The Board of Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd (Cradle), Malaysia’s focal point agency for Malaysian startup ecosystem under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), has announced the appointment of Norman Matthieu Vanhaecke as the Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO), effective November 23, 2023.

Cradle said in a statement on Tuesday that born of Malay and Belgian descent, Norman has been the acting GCEO of Cradle since June 1, 2022.

Prior to joining Cradle in 2020 and initially serving as its Head of Finance and Corporate Services, he began his professional career as an auditor at KPMG and has since held various key Strategy, Financial and Management positions in both local and multinational oil and gas related companies and government agency.

He holds a degree in Accounting from University of Queensland, Australia, and a degree in Software Engineering from Multimedia University, Malaysia.

His deep interest in technology and innovation grew from his experiences and educational background, igniting his passion to drive local Malaysian tech companies to become more competitive compared to their global counterparts.

Cradle Chairman Yvonne Chia lauded the appointment, stating that the board is very excited as it is an internal promotion that reflects the strength of Cradle’s internal talent and effective succession planning.

“Over the past 18 months, Norman has proven his leadership skills as the acting GCEO, significantly impacting the organization under his guidance,

“With his solid background and expertise, and his demonstrated track record of success, I’m assured that Cradle will continue to spearhead the nation’s startup agenda bringing positive impact to society, individuals and businesses, as well as the country as a whole, echoing the
objectives of Malaysia MADANI,” she added.

Cradle also expresses deep appreciation for the unwavering support provided by the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and MOSTI since its inception.

According to the statement, the robust collaboration between Cradle and both ministries has played a pivotal role in shaping an inclusive, impactful and sustainable startup ecosystem aligned with the government’s target to rank Malaysia in the Top 20 Global Startup Ecosystem by 2030.

It said MOF and MOSTI’s steadfast commitment have fuelled startups growth and contributed significantly to the broader economic landscape.

Cradle, a focal point agency for Malaysia’s early-stage startup, incorporated under the Ministry of Finance Malaysia (MOF) in 2003 with a mandate to fund potential and high-calibre tech startups through its Cradle Investment Program (CIP). Cradle is presently administered by the MOSTI.

Cradle has helped fund over 1000 Malaysian tech startups and holds the highest commercialization rate amongst government grants in the country.

Having more than a decade of experience in the nation’s grant funding scene, Cradle further expanded its role from grant provider to investor through the establishment of its venture arm, Cradle Seed Ventures in 2015 and following its portfolio expansion to equity investment in early 2017, Cradle offered both funding and investment assistance.

Currently, two new grants are made available to the startup ecosystem namely CIP SPARK and CIP SPRINT.

Allocated under the 12th Malaysia Plan, CIP SPARK is a funding program targeting technology startups for the development of ideas and Minimum Viable Product (MVP) as well as other pre-commercialization activities and CIP SPRINT is for the commercialization of innovative technology products and services, aimed at assisting technology startups at an early stage to develop and commercialize their products in the market.

Following the announcement of the Malaysian Startup Ecosystem Roadmap (SUPER) in 2021, Cradle has been appointed as the focal point agency for Malaysia’s startup ecosystem and mandated to ensure the successful running of a holistic ecosystem to enable and encourage growth among startups.

Cradle also spearheads the MYStartup initiative – one of the interventions identified under five ecosystem drivers in SUPER – where it contributes directly to efforts in increasing the number of innovative and quality startups.

Cradle also administers the Angel Tax Incentive (ATIO), designed for angel investors to be accorded a tax deduction of up to MYR 500,000 ($107,474) to stimulate and encourage angel investments from private sector into technology-based startup companies in Malaysia.

Cradle Fund & Bursa Malaysia collaborate to facilitate listing of local startups on Malaysia stock exchange