KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA – 10 AUGUST 2015 – Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd (CFSB) the early start-up influencer, in partnership with the Malaysian Business Angel Network (MBAN) and in association with the London Business Angels (LBA) launched the Angels in the City programme here today in Kuala Lumpur.
The Angels in the City programme is the result of a collaboration between MBAN and LBA, Europe’s oldest and arguably one of its most successful angel networks where under the collaboration, MBAN is given with an exclusive licence and receives full support from LBA to run and operate a similar programme of the LBA’s brainchild in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Dr. V. Sivapalan, President of MBAN regards collaborating with LBA as a huge opportunity to learn from the best and tap on LBA’s tremendous experience and knowledge in running a successful angel-investing network.
“Since 2000, LBA has helped over 200 companies in successfully raising over approximately £50mil of funding and over the last 3 years, nearly 40% of the companies selected to pitch to LBA’s investors have secured funding despite vague economic climate changes. Moreover, having Anthony Clarke, CEO of LBA who carries vast experience and knowledge in this field (angel investment scene) on board is a tremendous resource to have. MBAN is certainly delighted to fully utilise the opportunity throughout the roll-out of this programme,’’ Sivapalan said.
Meanwhile, Anthony Clark notes that the partnership between the two was of a mutual interest given that they have maintained a close working relationship since 2012 following Clarke’s first visit to KL and MBAN’s later visit to Europe to find out more about LBA’s successes and in particular their Angels in the City programme.
“We considered that our Angels programme could be operated in Kuala Lumpur and would like to view this partnership as the opportunity to transfer LBA’s best practice to Malaysia on both exclusive and commercial basis,” said Clarke.
Clarke also comments on the need of running the programme in Kuala Lumpur despite Malaysia having its tax break scheme for angel investors investing in the technology and innovation space.
“Although Malaysia has introduced its Angel Tax Incentive, that, however, is not the magic bullet to bring more angels to the KL Angel scenario. From experience, we feel that angel syndication needs to be encouraged more in Malaysia to further boost the angel investment scene. The Angels in the City programme will do exactly that, as has been the case in UK,” explained Clarke.
Objectively, the Angels in the City programme aims to increase the awareness amongst individuals in Malaysia to become investors as well as to bring their financial capacity and business experience to invest in innovative entrepreneurs with high growth potential within the Malaysian start-up ecosystem.
MBAN views the target audience for the programme to be high net worth individuals and high income earners whose numbers are increasing in Malaysia. Professionals, expatriates and general investing public who are still unaware of the opportunities offered by angel investing are also the target audience.
Razif Aziz, the executive director of MBAN adds that Angels in the City programme is looking to forge partnerships across the ecosystem involving incubators, accelerators, co-working spaces and funding entities that include government bodies, venture capitalists and crowd funding platforms. Likewise, expert service providers from the law, accounting, tax and IP firms are also amongst those whom MBAN looks forward to collaborate with. While some are capable of providing start-ups with funding assistance, others can share their expertise and knowledge in guiding both angels and entrepreneurs.
“The partnerships we intend to forge involve different parties who each play an equally crucial role towards the success of the Angels in the City programme and ultimately, the angel investment scene,” Razif said.
Razif also says that Angels in the City complements the Angel Tax Investment Incentive, an initiative administered by the Angel Tax Office (ATIO), a unit under Cradle, where angels enjoy income tax relief of up to RM500,000 following their investments to an accredited start-up.
“Angels in the City acts as a focal point that brings together its angel investors and prepared early-stage businesses to interact socially. Simultaneously, angels get the opportunity to socialise, collaborate and co-invest, hence encouraging more syndicated angel investments and emergence of lead angels in the country,” added Razif.
From the event or activity perspective, the Angels in the City programme in Kuala Lumpur will entail the running of a series of Investor Workshops, Entrepreneur Pitch Readiness Workshops and Pitch Sessions which are scheduled to take place at specific intervals throughout the year.
In regard to the programme’s future plans, Razif also says that MBAN is eyeing on expanding the programme to other parts of Malaysia starting with established commercial hubs such as Penang and Johor Bharu targeting before the end of the first half of 2016 or earlier if MBAN manages to find suitable partners.