UTM is Aiding Malaysia's Startup Ecosystem


By 2025, the number of startups in Malaysia is projected to exceed 10,000. The Malaysian government aims to make Malaysia a regional center for startups by 2025. The government is planning multiple initiatives to achieve this, many of which are already in motion. However, one of the unique among them that will give an instant boost to the country’s startup ecosystem is the new startup fund launched by Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (KWAP), Malaysia's public service retirement fund. KWAP has launched a 500 million ringgit ($106.68 million) vehicle to invest in startups and venture capital funds over the next 18 to 24 months.

The early-stage Dana Perintis fund is an endeavor to spur the nation's venture capital (VC) and startup ecosystem. The fund will invest half of its corpus, or 250 million ringgit, directly into startups. The other half will go into a fund-of-funds to support venture capital funds. KWAP plans to choose 10 VCs from the 38 proposals it received earlier this year.

However, the government alone can’t make this possible. This vital push needs relentless support from the industry as well as academia. Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) has always been at the forefront of leading this effort. Aligned with its tagline, “innovative, entrepreneurial and global”, UTM has produced more than 50 techbased spin-off companies, banking on its R&D niche areas such as Frontier Materials, Resource Sustainability, Innovative Engineering, Health and Wellness, and Smart Digital Community. Some of UTM's research-based spin-off companies have sustained millions of revenues annually and yielded high returns to the University. Indeed, UTM alumni have been leaders in all walks of life, and this yearly special issue is dedicated to them.

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