News In Brief

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Welcome to our ‘News In Brief’ column in which we digest all the news releases for you in no more than five paragraphs. Below are snippets of all the media releases we received from Oct 23 till the end of the week.

Venture Surge: Startup Expansion

Surge 09 will include two Australian startups in addition to seven from India and four from South East Asia
Surge 09 will include two Australian startups in addition to seven from India and four from South East Asia.

Sydney, Oct 23: Venture capital firm Peak XV has unveiled its ninth cohort of Surge, an initiative for early-stage startups, featuring 32 founders across 13 companies.
Over 75 percent of the startups in this cohort are focused on AI and deep tech for global markets. Notably, this marks the program’s expansion into the Asia-Pacific region with the inclusion of Australian startups, Mercu and Relevance AI.
Surge is designed to help founders scale their businesses with mentorship and expertise from Peak XV’s network.
The ninth cohort, Surge 09, encompasses diverse companies from India, Singapore, and Australia, with a strong emphasis on emerging technologies like AI and deep tech.
Relevance AI aims to automate workflows with a no-code AI workforce, serving various sectors.
Mercu is dedicated to empowering deskless workers worldwide, while also leveraging existing chat apps for connecting and upskilling employees.
The Surge program, with nine cohorts and over 330 founders, has collectively raised over $2 billion in follow-on funding post-Surge.
The recent 16-week hybrid program for Surge 09 provides founders with valuable insights from experienced mentors, contributing to the growth of early-stage startups.

Thinktank Partners with NextGen

Sydney, Oct 24: Thinktank, a specialist in the self-employed sector offering property-secured financial solutions, has teamed up with NextGen’s ApplyOnline platform to enhance its presence in the third-party mortgage market in Australia.
Thinktank will use the ApplyOnline platform for electronic submission of home loan applications from mortgage brokers, initially through select groups, and plans to expand to additional broker groups in 2024.
The partnership allows Thinktank to optimize its operations and provide brokers with a frictionless electronic lodgement solution for home loans, making the application process more efficient.
This collaboration further solidifies Thinktank’s position in the commercial and residential property finance sector.

Raiz Expands Property Portfolio

Raiz Invest (ASX: RZI) Unveils New Investment Opportunity in the Raiz Property Fund.

Sydney, Oct 24: Raiz Invest Limited, Australia’s leading micro-investing platform, has added a new property, 77 Glenhaven Road, Glenhaven, to its Raiz Property Fund.
This addition marks the 11th property in the Fund, with the property featuring a freestanding home on a 951 square meter block in suburban Sydney.
Offering four bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a swimming pool, it is conveniently situated near shops, schools, and transport.
The Raiz Property Fund is an innovative way for investors to participate in Australian residential property investments, offering exposure to independently valued properties with rental income contributing to the Fund’s unit value.
With a minimum investment of just $5.00 and no lock-in commitments, Raiz Invest aims to make property investments accessible and inclusive for a wide range of investors. Grant Brits, COO of Raiz Invest, expressed excitement over the Fund’s continued growth and diversification, making it a compelling option for investors.
You can learn more about the Raiz Property Fund on the Raiz Invest website.

Global Employee Experience Trends

Sydney, Oct 24: NTT Ltd., a prominent IT infrastructure and services firm, released its 2023 Global Employee Experience Trends Report.
The report indicates that while 84 percent of businesses recognize the positive impact of hybrid work, just 43 percent believe employees have adequate technology for effective remote work.
Companies that increased IT spending and invested in EX tech outperformed peers in growth and employee satisfaction.
Additionally, AI is seen as a key enabler for future Customer Experience and Employee Experience strategies, with AI interfaces becoming the norm for 80 percent of organizations within a year.
However, 86 percent believe human-led support remains crucial for customer engagement.
For the full report, visit the NTT website.

Financial Year Starts Volatile

Sydney, Oct 24: The commencement of the 2023-24 financial year has been marked by significant market volatility.
Unisuper Chief Investment Officer John Pearce addresses the factors driving this instability and explores the ongoing shares vs. bonds debate in his latest video update:

  1. Bond Market Turmoil: Recent times have witnessed a bond market sell-off, with US bond prices influencing global asset valuations.
  2. Fed’s Interest Rate Pause: The US Federal Reserve (the Fed) has indicated a temporary halt in its interest rate hike cycle.
  3. Lingering Inflation Concerns: While inflation has slightly decreased, it remains below central banks’ targets.
  4. Equities Face Volatility: Stock markets have not been immune to this turbulence, impacting short-term performance, especially in Global Companies in Asia and Global Environmental Opportunities options.
  5. Historical Bond Context: Despite concerns, current bond prices align with a 150-year historical norm, indicating a return to a more conventional market environment.

The perennial question of whether shares or bonds offer better prospects remains complex. In the long run, shares are expected to outperform bonds, but they come with higher volatility and the potential for significant losses in certain years. Investors navigating these complexities can benefit from John Pearce’s insights.
His commentary provides a comprehensive understanding of current market conditions and the diverse potential of investment avenues.

SailPoint’s Annual Security Report

Kuala Lumpur, Oct 24: SailPoint Technologies, in collaboration with Accenture, has unveiled insights from its 2023 ‘Horizons of Identity Security’ report, based on input from over 375 global cybersecurity executives.
The report highlights the critical nature of identity security, with 90 percent of cybersecurity breaches linked to identity.
Surprisingly, the study reveals that 44 percent of companies are still in the early stages of their identity security journeys, even among mature organizations that cover less than 70 percent of their identities with foundational governance capabilities.
This underscores the importance of conveying the business value of identity security to executives, given that 77 percent of respondents cite limited executive sponsorship as a primary obstacle to investment in this area, alongside budget constraints.
However, the report demonstrates the advantages of robust identity security programs in terms of fostering business agility, risk mitigation, efficiency improvements, and advancing technology initiatives. In the APAC region, many organizations are still in the early stages of their identity security journeys, making it crucial to accelerate identity maturity and adopt strong security programs.

ECRL Volunteers Clean-Up

ECRL Project Leads River Preservation.

Kuala Lumpur, Oct 24: Volunteers from the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) Project, along with community leaders, recently conducted a ‘gotong-royong’ clean-up at the Hutlista 2 recreational park as part of National Environment Day celebrations.
Over 25 large trash bags were filled during the 2-hour clean-up, aligning with the launch of the ‘#OurRiver, Together We Preserve’ program, a CSR initiative by Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL), the ECRL project owner, and China Communications Construction (ECRL) Sdn Bhd (CCC-ECRL), the ECRL main contractor.
The initiative promotes environmental responsibility and sustainable practices while collaborating with the Department of Environment (DOE) Selangor.
MRL’s CEO, Datuk Sri Darwis Abdul Razak, emphasized their commitment to conserving the environment throughout the ECRL project.
CCC-ECRL’s Deputy Project Director, Liu Jianming, reiterated the commitment to intertwining construction efforts with environmental sustainability for a harmonious balance between infrastructure progress and nature conservation.

Airbnb Collaborates with PLANMalaysia


Kuala Lumpur, Oct 25: Airbnb has partnered with PLANMalaysia to provide industry insights and global best practices on national Short-Term Rental Accommodation (STRA) guidelines through a public consultation.
PLANMalaysia has been developing these guidelines to establish a standardized approach for managing STRA across Malaysia, working closely with various stakeholders.
TPr Dr. Alias Rameli, Director General of PLANMalaysia, noted that the organization has taken the responsibility of formulating Short-Term Rental Accommodation Planning Guidelines since January, involving input from federal government agencies, local authorities, online travel platforms, and more.
An online survey was conducted from May to June 2023 to gather public and industry input, and focus group discussions were organized.
As part of this collaboration, Airbnb has offered key recommendations, including allowing STRA by default in strata buildings, establishing a national-level online registration portal for STRA operators, and creating an exclusion register for non-compliant operators and guests.
These recommendations are based on global best practices that have proven effective in supporting local tourism economies.
Mich Goh, Airbnb’s Head of Public Policy for Southeast Asia, India, Hong Kong & Taiwan, praised Malaysia’s dynamism in embracing technology and innovation in tourism.
Airbnb’s contributions to Malaysia’s GDP and job market in 2022 were substantial, highlighting the importance of balanced and effective industry regulation.
The Asia Travel Technology Industry Association (ATTIA) welcomes Malaysia’s initiative to develop national STRA guidelines, emphasizing the positive impact of STRA on Malaysia’s tourism landscape and local business revenue.
ATTIA aims to help shape a balanced and inclusive regulatory framework to accommodate both government and industry interests.

CDNetworks Supports Malaysia’s Transformation

Kuala Lumpur, Oct 25: The shift from on-premises infrastructure to the cloud, with a strong focus on cybersecurity, is a pressing concern in Malaysia due to the country’s rapid adoption of cloud computing. In 2022, the Malaysian cloud computing market was valued at USD 1.3 billion, with an expected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 26.6 percent from 2022 to 2027.
Factors driving this growth include the government’s digital transformation push and increased demand for cloud-based services.
CDNetworks, a leading APAC network for Edge as a Service, recently participated in a successful event hosted by Jabatan Perdana Menteri Unit Penyelarasan Pelaksanaan (JPM ICU) and Edaran.
The event provided valuable insights and practical experiences in securing ICT infrastructure and services.
One key challenge highlighted was addressing on-premises issues in Malaysia’s digital evolution. CDNetworks introduced innovative solutions, such as Application Shield, a cloud-based web service protection solution integrating Web Application Firewall, DDoS protection, and CDN acceleration.
API Shield, an API security service to enhance API security, was also unveiled. CDNetworks’ Dynamic Web Acceleration, designed to expedite content delivery for an immersive user experience, was showcased.
Yien Wu, Head of Sales, SSEA and ANZ at CDNetworks, expressed commitment to supporting Malaysia’s digital growth and enhancing online engagements for businesses and users.

Aneka Jaringan Reports Strong FYE2023 Performance

Kuala Lumpur, Oct 26: Aneka Jaringan Holdings Berhad, a basement and foundation construction specialist, announced strong financial results for the fourth quarter ending on August 31, 2023.
In 4Q FYE2023, the group recorded a revenue of RM51.52 million, marking a 1.10 percent increase from RM50.95 million in the corresponding quarter of the previous financial year.
Despite incurring impairments, the group achieved a net profit of RM0.35 million in 4Q FYE2023, signifying a notable recovery from the net loss of RM10.47 million incurred in 4Q FYE2022.
For the entire financial year ending on August 31, 2023, the group reported a total revenue of RM188.58 million, reflecting a 9.59 percent growth compared to RM172.08 million in the previous year.
The group’s order book for the financial year ending on August 31, 2023, stands at RM295.80 million, with RM282.87 million contributed by Malaysian operations and RM12.94 million by Indonesian operations.



New York, Oct 26: Heartpoint Global’s INTELLISTENT® has been named the winner of the Shark Tank Innovation Competition at the Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT) conference.
The groundbreaking multi-lumen stent system is designed to treat Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension caused by congenital heart disease.
It offers a potential solution for a significant unmet clinical need and was selected as the winner by a distinguished panel of judges.
INTELLISTENT® is patented in over 20 countries, and its technology has the potential to treat various indications.
The award includes a $200,000 prize from the Jon DeHaan Foundation, dedicated to advancing cardiac medicine and supporting innovative developments in cardiovascular medicine.

PT Resources Holdings Berhad’s AGM Success

Kuala Lumpur, Oct 26: PT Resources Holdings Berhad, a frozen seafood products processor and trader, concluded its 4th Annual General Meeting with unanimous support for all resolutions. The AGM covered routine business matters and included a special resolution amending the Company’s Constitution, which also received unanimous approval.
Furthermore, the company announced an inaugural dividend of RM3.48 million, distributing 0.65 sen per share for the financial year ending on April 30, 2024. This marks the first dividend distribution since the company’s listing in September 2022.
Heng Chang Hooi, the Managing Director of PT Resources, expressed gratitude to shareholders for their unwavering support. He highlighted the company’s robust revenue growth of 44 percent, amounting to RM502.6 million in FY2023, driven by domestic and overseas demand.
As the global recovery continues and with China’s borders gradually reopening, PT Resources anticipates sustained sales momentum, particularly through its new subsidiaries in China and Indonesia, serving the growing overseas customer base.

ABEA Director Elected to UFI Board

Matt Pearce
Matt Pearce.

Sydney, Oct 27: Matt Pearce, CEO of Talk2 Media & Events and Board Director of the Australian Business Events Association (ABEA), has been elected to the Board of Directors at UFI, The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry.
His three-year term will begin after UFI’s annual General Assembly, taking place on November 1, 2023, in Las Vegas, USA.
UFI is the global trade association for leaders in tradeshow and exhibition center operations, as well as national and international exhibition associations and industry partners.
Matt Pearce’s appointment to the UFI Board ensures Australia’s representation in the global exhibition industry and allows ABEA to influence the industry’s direction.
Melissa Brown, CEO of ABEA, expressed her confidence in Matt Pearce’s ability to represent Australia on the global stage, citing his significant contributions to the industry and ABEA’s formation.
Michael Duck, UFI President and EVP of Commercial Development of Informa Markets welcomed the new Board members and emphasized the exciting contributions being made as the exhibition industry rebounds worldwide.

Propel Global Sells Stake

Kuala Lumpur, Oct 27: Propel Global Berhad, a provider of oil and gas and technical services, has announced the sale of its 55 percent equity interest in Propel Chemicals Sdn Bhd (PCSB) to Hextar Kimia Sdn Bhd (HKSB) for RM9,075,000.
Additionally, Rancak Nikmat Sdn Bhd and Wiramas Baiduri Sdn Bhd will collectively sell their 45 percent stake in PCSB to HKSB for RM7,425,000.
Angeline Lee, Executive Director/Group Chief Executive Officer of Propel Global, stated that the decision to divest was based on PCSB’s financial losses over three years and its challenges as a smaller player in the specialty chemicals market.
The move is part of a strategic plan to exit an unprofitable venture with limited growth prospects.
Propel Global is dedicated to its core business in the oil and gas and construction service sectors, focusing on engineering and technical expertise.
The company aims to be a one-stop integrated solutions provider across industries.
The financial year ending 30 June 2023 showed significant improvements, with revenue and profit before tax (excluding other income) at RM110.9 million and RM7.0 million, respectively, compared to RM77.6 million and RM19.9 million in the previous year.
Propel Global is focusing on fostering synergy among its subsidiaries in the oil and gas and technical services segments to offer custom solutions and enhance financial resilience.

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