Singapore-based private investment platform Fundnel has formally expanded to Malaysia. Its launch was officiated by Mr Norhizam Abdul Kadir, Vice President, Growth Ecosystem Development of Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) at a private event in the city centre. The announcement follows Fundnel’s appointment as a Recognised Market Operator by the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) – the first approval SC has granted in almost two years.
Fundnel Malaysia will provide a comprehensive suite of capital raising services, targeted at local unlisted growth companies that form the backbone of the economy. This will include SMEs from local cafés and retail stores to larger companies in the fields of education and wellness.
This is in line with two of the new pillars championed by the government in the mid-term review of the 11th Malaysia Plan, namely ‘Enhancing Inclusive Development and Wellbeing’ and ‘Strengthening Economic Growth’. The fintech company adopts a technology and data driven approach to connect quality businesses with growth capital, in tandem with the Malaysian government’s effort in promoting the use of technology to drive financial inclusion and equitable opportunity for the rakyat.
Fundnel offers a modern capital raising solution that is cost and time efficient. Applications on Fundnel has the potential to reach a global network of over 10,000 investors and partners whereupon multiple investment offers will be made. By virtue of being an online platform, price discovery is granted to the fundraiser who then has the flexibility to compare these offers that may best suit their stage of growth or other strategic requirements. This unique element is a key differentiator that sets Fundnel apart from traditional financing options.
Fundnel’s launch in Malaysia comes at timely moment as the government advocates a shift towards high value-added activities, particularly in knowledge-intensive industries. This covers digital transformation of the economy by tapping on the potential of big data and fintech.
“The global economy is increasingly being shaped by SMEs, who often face challenges obtaining growth capital,” said Kelvin Lee, CEO and co-founder of Fundnel. “Crossing the borders is a big stride towards our goal of creating access to capital for everyday companies. We believe that funding good-quality private businesses will create more jobs in Malaysia and in turn spur economic growth. Our team is excited to commence work and make a difference to the local market.”
“Fundnel’s entry into Malaysia is a testament to the country’s attractiveness as an investment destination and we are excited to welcome the region’s largest private investment platform into our market,” said Norhizam Abdul Kadir, Vice President of Growth Ecosystem Development of Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC). “As a government agency, MDEC works closely with industry players, regulators, start-ups, and accelerators in nurturing the nation’s Fintech ecosystem. We look forward to partner up with Fundnel and other investment platforms to create a more vibrant environment and benefit businesses in Malaysia.”
MisterTyre, a homegrown pioneer in on-demand mobile car care services, will be one of the first companies to be launched on Fundnel Malaysia. The Klang Valley-based start-up plans to use proceeds from this round of fundraising to launch its affiliate program across Malaysia and to initiate licensing of its Software as a Service (SAAS) automotive solution in the United States.
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are fast becoming a cornerstone of the Malaysian economy, contributing 37.1% to the country’s GDP and 66% of nation’s workforce in 2017. Despite the vibrant SME landscape, insufficient access to capital has inhibited their ability to grow. Access to financing remains a key challenge for local SMEs today, as highlighted at the recent SME CEO Forum 2018. Other barriers to growth include lack of access to the latest business technologies and platforms to reach the right investors during early stages.
A 2017 survey carried out by the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce & Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) determined that funding schemes provided by the government were being underutilised due in part to convoluted application procedures and insufficient loan amounts. As of June 2018, the Registered Market Operators authorised by the SC have collectively raised a total of RM118 million in capital for more than 300 micro, small, and medium enterprises, demonstrating the potential of alternative financing platforms.
In anticipation of its launch, Fundnel has forged a strategic partnership with homegrown investment firm, Midana Capital. Both Fundnel and Midana Capital will assist each other in deal origination with the common ambition of supporting Malaysian companies.
“In a short span of three years, Fundnel has proven its capabilities in developing the private investment landscape. Our partnership will connect local companies to their network of investors from across the globe, helping them grow and scale up. We are excited to embark on this journey together!” said Chris Tan, General Partner of Midana Capital.