Singapore-headquartered Golden Gate Ventures s (GGV) opened an office in Kuala Lumpur last week.
The venture capital firm plans to invest US$18 million to continue to support Malaysian startups after previously allocating a quarter of its Fund II to early-stage tech companies in Malaysia.
GGV believes Malaysia that the country has strong fundamentals to grow its technology industry and startup scene. “Malaysia’s rising middle class and business sectors are full of tech-savvy, mobile-savvy users who create demand for cutting-edge IT products and services. Also, Malaysia is strategic as it is representative of ASEAN – it is a microcosm of different cultures and that makes it uniquely diverse, just how ASEAN as a whole is, as compared to more homogeneous markets like Indonesia and Thailand,”, Vinnie Lauria, managing partner at GGV, told KrAsia.
The firm currently has five startups in its portfolio that are from Malaysia or have operations in Malaysia; GoQuo (airline e-commerce and customer relations platforms), ServisHero (e-marketplace for finding home-repair and maintenance specialists), Carousell (C2C buying and selling), Codapay (mobile/online payment gateway) and Homage (home-based care-giving platform).
With this new expansion, GGV is planning to spread into more sectors like insuretech, edtech, medtech, and enterprise software.
“Beyond our portfolio companies, there are a lot of innovative internet-based B2C companies like Ninja Van which we see as promising. We’re also looking at startups creating solutions for small and medium enterprises as we also see them as consumers. Many of those in the region are in their early stages of digitalisation so there’s a lot of opportunities to help grow start-ups to match their evolving business needs,” Lauria continued.
Malaysia is the third country for GGV after establishing itself in Singapore and Indonesia. The country’s new government is seen to be more supportive of technology companies, so more people are feeling optimistic to enter the business sphere. According to a World Bank report on Malaysia’s Digital Economy, most of the locals are connected to the internet and there are more mobile phone subscriptions than citizens. The high rate of internet and smartphone usage gives startups room to grow.
Gillian Tee, the CEO of Homage, hopes the support from stakeholders like GGV will help local players sustain and bring their services to the wider society. “For startups like us, Malaysia is a natural market to expand to. The domestic ecosystem itself is so large and diverse that businesses find an increasingly deep opportunity and a welcome market for their products and services,” said Tee in an official statement.
GGV recently also closed its US$ 100 million Fund III and opened a special fund to invest in blockchain and digital currency startups. “For Fund III, we’re still retaining our core focus. The difference is that our check sizes are now bigger. This because the market is now mature and entrepreneurs here now have more established track records, which helps funds trust them more as compared to before,” Lauria added.
After Malaysia, GGV is planning to keep expanding its business and portfolio across Southeast Asia. “We’re looking to expand our footprint across ASEAN even further and are now eyeing Vietnam,” Lauria told KrAsia.
Editor: Nadine Freischlad