The Edge, 20 December 2021
KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 20): Iris Capital Partners Sdn Bhd has launched Malaysia’s first privately led venture debt fund, the Iris Fund, which aims to finance high-impact startups from Malaysia and the Asean region.
Wan Kamaruzaman: The fund is aimed to diversify capital sources for startups and help strengthen the financing opportunities in Southeast Asia.
The firm is one of eight venture capital (VC) fund managers selected under the Dana Penjana Nasional (DPN) programme through Penjana Kapital Sdn Bhd, which is owned by the Finance Ministry.
In a statement on Monday (Dec 20), Iris Capital said the fund is co-managed by Hanwha Asset Management Co, making this the group’s maiden venture debt partnership in Malaysia, and that the size of the fund will be RM160 million, while the capital was contributed from Penjana Kapital and a host of institutional and high net worth investors.
According to Iris Capital, venture debt funds allow for more accessible financing options for early-stage startups with validated business models and clear market growth opportunities, including minimising shareholding dilution, enhancing financial liquidity, and providing support for fundraising rounds throughout the region.
This, the firm said, allows companies to maintain more autonomy over their assets, while providing access to financing that will allow them to grow significantly over shorter periods of time.
“While the Iris Fund is not limited to specific sectors or funding stages, we do look for companies with comprehensive business plans and projections that have clear strategies for long-term growth prospects.
“The fund is aimed to diversify capital sources for startups and help strengthen the financing opportunities in Southeast Asia,” said Iris Fund chairman Datuk Wan Kamaruzaman Wan Ahmad.
Partner at Iris Fund, Kimo Kim, said this inaugural venture represents the group’s strong belief in the growth of the region.
“The fund will be the first of many partnerships with Iris Capital Partners as the group is looking to invest more in Malaysia and Southeast Asia.
“This fund aims to offer more accessible financing to startups and small medium enterprises (SMEs) — while allowing founders to control their dilution better,” he said.
Looking ahead, Iris Capital Partners said the Iris Fund aims to help propel Malaysian and Southeast Asian startups and SMEs to greater heights, as well as aid in the growth of Malaysia’s economy through companies that are creating job opportunities in the country.