Six Malaysian firms make it to Forbes Asia 100 to Watch 2023

KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 29): Six Malaysian firms have made it to this year’s Forbes Asia 100 to Watch list, which spotlights small companies and startups that are targeting underserved markets or applying new technologies, from generative AI to blood-based cancer diagnostics.

The list, which was released on Monday, include eco-friendly innovations, such as the development of insect-based alternative proteins and digitisation of milk production to improve yields.

Others include social commerce providers, which help users sell consumer products. Thirteen countries and territories are represented across 11 categories, including biotechnology and healthcare, e-commerce and retail, and finance.

Leading the list for the second year in a row, Singapore contributed 20 companies, followed by Hong Kong with 15 and mainland China with 11.

The emerging innovation hubs of Indonesia contributed 11 companies and the Philippines contributed nine companies.

The Malaysian firms on the list are:


Category: Enterprise Technology

Year founded: 2014 • CEO: Kamarul Muhamed

Key backers: 500 Global, ACSL, Axiata Digital Innovation Fund, Drone Fund, Gobi Partners, Indorama, InterVest, Kejora Capital, Kobashi Industries, KWAP, North Summit Capital, Petronas Ventures, Leave a Nest, Real Tech Fund, VentureTECH

Aerodyne’s autonomous drones can spray crops, inspect power lines or monitor city streets. The company’s AI-powered “nested” drone system helps devices sync with one another and return to a common charging base. Since its founding, Aerodyne claims it’s conducted over 458,000 flight operations in 45 countries, and has raised a total of US$68 million (RM316.3 million).


Year founded: 2013 • CEO: Murali Krishnamurthy

Key backers: Big Sky Capital, MDEC, PlaTCOM Ventures, SME Corp

BoomGrow repurposes shipping containers into indoor vertical farms. The startup claims it grows over 250 types of pesticide-free produce, such as romaine lettuce and Swiss chard, which it sells through grocery stores and restaurants. Based in Kuala Lumpur, the startup also operates in the Philippines.

Care Concierge

Category: Enterprise Technology

Year founded: 2017 • CEO: Martin Yap

Key backers: Bintang Capital Partners, Gobi Partners, OSK Ventures International

Targeting Malaysia’s ageing population, Care Concierge offers assisted living facilities and caregiving services for the elderly. Through Care Concierge’s app, users can select from a pool of 2,000 nurses, therapists and caregivers. It also allows clients to monitor their elderly loved ones’ vital signs, based on updates from their attendants. To date, Care Concierge has raised US$4 million in funding.

Involve Asia

Category: Consumer Technology

Year founded: 2014 • CEO: Jimmy How

Key backers: 500 Global, Bintang Capital Partners, Cradle Seed Ventures, OSK Technology Ventures

Marketing platform Involve Asia connects brands with micro-influencers—generally defined as influencers with fewer than 100,000 followers on social media—for affiliate marketing or other advertising programs. The startup claims it works with over 500 brands, including international labels like Nike and Sephora. To date, Involve Asia has raised a total of US$16.5 million in funding.


Category: E-commerce & Retail

Year founded: 2016 • CEO: Thinesh Kumar Asogan

Key backers: Adaptive Capital Partners, Creador, Gobi Partners, Nexea, WatchTower & Friends

First launched as a wholesale website for cleaning tools, IT equipment and other office supplies, Lapasar expanded to fast-moving consumer goods during the pandemic, catering to small mom-and-pop stores and larger companies alike. The startup claims it oversees its own warehousing and distribution network, spanning 10,000 suppliers. It’s raised US$5.7 million in funding to date.


Year founded: 2016 • CEO: Yen Ming Lee

Key backers: Altara Ventures, Auspac Investment Management, Gobi Partners, Khazanah Nasional, KK Fund, Spiral Ventures

PolicyStreet provides digital insurance solutions to both businesses and consumers. The Kuala Lumpur-headquartered startup says it’s partnered with Southeast Asian e-commerce giant Shopee to insure packages, and with ride-hailing giant Grab to insure drivers. It has raised a total of US$22 million from investors including Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund, Khazanah Nasional.

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