Golden Gate Ventures, a leading Singapore-based venture capital firm, today announced the opening of its Kuala Lumpur office. Having already utilised a quarter of its Fund II in early-stage tech companies that are based in or operating in Malaysia, the firm now plans to invest an additional RM75 million (US$18 million) to help back Malaysian based start-ups.

The firm believes that Malaysia has the right combination of talent, diversity and potential to grow more tech high-value startups. At the same time, with the office, Golden Gate Ventures is looking to establish a physical presence in the country.

“Several factors make this country an excellent place for technology start-ups”, said Vinnie Lauria, Managing Partner at Golden Gate Ventures. “We already have good Malaysian tech companies in our portfolio and we want to find more.”

According to the company, Malaysia – as the second-most developed economy in ASEAN – has strong fundamentals in place to sustainably grow its already-vigorous start-up scene, as it possesses the region’s highest rate of initial public offerings (IPOs) as well as high digital penetration.

“Malaysia’s rising middle class and business sectors are full of tech-savvy, mobile-savvy users who create demand for cutting-edge IT products and services,” Lauria noted. “Malaysia’s new government, after winning the historic elections this year, is another positive. People are now feeling more optimistic and that sentiment is extending to the business sphere.”

The firm also highlighted Malaysia’s diverse mix of ethnic and cultural influences as strategic alongside the nation’s consistently growing economy.

“With the diversity of its people, culture and economy; Malaysia is truly Asia, and thus makes it the perfect platform for businesses to expand across ASEAN, as the products and services created for this market can take advantage of the country’s built-in potential for scalability,” said Justin Hall, a partner at Golden gate Ventures. “What this means for a start-up is that ‘if you can make it in Malaysia, you can make it anywhere in Southeast Asia.”

Kuala Lumpur is the third and latest location in Southeast Asia where Golden Gate Ventures now has a physical presence, after Singapore and Indonesia. To date, the firm already has several start-ups operating in Malaysia in its portfolio, which include:

  • GoQuo (airline e-commerce and customer relations platforms),
  • ServisHero (e-marketplace for finding home-repair and maintenance specialists),
  • Carousell (C2C buying and selling),
  • Codapay (mobile/online payment gateway) and
  • Homage (home-based care-giving platform)

In addition to its regional expansion, Golden Gate Ventures recently closed a US$ 100 million Fund III and opened a special fund to invest in blockchain technologies and digital-currency start-ups. All the firm’s investments are made in early-stage companies that use IT as well as internet and mobile technologies, and the firm’s investing experience is supported by an advisory board that includes Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin.