According to the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA)­—the development agency under the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), Malaysia’s economy soared by $73.33 billion USD worth of investments in 2021. 

Malaysia startups are moving forward after the adverse economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and are looking to attract more investments from venture capital (VC) firms The Malaysia VC trends in the first quarter of 2022 bode well for the future, as various startups have raised money or established partnerships with other top organisations.

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 Here is a brief overview of what has happened in the Malaysia tech scene so far:

Penjana Kapital set to hit $285.6 million USD

State-backed Penjana Kapital is on track to reach its $285.6 million USD target by the end of Q1, according to DealStreetAsia. Penjana is a government initiative designed to futureproof the country by boosting startup innovation and creating a vibrant investment ecosystem. It runs the investment fund Dana Penjana Nasional, whose goal is to match the funds raised by investors on a 1:1 basis.

Investment in MX Global

MX Global, a cryptocurrency trading platform located in Singapore, has received an equity investment from Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange.. MX Global will use the funds to hire skilled employees, market the brand, and create new features for its platform.

Cuscapi, a digital business solutions company, also invested in MX Global in the hopes of improving cryptocurrency and eCommerce integration. MX Global will be able to reach a larger client base thanks to the Binance and Cuscapi deals.

Grab acquires Malaysian supermarket chain Jaya Grocer

Super app Grab bought a majority stake in supermarket chain Jaya Grocer to provide on-demand grocery deliveries in Malaysia. Grab’s eWallet, GrabPay, and GrabRewards will now roll out across all Jaya Grocer physical retail stores. During the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for Grab’s on-demand groceries and specialty retail marketplaces, GrabMart and Jaya Grocer soared.

The partnership between Grab and Jaya Grocer will ensure on-demand groceries are delivered faster due to the latter’s established supplier network. Customers will be able to purchase a wide variety of fresh and high-quality foods at affordable prices thanks to the partnership, which will make home deliveries more accessible.

Farm Fresh IPO to raise $238.10 million USD

Malaysian dairy producer Farm Fresh is seeking to raise over $238 million USD in its initial public offering (IPO) in March. The company announced it had the backing of 30 cornerstone investors—a record number—from asset management firms and insurers to funds like the Employees Provident Fund. The proceeds will help build a manufacturing hub, an integrated processing facility, and support its regional and expansion plans for Australia.

In a filing to Bursa Malaysia’s Main Market, Farm Fresh announced that its IPO was oversubscribed. The successful share applicants will receive notice of their allotment before the company lists on the market.

ScaleUp Malaysia invests in 11 startups

According to DealStreetAsia, Accelerator, ScaleUp Malaysia and its partners Mranti, Quest Ventures, and Indelible Ventures have selected 11 emerging startups, including MadCash, VireServe, Open Academy, RECQA, Kumo, Howuku, WaSushi, BizTech Asia, MidWest Composites, SparexHub, and Guruinovatif.

ScaleUp will nurture the startups during the four-month programme and provide up to $60,000 USD in funding.

Hibiscus Fund on track for $71 million USD close

Malaysia-based venture capital firm RHL Ventures expects to close the Hibiscus Fund at $71m by the end of March. The firm is also considering another fund for the fourth quarter and expects its assets to triple in the next five years. RHL Ventures plans to invest at least 50% of its funds in startups with high ESG (Environment, Social, and Governance) scores.

Ultimately, the VC firm’s goal is to build and support tech startups that disrupt the market and bring innovative solutions.

Capital A lists aviation business separately

The aviation business AirAsia will be listed separately by AirAsia Group, now known as Capital A Bhd, as the company looks to diversify its income streams. It has invested in BigPay, a payment company, and Teleport, a delivery service company. International airline travel is expected to resume at full capacity soon, boosting the company’s income even more. It has also launched a new fintech product in Indonesia, AirAsia Money, which will be integrated into the AirAsia app. The new product will provide financial solutions such as insurance and investment opportunities.

With all the developments listed above, it is evident that the Malaysia tech scene is thriving, and we can expect more great results in the second quarter of 2022. As the economy recovers from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are promising signs that current Malaysia VC trends will continue to provide favourable outcomes.

If the government continues to improve the regulatory environment to encourage foreign investment, new Malaysian startups will emerge. To help the economy thrive, the government should also provide funding and support for small and medium enterprises.