Tech startup Kambyan eyes RM30m funding for expansion

From left: David Cirulli, Captain Sudhir AK Kumaren and MR Ravan Saravanan — the founders of Kambyan Network (Source: Kambyan Network)

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KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 30): Technology startup Kambyan Network is eyeing some RM30 million funding from private or public investors to expand its operations and take the firm to its next level.

In an email interview, Kambyan group executive director Captain Sudhir AK Kumaren said the firm kicked off in 2018 with RM10 million from internal and angel investors to develop the technology for its digital agriculture solution.

Of the RM10 million, RM5 million was from angel investors and the remainder RM5 million plus was through internally generated funds via amalgamation, he said.

"We realised early that, as individual companies, it was costly to adapt AI, Big Data, Analytics and RPA (Robotic Process Automation) and that no one was offering a one-stop complete solution platform for these.

"Hence through amalgamation in the Kambyan Network we put our ringgit to greater use as we were able to pool resources and reduce cost to free up cash that otherwise would be tied down," he said.

On its option to raise fund via crowdfunding and initial public offering from government grants, Sudhir said Kambyan has been attempting all avenues but it was tough.

"Malaysian Financial Institutions are extremely risk averse, they only want to finance success stories, and are not able to finance entrepreneurship.

"We need to change this mind set. Instead of looking at cash as the only arbiter of success, we need to look at the value creation potential.

"If not, we will forever be users of technology not the creators. In other words, a technologically colonised country. The main reason we cannot go into a high income nation is because capital is not enough or readily available for budding entrepreneurs," he said.

To this end, Sudhir said Kambyan is aiming to empower the Malaysian agriculture sector with unmanned aerial vehicles/systems or drones.

Earlier this month, the firm demonstrated its "AleX" Airborne Laser Cutter (ALC) Mark 1, a laser harvesting drone, at its "Just Drone It" event.

AleX is a prototype which has been researched and developed by Kambyan since 2018.

AleX was developed to solve the main issues faced by oil palm plantation owners in Malaysia, namely harvesting.

On Kambyan's research and development (R&D) team, Sudhir said all of them were locals with a few foreign workers.

"We previously had a local Head of R&D but as we are now entering a new phase, we are farming out R&D to local universities to be cost efficient," he said.

Sudhir added that Kambyan, through its training arm Adroit College, has designed educational courses aimed to re-skill the current worker and up-skill interested young Malaysians.

He said among the more popular ones are the Drone Operator & Robotics courses.

Sudhir said Kambyan's three-stage Green Industrial Aeroplex Initiative will bring large scale manufacturing into the hinterlands with minimum ecological disruption, as opposed to current practice of congested urban industrial areas.

He said by introducing state-of-the-art autonomous systems into plantation/agro industries, Kambyan seeks to address the space problems.

Sudhir said the RM30 million will fund the technology rollout as per Kambyan's technology road map.

"It is to enhance the Autonomous Harvesting, Fertilisation, Weeding and Transportation (AutoHaFeWeT™) for the agriculture sector, starting with the oil palm plantations.

"The Digital Agriculture Systems will also be remodelled to suit the other industry verticals such as logistics and warehousing, manufacturing etc," he said.