New Straits Times

Petronas nurtures right ecosystem for local startups

Petronas FutureTech programme aims at scaling them up to global standards


Mazuin said the programme was Petronas’ first attempt at accelerati­ng the growth of Malaysian startups and scale them to internatio­nal standards.

“We realise that there are quite a few Malaysian startups that face challenges in doing so. Therefore, we are providing this opportunit­y to help them realise their potential to grow,” he said, adding that the group plans to make Petronas FutureTech an annual programme.

Petronas in October had set up a venture capital arm, Petronas Corporate Venture Capital (CVC), to drive technology innovation and maintain a competitiv­e edge to support its core oil and gas business for further growth.

A US$350 million fund for investment had been allocated for Petronas CVC to target direct investment­s in technology startups in Industry 4.0, advance materials and specialty chemicals, future of energy, as well as access into new markets.

Over the long term, Mazuin said while the Petronas group continued to make a significan­t investment in technologi­cal developmen­t, it was also reaching out further to find better solutions within the startups’ ecosystems to look for new growth opportunit­ies.

“What we want is access to business solutions. As technology and innovation are quickly evolving, startups will play an important role, and that is why we are reaching out to them.

“This programme is a great way for us to unearth and discover the talents out there. So it is a twopronged approach. We look for technology and innovation that can be solutions to our business pain points, and at the same time, nurture the ecosystem for the startups.

Mazuin pointed out that the group is trying to replicate the success from its years of effort to scale up small- and medium-sized enterprise­s (SMEs) who were under its Vendor Developmen­t Programme (VDP).

“We have the experience under our VDP, which we had been nurturing for the past 26 years, of which some are now large multinatio­nal corporatio­ns and even listed on Bursa Malaysia.

“Drawing from that experience, we think we can do the same for the local startups' industry, and that has given the birth to the FutureTech accelerato­r programme. Petronas has always been committed to uplift its surroundin­g ecosystem.”

The eight-week programme, under Petronas CVC arm, held its first Demo Day recently with 19 startups across the energy, industry, and digital innovation sectors.

The first batch of startups in Petronas FutureTech pitched their business solutions at the event to an audience of venture capitalist­s, top executives from Malaysian government agencies and government-linked companies, as well as other key members of the

Malaysian and regional startup ecosystem.

The startups showcased diverse technology-driven solutions from renewable energy marketplac­es and electric vehicle chargers, to first and mid-mile logistics and nano coatings.

About half of the first batch falls within the enterprise hardware sector, while the other half are from “mid-market” Software as a Service sector.

The top three finalists, POMEN, GA Alliance and AdEasy, will be taking part in a two-week global immersion programme hosted by 500 Startups in San Francisco early next year.

The immersion experience aims to deepen the startups’ learning in product design and growth, as well as to prepare them for financial management and fundraisin­g.

Various parties across industries attended the inaugural Demo Day, including multinatio­nal corporatio­ns and government-linked companies such as UEM Edgenta Bhd, UMW Corporatio­n Sdn Bhd, Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd, Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporatio­n, Sumitomo Corporatio­ns Asia, Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sdn Bhd, Maxis, Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd and Malayan Banking Bhd.

Mazuin said the group was inviting participat­ion from any party that wanted to join forces with Petronas to further nurture the ecosystem for Malaysian startups.

“Five years from now, I can only see startups growing and getting better. If we nurture the ecosystem right, it will grow very quickly, and the right ecosystem will encourage further growth of startups.

“As an economy, we will really benefit from working together and get this to be very successful.”

 ??  ?? Petronas Corporate Strategy senior vice-president Mazuin Ismail says the national oil firm is reaching out further to find better solutions within the startup ecosystem to look for new growth opportunit­ies.
Petronas Corporate Strategy senior vice-president Mazuin Ismail says the national oil firm is reaching out further to find better solutions within the startup ecosystem to look for new growth opportunit­ies.
 ??  ?? Participan­ts of the Petronas FutureTech programme.
Participan­ts of the Petronas FutureTech programme.
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