Malaysian robotics company DF Automation & Robotics raises funds from MTDC

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  • Has 15 IPs including 4 patents pending, with customers around the world
  • Plan the next financing with bigger and more premium products

DF Automation & Robotics Sdn Bhd, one of Malaysia’s leading robotics companies with over 15 intellectual properties, four of which are patent pending, and a global customer base from Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, India, Mexico , Malta and United Kingdom, recently received the Business Growth Fund (BGF) from the Malaysian Technology Development Corporation (MTDC).

Declining to reveal the amount, although successful BGF grantees have been known to accrue up to US$2.36 million (RM10 million) per company, the funding will be used for its global expansion, primarily the creation of a branch in India as well as to increase inventory to speed up the sales cycle. Apart from financing, DF also obtains business advisory services from MTDC.

DF designs and develops industrial mobile robots called Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR) and Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) for industries that help reduce reliance on manual labor and improve material handling in a factory.

It was co-founded by a trio of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia alumni, Dr Yeong Che Fai, Ricky Yap Wee Yang and Tan Ping Hua in 2012, where Yeong is also an associate professor. Over the past 10 years since its establishment, DF has gone from strength to strength, with more than 65 employees developing multiple robotic products.

The DF Automation team is proud.

Norhalim Yunus, CEO of MTDC, said, “We are collaborating with multiple stakeholders to develop local robotics businesses as well as other businesses supporting the pillars of Industry 4.0. Investment is one of the ways MTDC helps support their growth in addition to other services, including financial, marketing and business advisory services and training. DF Automation was one of the proactive robotics companies that MTDC helped to collaborate with Tunku Muhriz UKM Hospital to develop and test the hospital delivery robot system, the MCK19 or more famous Makcik Kiah!

Norhalim says the agency looks forward to helping DF take it to the next level in automation and robotics. MTDC envisions that with the networks and resources available from other larger and more mature companies within the MTDC ecosystem and also listed entities, DF will be able to move forward and grow tremendously.

MTDC is a wholly owned company of Khazanah Nasional Bhd and as an agency under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) was established in March 1992.

Yeong, President and Co-Founder of DF, said, “We are honored and grateful that MTDC believes in us. DF would like to express our utmost gratitude to the team at MTDC who support our mad quest to become the leading robotics company in Malaysia and a trusted global brand.

DF has taken advantage of the pandemic which has made the corporate world realize the importance of robotics in various sectors, especially in manufacturing, automotive and warehousing. Emphasizing that DF must act quickly and strategically to remain competitive and seize market opportunities, it will be difficult to grow at a rapid pace without a good strategic partner. Therefore, DF is already planning its next round of investment.

“We plan to expand the current factory to 17,000 square feet. To support our upcoming new products that are larger and more upscale, we anticipate a need for a factory size of between 35,000 square feet and 50,000 square feet.”

DF has already secured funding from Cradle Fund, MOSTI Technofund, ECF PitchIN where in 2019 he raised US$709,000 (RM3 million) from 177 investors, NTIS, MIDA Industry4wrd Intervention Fund and angel investors for DF’s growth in research, development and commercialization.

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