22 FEBRUARY 2022


Being the State’s ongoing initiative to empower the tech start-up ecosystem, I am pleased to be here today to announce the launch of Penang i4.0 Seed Fund Stream #4.

The Penang i4.0 Seed Fund initiative started in 2018 and having launched three funding streams previously, the fund had benefitted a total of 37 start-ups. In today’s Stream #4, the State has allocated RM1 million to support the early-stage start-ups, hence bringing the total funds allocated to date amounted to RM5 million.   

The funding scope of i4.0 Seed Fund covers product enhancement, marketing and branding activities as well as technical, product or design hires and intellectual property-related costs. The focus sectors include the Internet of Things (IoT), Advanced Manufacturing, Consumer Digital, EdTech, Health Tech, Clean Tech companies and other tech-based activities, with priorities given to start-ups that support Penang’s Electrical & Electronics (E&E) ecosystem.

The eligibility criteria for this programme include:

  • early-stage tech start-ups that have a working minimum viable product with positive early traction
  • company incorporated in Malaysia having at least 51% ownership by Malaysian citizens
  • operating for less than 5 years
  • accumulated revenue of not exceeding RM1 million

Start-ups that fulfil the above criteria can apply for funding of up to RM100,000. Non-financial support such as mentorship, capacity building programmes and industry linkage opportunities are among the perks provided to the fund recipients.

The application period for Penang i4.0 Seed Fund Steam #4 starts from 22 February till 22 March 2022. Applications can be made through the website of InvestPenang and its social media platforms. InvestPenang is the State agency appointed for the management and administration of the Penang i4.0 Seed Fund.

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce the steering and evaluation committee. The evaluation committee is made up of industry captains and founders of successful start-ups. They are tasked to evaluate the submitted proposals and candidates while providing recommendations to the steering committee members for the final approval.

Members of the steering committee are: Myself as the chairperson, Dato’ Dr Muhammad Farazi Johari (State Financial Officer) and Dato’ Seri Lee Kah Choon (Special Investment Advisor to the Chief Minister of Penang).

Members of the evaluation committee include:

  • Chairperson: Dato’ Loo Lee Lian (CEO of InvestPenang)
  • Amar Chhajer (Country Head of UST Global)
  • Chan Kee Siak (Founder & CEO of Exabytes Network)
  • Charles Tang (Founder & CEO of eSolved MSC)
  • Chuah Choon Bin (Executive Chairman of Pentamaster)
  • Howie Chang (Founder & CEO of Forward School)
  • Lau Kean Cheong (CEO of Inari)
  • Ng Sang Beng (CEO of Aemulus)
  • Ober Choo (CTO of Cytron Technologies)
  • Radin Ikram (Principal, BizCoach Solutions)

Ladies & gentlemen,

With the accelerated innovation and the growing importance of start-ups, Malaysia aims to increase the number of start-ups to 5,000 by 2025 and attract 2 unicorns, as mentioned in the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint.

In this regard, Penang constantly places itself at the forefront on innovation and is well-positioned as an entrepreneurial state, underpinned by our vibrant ecosystem. Penang i4.0 Seed Fund aptly attested the State’s persistent effort in nurturing and propelling our homegrown brands.  

As we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Penang’s industrialisation this year, the decades of industrial excellence and elevated capabilities of talent in Penang have laid the groundwork in steering our state-of-the-art creation. Holding on to the aspiration of becoming a global innovation hub, we are making great strides in developing an enabling environment for the start-ups and is definitely an up-and-comer that is worth keeping an eye on.

In fact, we have seen commendable performance among the past recipients, received greater visibility and recognition by other investors beyond seed funding. This has definitely instilled confidence on the capabilities of our homegrown start-ups, placing us on the right trajectory to come into our own and to realize the goal of having a Penang-powered unicorn.

Before I end, I would like to call upon all qualified tech start-ups to apply for the fund and leverage on it as a springboard to greater success.

Thank you.

Pejabat Ketua Menteri Pulau Pinang Tingkat 28, KOMTAR, 10502, George Town, Pulau Pinang