers as well as corporate venture programs based in Malaysia.

By addressing the Dana Impak themes of digital society and technology and competing in global markets, the Future Malaysia Program will augment Khazanah’s efforts in discovering and nurturing early-stage entrepreneurs and start-ups, providing them with strategic support required to grow.

In line with this effort, Khazanah is has also announced its partnership with venture capital funds – Gobi Partners, a pan-Asian venture capital manager, and 500 Global, an international venture capital manager.

Both are among the most active venture capital managers with an extensive investing track record and expertise for value creation in Malaysia, said Khazanah.

It also said their international footprint and network acts as a bridge to crowd-in regional venture funds to invest in Malaysian companies, and for Malaysian start-ups to expand internationally, with the anticipation of becoming regional

“We are thrilled to support Khazanah in delivering its Dana Impak mandate for the country,

“As a firm that is also headquartered in Kuala Lumpur and has invested in over 350 companies globally, we look forward to helping expand the Malaysian start-up ecosystem and create long-term societal value through our collaboration,” said Thomas G. Tsao, Co-Founder of Gobi Partners.

Khailee Ng, Managing Partner of 500 Global, said impact is part of the venture capital DNA.

“Many of the megatrends that 500 Global is investing in today – financial inclusion, digitalisation, access to healthcare and education, and sustainable cities, are aligned with Dana Impak’s key themes,

“Our current global economic climate makes it very clear that our future needs rebuilding, and it is a privilege to partner with Khazanah to push innovation, serve the underserved, and uplift Malaysia’s economy and communities,” he added.

On the corporate collaboration front, Khazanah came on board as a corporate partner for the Petronas FutureTech 3.0 technology accelerator program.

The program is aligned with our purpose to foster collaboration between corporates and the tech-driven start-up ecosystem by unlocking synergies and enhancing business value which leverages on cross-industries expertise.

In addition, Khazanah is also establishing a partnership with Plug and Play, a leading global innovation platform that connects start-ups, corporations, venture capital firms, universities, and government agencies.

The focus of the partnership is to set up a Malaysia-based corporate innovation and accelerator program involving leading Malaysian corporates.

CelcomDigi Berhad, a key associate of Axiata Group Berhad and one of Khazanah’s portfolio companies, has also signed up as an anchor partner of the program and will be driving the initiative via CelcomDigi’s Innovation Centre.

“The partnership will open access to leading international and domestic enterprise-focused start- ups where Malaysian corporates are able to explore and match technology and ideas with their innovation needs, while lowering risks related to corporate ventures,” said Amirul Feisal.

Jupe Tan, Managing Partner of Plug and Play Asia Pacific (APAC), said the firm is delighted to have Malaysia be part of Plug and Play’s global innovation ecosystem.

“Partnering with Khazanah is a great start to our journey in the country and we look forward to supporting Malaysian corporations in their innovation journey,” he added.

As part of the Future Malaysia Program, Khazanah will continue to identify venture capital managers and ecosystem players with proven track record, expertise, and complementary strategic value proposition as potential partners.

Together with its partners, Khazanah said it aims to scale Malaysian ideas and businesses to be internationally competitive by deploying capital through its partners as well as directly into companies with sustainable business models that hopes to deliver socioeconomic impact and benefits to Malaysia.

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