Artem Ventures has announced the closing of a successful first year of funding emerging startups and SMEs in Malaysia. Since November 2022, the VC has invested in 12 local companies including Kiddocare, du-it, MADCash, and Qwork.
The firm plans to scale rapidly in the upcoming year, supporting over 10 new companies by Q2 2024. Led by Managing Partners Ng Sai Kit and Low Zhen Hui, and Tunku Omar Asraf, Artem’s Principal, Artem Ventures partnered with FWD, a pan-Asian life insurer, to launch TIM Ventures, an RM45 million venture capital fund to invest in emerging start-ups in the insurtech and Islamic fintech space in Malaysia with the overall aim of driving financial inclusion across underserved communities.
A member of the Malaysian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association, Artem Ventures is dedicated to mentoring and coaching portfolio companies in developing their ESG capabilities, implementing business strategies, and using its extensive network of partners for strategic talent acquisition.
Artem’s partnership with Google’s Startups for Sustainable Development program also allows them to empower impact-focused startups and promote sustainable development in Malaysia across different communities.
“When we look at which companies to invest in and support, an important thing we consider is: how will this company bring value to the ecosystem and contribute back to society? We have proudly championed women-led companies and social enterprises that have dedicated their time to community development on a local and regional scale and economic growth in Malaysia,” said Tunku Omar Asraf, Principal of Artem Ventures. “Our mission is to create opportunities for businesses outside of predictable urban markets to support rural and, by extension, nationwide communities regardless of its background or industry.”
Artem also serves as a partner for individuals and groups who are looking to invest but lack the expertise, ability to do the relevant research, and manpower to invest on their own. The firm’s managing partners, Ng Sai Kit and Low Zhen Hui, who have worked for several years on CVCs prior to founding Artem, pulled together their extensive experience enabling CVCs to achieve strategic objectives through investing in innovation and technology in order to accurately validate and identify good investment opportunities.
The partners have also helped address CVC problems by identifying new markets, solutions, and partners that would benefit them sustainably and financially. Working closely with its stakeholders, Artem ensures not only that financial fiduciary is upheld but that corporate and individual objectives are achieved.
While groups and individuals are keen to invest in the budding Malaysian market, there exists a gap in the process that leads to longer investment timelines and tougher financial situations for companies. In order to address these issues, Artem takes the time to sit with investors and understand their investment goals to advise them on which companies to invest in — streamlining investment processes and increasing overall efficiency for both investors and portfolio companies.
It is from Ng and Low’s extensive experience, having seen different investment cycles and market trends, that Artem is able to readily bring rigorous governance and fiduciary care familiar to corporates to the funds under their management. This includes portfolio monitoring and reporting, portfolio valuation, and identifying opportunities for both investors and portfolio companies. Recently, Artem successfully brought together Kiddocare and FWD for a collaboration to launch MindCare, a mental health support initiative for caregiving communities.
“Kiddocare is thrilled to join forces with Artem Ventures on this transformative journey. As we strive to redefine care through technology, Artem’s commitment to empowering women-led businesses aligns seamlessly with our mission. We are excited about the possibilities and the meaningful contribution we can make with Artem and especially to the care industry and community,” said Nadira Yusoff, Founder and CEO of Kiddocare.
Since its inception, Artem has focused its energy on not only connecting investors with companies but also enhancing entrepreneurs’ capacities and capabilities to build sustainable businesses. This dual-strategy approach has enabled Artem to boost the growth of Malaysian companies, upholding not only strict standards in governance and fund management but also leveraging the team’s experience in Malaysian investments.
Entering at early stage funding rounds, Artem works with companies to create structure and trust which includes the inclusion of portfolio companies in educational programs that help founders build their professional networks and learn more about how to optimise operations, branding and storytelling, and technology or digital adoption amongst other practices.
Apart from the standard business enhancement and growth scaling mentorship, Artem is also committed to educating companies on awareness, adoption, and opportunities in ESG investing while ensuring its companies receive technological and market validation.
“Being backed by a hands-on VC such as Artem Ventures has not only allowed Qwork to expand our gig offerings to booming new industries but also empowered the reach of a suitable workforce to MSMEs around the region for flexible, effective, and reliable scaling,” said Muna Munirah, CEO and Co-founder of Qwork. “The fund also helped us to expand our upskilling programs for the Qwork gig community — enriching both sides of society: businesses in dire need of assistance and workers in the tumultuous economic environment”.
In 2024, Artem will be bullish on Malaysia’s innovation and startup ecosystem. With robust government initiatives like Dana Impak, Cradle Fund, and policies enticing corporate investment in Venture Capital Funds, the landscape is primed for growth and Artem Ventures, having thrived in Fintech, now aims to broaden its impact.
Artem’s commitment extends beyond sectors, embracing an environment, social, and governance investment approach, ensuring a holistic contribution to the evolving narrative of progress and sustainability.