Interview Investor

Midana Capital: We Need to do More for Malaysia’s Tech Startup Ecosystem

About four years ago, two Malaysians founded the venture capital company Midana Capital. Headquartered in Hong Kong, their early investments are mostly solid asset-based manufacturing companies in China. They then shifted focus to tech startups in Taiwan and Singapore in 2015. And this year, they are back in Malaysia and ready to engage with Malaysian startups and do more for the local startup ecosystem by leveraging the network they have built over the last few years. 


“We invested in this company… They invented a nurse call system with IoT technology integrated in it,” Allan Tan, Managing Director of Midana Capital, recalled one of the Taiwanese companies they have invested in, when asked in the interview about the type of startups that would stir the firm’s interest.

“Let me give a scenario. Most patients in the hospital are given drips for various reasons. And traditionally, nurses would need to make rounds in the wards physically to monitor the drips to know when to stop or change the drips. With IoT, drips are constantly monitored through their weights and are directly connected to the nurse call system, nurses will be notified immediately as and when any of the drips require attention.”

The company that Allan just described is called Melten. It is a Taiwanese company founded in 2013 to help improve nursing efficiency in the hospital through connected healthcare system enabled by IoT (Internet of Things) and Blockchain technology. Allan expressed that the tech companies that Midana Capital is interested are those with disruptive technology that would revolutionise the way the society operates.

Technology is the way forward and we like to invest in companies with revolutionary technologies that would improve the environment and our daily human life.

What was mentioned about Melten above is only one of the many things they are building. Allan said: “the highlight of this investment is really about being able to work together with the team in developing a smart hospital, where everything is automated and data are being gathered and analysed to help medical professionals work better. This is really exciting for us.”

Besides Melten, Midana Capital’s other tech investments includes Singapore’s Evercomm Uni-Tech (helps enterprises manage and save energy consumptions) and Denova Sciences (a Nanyang Technological University spin-off biotechnology company) and Taiwan’s Owlting (e-commerce platform with blockchain technology), Maicoin (one-stop digital asset platform), and the more recent US$200,000 investment in the wireless hardware wallet for Bitcoins, CoolBitX.

As a Malaysian, I would like to help Malaysian entrepreneurs grow.

After their rounds abroad (with a total of US$10 million invested) over the past few years, Midana Capital is now looking at Malaysia. Allan is very passionate about tech, and even more passionate about tech entrepreneurship development in Malaysia.

Midana Capital is a “seed to exit lead venture capital investor”. They are open to come in at any stage as long as it fits. “Typically, for a US$1 million deal, we will hold 10-20% stakes of the company and then we will open up the opportunity for our LPs (limited partners) and funds of funds to invest, that’s why we say we are the lead investor,” Allan elaborated.

The firm is currently in negotiation with at least two local tech startups, and will continue to search for companies that would complement and are attuned to Midana Capital’s current investment portfolios.

Allan is optimistic that Midana Capital will stay active in the Malaysian startup ecosystem. “As a nation, we need to do more to push the startup ecosystem forward,” he expressed.

The startup ecosystem remains fragmented, as Allan pointed out. He is appalled that a large group of tech entrepreneurs are still unaware and missed the opportunities provided by some of the initiatives provided by the Government, such as MaGIC, Cradle Fund, etc. “Perhaps, there is a need for the Government to reach out further and get the words out,” said Allan.

We can’t make all the money in this world, but we can leave an impact.

Apart from funding, Midana Capital is committed to help build a better ecosystem for investors and entrepreneurs to connect through their “Entrevestor” programme, in which they invite partners, mentors and influencers from different markets to share knowledge and resources, among them are Owlting CEO Darren Wang, who went to Boston University, had worked at Google HQ and Cyworld before starting Owlting in 2014.

Allan explained: “Our programme is currently conducted in Chinese language, however, our goal is to eventually extend this programme to the wider community in the country.”

“Collaboration is key,” Allan stressed and looks forward to broaden the firm’s network and work with more players in the startup scene.

Midana Capital is founded by Allan and his partner Chris Tan. Combining Allan’s expertise in capital market and financial products, and Chris’ experiences in trade and entrepreneurship, Midana Capital wants to make good, sustainable investments, creating a win-win situation for both entrepreneurs and investors.

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