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  • Monday, 12 Oct 2015

Silicon Valley VC firm doubles South-East Asia fund

Silicon Valley venture capital firm, 500 Startups, has doubled the size of its fund targeting South-East Asia’s technology startups.

The seed stage investor is now seeking to raise US$20mil, according to an e-mail.

Genting Bhd, which controls South-East Asia’s largest casino operator, is investing US$3mil, according to two people familiar with the matter. South Korea’s GS Home Shopping Inc also reportedly plans to invest.

Kuala Lumpur-based Genting declined to comment.

Genting is the biggest shareholder in Genting Singapore Plc, which operates one of the two casinos in Singapore. The holding company controlled by billionaire Lim Kok Thay also has interests in plantations, cruise-ship, property development and energy.

GS Home Shopping is considering an investment in 500 Startups, a spokeswoman, Park Shin Ye, said. The company operates a TV shopping channel and online malls.

500 Startups declined to comment on whether Genting and GS Home Shopping were investing.

Led by Dave McClure, the firm has about US$200mil of assets under management, with backers including Yahoo Japan Corp and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA. The California-based company is looking to raise US$200mil for its fourth global fund after closing its third one in September with US$85mil, according to its website.

The firm has invested in 1,200 companies across 50 countries since 2010.

Pikom optimistic on AEC implementation

The National ICT Association of Malaysia (Pikom) is optimistic that the Asean Economic Community Digital Taskforce (AADT) set up by the Asian-Oceanian Computing Industry Organisation (Asocio) will provide guidance to the ICT industry to navigate the challenges of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) implementation by December.

Pikom chairman Cheah Kok Hoong said under the Asean ICT Master Plan 2015, ICT would continue to be a major driver in all aspects of the AEC for the next few decades.

“The taskforce will solicit input from member countries and formulate papers for submission to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Asean and their respective governments on policy initiatives to spur growth.

“Among key areas to be addressed by the taskforce are the impact of taxation on the ICT industry, standardisation of systems and processes, as well as mutual recognition arrangements/agreements across the region,” he told reporters after announcing the formation of the AADT here today.

Pikom was last week appointed as the chairman of the AADT on the sidelines of the Asocio-Pikom ICT Leadership Summit.

Cheah said attention would also be focused on the digital divide and socio-economic gaps among Asean member countries in key areas such as broadband penetration, ICT infrastructure, disposable income, market sophistication as well as salary arbitration in the region.

SMEs urged to get with e-commerce

SMEs in the country have been urged to adopt e-commerce application to effectively compete in business.

Deputy International Trade and Industry (Miti) Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan said the SME portal service had been created to facilitate the use of e-commerce by SMEs.

“It’s a website that functions as a one-stop centre for information related to SMEs and includes, among others, information on financing, investments, sales and marketing, enhancing quality of products, licensing, registration and permits,” he added.

Ahmad said through the concept of e-commerce, SMEs can obtain fast and reliable information as well as develop wider business networking.

According to him, there were to date about 600,000 SME entrepreneurs throughout the country but the number using the e-commerce application was still small.

Ahmad said his ministry would step up efforts to get more SMEs to use the application via various programmes, including seminars, before year-end. He added that the SME service portal, www.smeinfo.com.my, by SME Corp Malaysia also had information related to the types of services offered by Miti and related agencies.

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