Malaysia’s pension fund Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (Diperbadankan) [KWAP] has on Friday announced the first batch of investments made under its Dana Perintis strategy.

The investments, which amount to MYR 100 million ($21 million), comprise two direct investments in Malaysian startups and two venture capital fund commitments.

According to the statement, KWAP invested in two Malaysian companies, Bateriku (M) Sdn Bhd and Lapasar Sdn Bhd to further support their growth and expansion plans.

Bateriku is a rapidly growing automotive service provider with a network of partners nationwide, providing job opportunities and increasing financial inclusion.

Meanwhile, Lapasar is an online wholesale marketplace that focuses on meeting the needs of the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry, accelerating the adoption of digitalization throughout the economy.

Additionally, KWAP has also made commitments to two venture capital funds, namely, Vynn Capital, a home-grown fund that invests from the seed stage with a focus on the mobility and supply chain sectors, and Antler, an early-stage venture capital from pre-seed to Series A and beyond.

Antler recently expanded its flagship residency program to Malaysia, designed to support founders get their startups launched and funded.

These are the first in a portfolio of fund investments that will be carefully curated to inject capital into sections of the local ecosystem that most require it.

Launched in September 2023 with a targeted total deployment of MYR 500 million ($104.59 million), Dana Perintis is designed to accelerate the development of the Malaysian early-stage ecosystem whilst generating strong returns for beneficiaries via investments in startups and venture capital funds.

The four investments are also in line with the six focus areas of Dana Perintis, which are digital economy, financial inclusion, food security, education, silver economy, and climate change.

“With the emergence of attractive opportunities within the Malaysian startup ecosystem, we are pleased to announce Dana Perintis’ inaugural investments,

“These investments also signify our commitment to recognizing and fostering innovative ideas in line with the Economy Madani initiative,” KWAP Chief Investment Officer Hazman Hilmi Sallahuddin said.

“We are confident in the prospects and potential of the investment in these four entities and look forward to working closely with them; adding value and lending KWAP’s support to ensure their success,

“There will be more investments and announcements to come, as KWAP continues its rollout of Dana Perintis,” he added.

Azarol Faizi, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Bateriku, said to date, close to 18 million cars are registered in Malaysia, and there is no market leader that provides Connected Roadside Assistance Solutions seamlessly to car users.

“ aims to be the go-to provider offering end-to-end solutions that connect car users with roadside assistance, trusted workshops, auto parts marketplace and ancillary services,

“We are grateful for KWAP’s investment, and we are committed to growing the market share while creating more job opportunities for skilled gig workers and nurturing entrepreneurs,” he added.

Thinesh Kumar, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Lapasar, said they are honored and thrilled with this partnership while also being aware of the responsibility they now have towards KWAP and the Dana Perintis initiative.

He said this strategic investment will enable Lapasar to empower small business owners in the grocery store and restaurant sector.

“By positioning ourselves as the consolidator, we aim to build economies of scale, ultimately passing on enhanced profits to small retailers through competitive pricing,

“This investment propels Lapasar towards establishing one of the largest tech-enabled infrastructures for FMCG in the nation,” he added.

Victor Chua, Founding and Managing Partner at Vynn Capital, said they are grateful to have KWAP as an investor and supporter.

“As a Malaysian venture capital firm, we believe our investment objectives are well aligned with KWAP’s commitment to the needs of the nation,

“We look forward to collaborating with KWAP in supporting more great entrepreneurs who are building innovative solutions that address industry problems and opportunities,” he added.

Jussi Salovaara, Co-founder and Managing Partner Asia of Antler, said they are incredibly excited to be part of Dana Perintis.

“This is a testament to our ongoing commitment in identifying and backing the most exceptional entrepreneurial talents in Southeast Asia, especially in Malaysia, where there’s an increasing focus on innovation and growth.

“Our unique position as a global early-stage venture capital firm brings with it a wealth of learnings and insights from across the globe and I look forward to our partnership with KWAP to further enrich the vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in this region,” he added.

Established in 2007, KWAP manages contributions from the Federal Government of Malaysia 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.

In 2015, KWAP was officially appointed as an agent of the Federal Government of Malaysia for the purpose of pension payment, gratuity, or other benefits.

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