Malaysian pension fund Employees Provident Fund (EPF) has on Monday announced a commitment of up to MYR 250 million ($53 million) aimed at catalyzing mid-to-growth stage companies in Malaysia through its partnership with Gobi Partners, a pan-Asian venture capital firm with an extensive investing track record.

The partnership is part of EPF’s commitment to increase deployment into the domestic market, strengthening its position as the largest investor in the domestic market with an asset under management (AUM) of MYR 702.48 billion ($148.88 billion) as at December 2023, EPF said in a statement.

According to the statement, the investments will focus on six strategic themes, which include Healthcare focusing on aged care and silver economy; agriculture and food science looking at improving the food production ecosystem; financial services inclusivity; sustainability focusing on energy transition; education aiming at provision of quality education; and social infrastructure as well as future themes that would fit into EPF’s strategic mandate.

“The EPF is committed to participating in the growth journey of high-potential companies in Malaysia as we align our strategy with the development of an inclusive social protection ecosystem,

“This commitment was mandated to cater to several strategic investment themes which include healthcare, with a specific focus on aged care and the silver economy, reflecting the EPF’s recognition of the importance of addressing the needs of an aging population,” said Ahmad Zulqarnain Onn, EPF Chief Executive Officer.

In the long run, he hopes this effort contributes to building a resilient society to economic and social challenges while delivering profitable returns for the fund’s members.

In support of the Madani Economy Framework, EPF said the fund also seeks to play an integral role with the other government-linked investment companies (GLICs) in supporting and advancing the early-stage ecosystem, and by strategically investing and addressing critical gaps where the EPF could help propel the growth trajectory of these earlier stage companies while reaping attractive risk-adjusted returns.

It said the commitment also represents EPF’s continuous efforts to strengthen social protection through strategic investments in promising mid-sized companies within the Malaysian landscape.

“Gobi Partners is proud to stand alongside the EPF in this significant commitment towards the growth of mid-to-growth stage companies in Malaysia,

“Our strategic focus on the six key themes underscores our dedication to driving innovation and creating lasting socio-economic impact,” said Thomas G. Tsao, Gobi Partners Co-Founder and Chairperson.

The EPF also said it remains committed to increasing its investments in mid-to-growth companies as they are integral to EPF’s mission of creating long-term value for members as well as to provide capital to the Malaysian economy as a whole.

The EPF is Malaysia’s retirement savings fund, helping its members achieve adequate savings for a comfortable retirement.

The EPF has evolved significantly from a transaction-centric to a professional fund management organization with a strong focus on retirement security.

Gobi Partners is an Asia-focused venture capital firm with $1.6 billion in AUM.

Headquartered in Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong, the firm supports entrepreneurs from the early to growth stages and focuses on emerging and underserved markets.

Founded in 2002, Gobi has raised 17 funds to date and invested in over 380 startups with 62 operating in the circular economy.

It has grown to 15 locations across key markets in Bangkok, Cairo, Dhaka, Ho Chi Minh, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Jakarta, Karachi, Kuala Lumpur, Lahore, Manila, Singapore, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Surabaya.

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