Private investment firm RHL Ventures sets up RM100m SME Corp-backed fund

Private investment firm RHL Ventures sets up RM100m SME Corp-backed fund
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KUALA LUMPUR (April 17): To support the growth of local small and medium enterprises (SMEs), Malaysian private investment firm RHL Ventures has launched a fund worth RM100 million, in which SME Corp Malaysia made a "significant investment".

The fund, said RHL Ventures in a statement today, will focus on backing Malaysian start-ups and early-stage SMEs with significant operations in Malaysia.

RHL Ventures said a large portion of its previous investments had been channelled to grow start-ups in the tech space, so the focus of the firm's latest fund will be "broader and more sector-agnostic".

Founded in 2016, RHL Ventures is a multi-family private investment firm headquartered in Malaysia that champions growth for the best businesses in Southeast Asia, the statement read.

"The government has typically led investments that support local businesses during their early stages, so we are glad that the current administration is ramping up its support to instil more innovation within the local business sector. What RHL Ventures aims to do with this fund is to invest in new businesses that are looking to bring new ideas and disruption in the current ways of doing business," said RHL Ventures managing partner Rachel Lau.

The fund also aims to highlight how partnerships between the government and private sector will be crucial to the growth of Malaysian SMEs, sustainable development in light of the digital economy, and the creation of more avenues for regional expansion.

"In Malaysia, SMEs comprise over 98% of total business establishments and contribute more than 37% to the national GDP — they form a central pillar of Malaysia's economy. To ensure a higher contribution of SMEs to the national economy, there is a need for more concerted efforts to be affected by stakeholders within the SME ecosystem; an example which private sector players such as RHL Ventures is helping to lead," said SME Corp chief executive officer Noor Azmi Mat in the same statement.

To date, RHL said it has invested in innovative businesses within Malaysia's burgeoning tech start-up space, including healthcare software-as-a-service (SaaS) company HealthMetrics, and healthy snacks e-commerce platform Signature Market, among others.