Malaysian CVC Success Stories

Petronas Berhad

PETRONAS Corporate Venture Capital (or PETRONAS Ventures) was set up in 2019 as the CVC arm of national oil giant PETRONAS. With an initial USD350 million investment fund, its task is to drive technology innovation and maintain its competitive edge to fuel the further growth of its core oil and gas business. PETRONAS Ventures will act as a minority stakeholder in early- to growth-stage companies, underpinned by its parent’s extensive international network across the energy value chain for strategic fits with its co-investors and partners, and to help start-ups expand.

The first two editions of the CVC arm’s FutureTech accelerator programme were offered in 2019 and 2021. During that period, PETRONAS Ventures had invested in 19 start-ups and seven VC funds. FutureTech 3.0 was launched in February 2023 and will kick off in May. These programmes aim to motivate local innovation and boost Malaysian start-ups.

Jointly organised with Singapore-based StartupX, FutureTech 3.0 boasts seven corporate partners, including Khazanah Nasional Berhad and Tenaga Nasional Berhad. This contrasts starkly against only two in 2021 and none in 2019, when the market was still relatively unfamiliar. FutureTech 3.0 will promote industry best practices while offering greater market access to start-ups, emphasising regional growth and scalability.

Sunway Berhad

To accelerate its digital transformation, Malaysian conglomerate Sunway Berhad (Sunway) made its foray into the VC arena in 2018, through the establishment of Sun SEA Capital LP, a VC fund with a planned capital of USD50 million and initial capital of USD5 million. Managed by Singapore-based KK Fund, the fund will pave the way for Sunway’s investment in synergistic digital startups, especially in Greater South-East Asia, Taiwan and Hong Kong. To date, Sun SEA Capital has invested in names such as Intrepid Group (Singapore-based e-commerce enabler), TheLorry.com (regional logistics player) and WISE AI (an artificial intelligence or AI facial recognition platform).

Notably, Sunway has the distinction of being the first Malaysian conglomerate to have partnered with a leading Indonesian VC firm (Kejora Capital) in setting up the USD25 million Orbit Malaysia fund, with MAVCAP as the anchor investor. The Orbit fund focuses on segments such as Series A funding, as well as industry leaders in the fintech, agritech, e-commerce, edtech and healthtech. It will invest in local and regional (South-East Asia) start-ups.

Sunway’s ongoing digitalisation strategy also includes its own incubator and accelerator, Sunway Innovation Lab or Sunway iLabs. Meanwhile, VC arm Sunway Ventures emphasises early-stage funding.