19 April 2019
by Helena Esnerova
“Although we have a very strong telecommunications and IT infrastructure, we also realise that one of the ways for us to continue driving innovation is to partner with dynamic entrepreneurs in the digital domain. We also want to be among the first corporates to join the budding community of angel investors in Malta. This is what spurred the idea of investing in local and international startups.”
This was stated by Nikhil Patil, CEO of GO during the launch of ‘GO Ventures’, GO’s €2 million Tech Startup Fund at Valletta Contemporary in the presence of the Honourable Mr Silvio Schembri, Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation and other stakeholders in the Maltese innovation and tech start-up ecosystem.
GO announced plans to launch it’s €2million Tech Startup Fund during last October’s Delta Summit. These past months have been dedicated towards setting up the governance and logistical structures for the Fund, establishing connections and meeting potential candidates to understand their expectations better and how GO can assist them.
“We are pleasantly surprised with the feedback we have received so far. It is encouraging indeed and confirms that there is a huge demand for this project. In fact, once we announced this Fund last October, things immediately started shaking up and since then, we have been actively following up on a number of pitches we received and started discussing a few interesting prospects,” added Mr Patil.
Stefan Briffa, who is leading the GO Ventures project, gave a high-level overview of how the Tech Startup Fund will work. He explained that the GO Ventures investment package being made available includes cash, spacious co-working space in B’Kara, GO’s full suite of telecom and cloud services, access to markets and networks and mentoring. He added that GO Ventures will focus mainly on startups in the fields of artificial intelligence, big data and analytics, internet of things, cybersecurity, blockchain, fintech and related areas. “We aim to start building our portfolio with a number of initial investments during the course of 2019,” he concluded.
“Today, Malta offers many services to startups, however, they face a common problem in finding enough local sources of financing and investment. The ‘GO Ventures’ Tech Startup Fund will help address this challenge and by working with like-minded partners, GO wants to help foster a Maltese ecosystem of investment in innovation,” explained Nikhil Patil.
“Most importantly, we want to lend our experience in growing businesses by investing in startups that demonstrate tangible potential in areas that are of interest to our business. We also see this project as a vehicle to deliver yet more value to our shareholders and stakeholders,” he concluded.
Addressing the event, Hon Silvio Schembri added “As a government we shall continue with this drive to empower our nation through all relevant aspects, enhancing our people’s intrinsic appetite for innovation, which as we have discerned thus far, if encouraged and fully supported, will further contribute to Malta’s unique competitive advantage. The €2million Go Ventures Start-up Tech Fund will serve as a springboard for start-up companies that are still identifying ways to implement their digital projects related to new emergent technologies.”
“In our drive to be at the forefront of this digital revolution, it is also essential that the private sector becomes a protagonist in attracting both the foreign talent to support technological development, as well as help nurture and retain home-grown talent. I augur GO for their forward-thinking stance that is setting a new benchmark of how Maltese companies can be direct participants in, and benefit from new technology initiatives. I look forward to seeing start-ups benefit from this start-up tech fund which will in return contribute to Malta’s thriving digital economy” added Hon Schembri.