Private investment platform Fundnel expands to MY, picks PR agency

Private investment platform Fundnel has expanded into Malaysia, with co-founder and CFO Sng Khai Lin leading the team. A total of five employees are present in the Malaysia office. In a statement to A+M, Kelvin Lee, co-founder and CEO of Fundnel said the expansion into Malaysia has always been part of its plan since its inception in 2015. According to Lee, the team spent nearly two years on the ground, talking to Malaysian businesses and investors to understand the local market.

Malaysia's "vibrant economy", coupled with the growing number of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), made it "an obvious choice", Lee said. "Also, given the proximity of countries in the region, we naturally received interest from our investors, which further validated our decision," he added.

Fundnel aims to offer SMEs a comprehensive suit of capital raising services, targeted at local unlisted growth companies that form the backbone of the economy including SMEs - from local cafés and retail stores to larger companies in the fields of education and wellness. To raise brand awareness of its services, it focuses on PR and digital marketing to promote its unique value proposition and position the company as a thought leader in the industry.

It also picked GO Communications to localise its value proposition and engage the Malaysian audience. Currently present in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, India and Australia, Fundnel has raised funds for SMEs including Bambu and Rooftop Group in Singapore, as well as Travelio and Armada Wavehouse in Indonesia. Moving forward, it plans to deepen its network in each of these countries, with the aim of helping more private companies raise growth capital.

Last month, the Malaysian government announced certain initiatives for SMEs during Budget 2019, one of them being the formation of an RM2 billion co-investment fund targeting new growth areas. Lee described the move to be "very encouraging" and is steadfast in its goal of creating access to capital for everyday companies.

According to him, SMEs often face challenges obtaining capital, which "inhibits their growth". "We believe that funding good-quality private businesses will create more jobs in Malaysia and in turn spur economic growth. Our team is excited to commence work and make a difference for the local market," Lee told A+M.

(Read also: Budget 2019 allocation for SMEs a ‘step in the right direction’, say industry players)