Photo: Datuk Seri Tajuddin Atan, CEO, Bursa Malaysia, announces the first LEAP to media.
Early last year, national ICT agency Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) sounded a clarion call for local companies to grow rapidly into the Asean and global markets through a new Global Acceleration and Innovation Network (GAIN) programme.
While the Asean 'pie' was estimated to be worth about US$48 billion (October 2016), in a recent Computerworld Malaysia interview, MDEC's vice president for enterprise development, Gopi Ganesalingam, said the GAIN programme was helping Malaysian companies gain more visibility and credibility across the region.
He added that two of the essential pillars - funding and visibility - went hand in hand in advancing the programme's participants. "Of course, for funding, we don't have money to give directly - but we are able to point them in the right direction. And if you look from 2010 till 2016, we had 100 Malaysian tech companies that got funding from either venture capitalists (VCs, at a figure of around 37-40 percent) or mergers and acquisitions, fresh equity, etc."
Potential for further funding has been opened up by Bursa Malaysia's [Malaysia's stock exchange] new Leading Entrepreneur Accelerator Platform (LEAP) Market initiative. Bursa Malaysia's chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tajuddin Atan explained LEAP has been designed for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Speaking on 3 October 2017 during the announcement of the first company to take advantage of LEAP - Singapore-based Cloudaron Group Berhad - Tajuddin said: "Today is a momentous occasion for Malaysia's capital market. With the inaugural listing of Cloudaron Group Berhad on the LEAP Market, we are opening a new chapter of innovation and development in Malaysia. Today marks many firsts."
"The LEAP Market is the first listing platform of its kind in ASEAN designed for SMEs and Sophisticated Investors. Hence, the listing today is also the first such listing in the region," he continued.
Photo - Bursa Malaysia CEO Datuk Seri Tajuddin Atan (second right) presenting a token of appreciation to Cloudaron managing director and CEO Ong Chang Jeh, while looking on are chairman Dato' Larry Gan (centre), Joeliardi Sunendar (left) and executive director Lum Piew (right)
Capital formation for SMEs
"The LEAP Market will not only help promote capital formation for SMEs, but it will also further strengthen the role of the capital market in the growth of small and mid-cap companies," said Tajuddin.
The LEAP Market complements the existing fundraising ecosystem by offering an alternative platform for SMEs to raise capital in an efficient, fast and transparent marketplace for their business growth. It is an alternative platform for SMEs, giving them the visibility of being a listed entity and assisting these companies in their transformation to better governance and operational standards.
Cloudaron, which specialises in providing technology solutions for cloud, workspace transformation and services for business enterprises, had issued 50 million shares or equivalent to 6.4 percent of its enlarged share capital, to selected investors at an issue price of 11 sen per share in conjunction with the listing.
Cloudaron is helmed by managing director and chief executive officer Ong Chang Jeh. The company currently generates its revenue mainly in Singapore and Malaysia, and intends to go regional with expansion to Indonesia and Philippines. Its key clients include RHB Bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Bank of Singapore.
"For a young, growing technology company, the decision to go public is indeed an exciting development for us at Cloudaron. It is the opening of a new chapter that starts us on our next growth trajectory," said Ong (pic below) adding that, besides organic growth, Cloudaron will be exploring acquisitions to further accelerate growth.