Technology Startups Funding Relief Facility Simplified

Dubbed as Technology Startups Funding Relief Facility (TSFRF), the government yesterday announced that RM100 mil has been allocated to Malaysia Debt Ventures Bhd (MDV) help technology startups affected by the Covid-19 crisis.

A copy of the full speech of the announcement by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) Minister Khairy Jamaluddin can be found here (in Malay)

Here are some details that we know so far.

The minister highlighted the MaGIC’s survey on startups, where MaGIC found out that over 40% of the local startups may not be able to survive if lockdown continues after May.

Quick brief of The Technology Startups Funding Relief Facility (TSFRF) loan

The TSFRF is essentially a cash line loan that you can drawdown for your working capital or expansion needs. Take a look at the full features of the MDDV loan here, and the loan has a financing rate of up to 3.5% with a limit of RM2.5 mil loan per company.

Although the financing doesn’t require the company to provide any collateral per se, the directors need to give a personal guarantee over the financing.

Who can apply for the MDV loan?

According to the MDV’s website, there are two main conditions that a technology company need to satisfy before it can be considered for the loan.

First, the company must have been a recipient of existing venture capital or backed by a government agency. Although the website does not state what are these entities, they may likely refer to existing funding agencies like Cradle Fund, Cradle Seed Ventures, MAVCAP, MTDC and so on.

Secondly, the company must satisfy any of the following criteria:

  • majority equity ownership held by Malaysians
  • majority Malaysian employees
  • majority of revenue generated in Malaysia

These are all understandable conditions given the focus of the funding is to help local technology companies.

But there seem to be some points that were not included on the MDV’s website.

Other conditions to look out for

In the minister’s speech, he also specified that the applicant seeking to apply for the loan needs to satisfy and demonstrate the following:

  • good strategic position
  • competitiveness position
  • growth potential
  • credit assessment

It may not be clear if these will form as additional requirements as they are not specifically stated on the MDV TSFRF’s website.

Also, in the minister’s speech, there’s a mention that “majoriti pendapatan dijana dalam 2 negara” (the majority of the revenue is generated from two countries). It may imply that the applicant should already be revenue-generating and has been commercialising its products or services outside Malaysia. In any case, it’d be worthwhile to wait for more clarification or guidelines from MDV on this

There seems to be some discussion among the online community whether or not debts should be the way especially when it comes to helping our technology companies.

https://twitter.com/Inbarajs/status/1258839022937362432?s=20

I do feel that any technology company seeking to apply for a loan of any nature should think carefully on the pros and cons when they get into debts especially during this uncertain Covid-19 crisis.

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