Malaysia’s pension fund Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (Diperbadankan) [KWAP] has on Thursday announced the launch of Dana Perintis, aimed at injecting vitality into Malaysia’s venture and startup ecosystem.

With a commitment to invest up to MYR 500 million ($106.6 million) over the next 18 to 24 months, KWAP is set to empower early-stage companies, drive innovation, and support economic resilience, KWAP said in a statement.

According to the statement, Dana Perintis encompasses two strategic pillars: investments into selected Malaysia-focused venture capital (VC) funds and direct investments into early-stage companies.

With an allocation of MYR 250 million ($53.5 million) for each pillar, KWAP’s initiative aims to accelerate growth within the Malaysian entrepreneurial landscape in line with KWAP’s sustainability commitment as a signatory of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).

“KWAP recognizes the potential for innovation and growth within Malaysia’s venture ecosystem,” said Hazman Hilmi Sallahuddin, Chief Investment Officer of KWAP.

He sees Dana Perintis as an initiative that serves as a testament to the fund’s commitment to enhance the growth of Malaysia’s startup industry.

“With Dana Perintis, we are not just investing financial capital, but also putting in our expertise, resources, and commitment to seeing these Malaysian startups succeed on a global stage, especially with the ones we are directly involved in,” he added.

As one of Malaysia’s prominent investors, KWAP seeks to play a pivotal role in steering the nation toward a flourishing early-stage ecosystem.

By strategically investing and addressing critical gaps, KWAP aims to propel the growth trajectory of the startup landscape, reaping attractive risk adjusted returns for its stakeholders.

According to the statement, a substantial portion of up to MYR 250 million ($53.5 million) will be directed towards investing in VC funds with exposure focusing on Malaysia.

This approach aligns with KWAP’s endeavor to support the development of a self-sustaining venture ecosystem.

These VC funds serve as dynamic catalysts, nurturing innovative startups by providing essential capital and guidance.

KWAP’s strategic investments will span the spectrum of the startup journey—ranging from accelerators to growth managers—contributing to the maturation of the overall Malaysian venture space.

In parallel to the fund investments, another MYR 250 million($53.5 million) will be committed towards direct investments into promising early-stage companies.

This commitment echoes KWAP’s intention to nurture startups through growth and expansion stages.

“We are dedicated to empowering startups and SMEs, supporting employment, and nurturing innovation,

“In realising these visions, KWAP has already identified several potential startups to invest in, which currently employ more than 1,000 Malaysians from different backgrounds,” Hazman added.

The launch of Dana Perintis is aligned with the Economy Madani initiative and reflects KWAP’s focus on empowering small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for expansion, fostering economic growth and contributing to Malaysia’s entrepreneurial future.

As KWAP implements this initiative, it remains conscious of its role and commitment to the pensioners who are its primary stakeholders, to spur the growth of the pension fund.

Established in 2007, KWAP manages contributions from Malaysian federal government and relevant agencies made into the Retirement Fund to obtain optimum returns on its investments through sound
management and investment of the fund in equity, fixed-income securities, money market instruments, and other forms of investments.

The fund will be applied towards assisting the Federal Government in financing its pension duties.

In 2015, KWAP was officially appointed as an agent of the Malaysian federal government for the purpose of pension payment, gratuity, or other benefits.

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