FWD Group Holdings is deepening its Islamic fintech commitment with the launch of a RM45 million (US$10.06 million) venture capital (VC) fund in partnership with Malaysian VC firm Artem Ventures to invest in Shariah compliant financial technology and insurtech.
The new fund, TIM Ventures, has already invested into four start-ups: Pewarisan, a digital platform for Islamic inheritance planning; Senang, an on-demand subscription-based insurance company; Blueduck, a zero-deposit insurance agency; and Du-It, a payment solutions company.
“By launching TIM Ventures, we hope to support early-stage entrepreneurs in Malaysia by not just providing them with financing, but also helping to connect them with the networks and expertise they need to succeed,” said Sim Preston, FWD managing director and group COO. “We hope to invest in businesses that share our vision as we work together on changing the way people feel about Takaful.”
The VC fund follows FWD launching a pre-accelerator program last year, the FWD Start-up Studio, designed to support start-ups in the Islamic and conventional insurance technology space. It had allocated RM1.2 million (US$291,698) to be mobilized over two years.
With a geographical footprint spanning across 10 Asian markets, namely Hong Kong and Macau, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Japan, Cambodia and Malaysia, choosing to base the studio in Kuala Lumpur was a strategic move to capitalize on the country’s global leadership in Islamic finance to boost Takatech while also creating new opportunities in the conventional insurance space.
Binayak Dutta, FWD managing director for emerging markets and group chief distribution officer, said, that the launch of TIM Ventures and the FWD Start-up Studio underscores the Hong Kong-based company’s commitment to the Malaysian market and the role it wants to play in closing the Takaful protection gap.