Petronas to invest in agritech startup, Braintree Technologies

Malaysia's iconic Twin Towers are seen in the background of the Malaysian oil and gas company Petronas logo at a petrol station in Kuala Lumpur on August 13, 2014. Malaysian state energy firm Petronas is expected to announce its second quarter earnings later on August 13. AFP PHOTO / MANAN VATSYAYANA / AFP / MANAN VATSYAYANA

Petronas through its corporate venture capital arm, Petronas Ventures,  has entered into an agreement with Braintree Technologies Sdn Bhd (Braintree Technologies) to invest in the agriculture technology (agritech) startup that develops artificial intelligence (AI)-driven robots for farm automation, often associated with smart farming.

This initiative marks Petronas’ foray into venture capital investment in Malaysia and the transaction is expected to be completed in early July this year.

Braintree Technologies develops robotic devices and proprietary software that would provide agricultural total solutions as well as convert non-revenue generating, unattended agricultural land into high-value crop farms.

Head of Petronas Ventures Mohd Azli Ishak said that this investment reflects the Company’s strategic intent to venture into the Malaysian startup ecosystem in scouting for breakthrough technologies that support PETRONAS’ growth beyond the oil and gas business.

“We believe this investment in Braintree Technologies will establish the right ecosystem for a smart farming business model, capitalising on Petronas’ strong knowledge in urea and fertiliser application and Braintree Technologies’ AI and robotics technology.”

This initiative is in line with Petronas’ Sustainability Agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 8, 9 and 13, focusing on promoting sustainable economic growth, industry-innovation and climate action respectively.

Braintree Technologies Chief Executive Officer Arif Makhdzir said: “When this company was first established, I noticed the gaps but also opportunities in the agricultural industry in Malaysia, where smart farming can help to increase farm productivity and yield, and the livelihood of farmers.”

“Combining our technical experience in software development and agriculture knowledge, we hope to drive a change for Malaysia in this major industry. Braintree Technologies would like to thank Petronas Ventures for the overwhelming support and trust, especially investing in a local startup and providing support to groom us for the global stage.

“The team was selected to join the Petronas FutureTech Accelerator programme in 2019, and since then, we have sharpened our business model and attracted interest from several investors.”

Petronas Ventures is actively scouting for visionary entrepreneurs in Malaysia and around the globe to solve critical problems in the industrial and energy space through breakthrough technology and innovative business models to support its business growth and sustainability agenda.

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