Our Leaders

Norman Matthieu Vanhaecke

Acting Group CEO

Norman is currently the Acting Group CEO in Cradle Fund Sdn. Bhd. effective 1 June 2022. He joined Cradle in September 2020 and has served as the Head of Corporate Services. He started his career as an auditor with KPMG, and has then, over 12 years, held various Finance, Accounting and Management positions in local as well as multinational Oil & Gas related companies and government agency. He holds an Accounting degree from University of Queensland, Australia and a Software Engineering degree from Multimedia University, Malaysia.

Juliana Jan

Senior Vice President, Grant

Juliana Jan joined Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd in 2004 and is currently the SVP Grant, responsible in managing Cradle’s grants.

Juliana has an extensive and diverse experience in market research and grant as well as venture capital funding. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the Missouri University Science and Technology – Rolla.

Juliana started as an analyst under the developmental grant (CIP50) team and in early 2009, she headed the developmental grant (CIP Catalyst) evaluation team. Then in 2010, she moved to head the commercialisation grant (CIP500) evaluation team and eventually the entire CIP500 unit. With the evolution of Cradle and the initiation of its equity play, she moved to head the equity team.

Juliana continues to be committed in building and developing strong growth potential start-ups in the country specifically in early stage through her work in Cradle. She played a major role as part of the working committee in the setting up of the various products in Cradle and the development of processes, such as the CIP Catalyst (developmental funding), CIP500 (seed funding) as well as the Co-investment and DEQ800 initiatives in 2014 and 2016 respectively.

Prior to joining Cradle, Juliana started her career as a market research executive in a technology-funding agency, which provides both grant and venture capital funding, where her industry and market research projects varied from consumer product and biotechnology to other high technology industries. This has given her a strong background in spotting market trends, analysing gaps in the market and identifying market needs.

After two years in the market research division and another year in the CEO’s office, Juliana joined the investment unit in the same organisation as an analyst where she acquired experience in venture capital funding.

With her career experience, Juliana understands the needs of the market and the issues in the funding ecosystem from prototype development in the pre-seed stage, the seed stage, up to the later stage of fund raising.

Juliana is very passionate about helping entrepreneurs and start-ups. The knowledge and know-how she gained prior to joining Cradle and also at Cradle has been invaluable in enabling her to assist Cradle recipients by advising them and sharing information about the market and funding criteria.

Ahmad Kashfi

Senior Vice President, Ecosystem Development

Ahmad Kashfi Alwi, also widely known as Ash, is a dynamic and accomplished professional with extensive experience in ecosystem development, strategic partnerships, stakeholder engagement initiatives, and marketing. He currently serves as the Senior Vice President of Ecosystem Development at Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd, where he plays a pivotal role in driving the organization’s growth and success.

In addition to his role at Cradle Fund, Kashfi was a serial entrepreneur, having founded two startups before venturing into the corporate world. His entrepreneurial spirit and firsthand experience in startup ventures provide him with unique insights and a deep understanding of the challenges faced by early-stage companies. This background allows him to effectively lead MYStartup, a major capacity-building initiative backed by Malaysia’s Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation (MOSTI), specifically targeting and supporting early-stage startups. As the driving force behind MYStartup, Kashfi spearheads efforts to empower and nurture emerging entrepreneurial ventures, providing them with the necessary resources, mentorship, and guidance to accelerate their growth and success.

Before joining Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd, Kashfi held several positions within Axiata Digital, where he made significant contributions to the company’s achievements. As the Director of Business Development (Startup Ecosystem), he played a vital role in fostering strategic partnerships and facilitating the growth of the startup ecosystem. He also served as the Director of Regional Development, overseeing marketing and operations for Axiata Digital’s microinsurance business across multiple markets in South East Asia. Notably, he led the Digital Content business in Boost, a lifestyle mobile wallet in Malaysia, where his strategic leadership expanded the wallet’s content vertical.

Kashfi’s illustrious career journey also includes invaluable experiences at Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) and DiGi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd, two prominent players in the telecommunications industry. While at TM, he established an innovation unit and founded the company’s startup accelerator program called ‘RE:’. At DiGi Telecommunications, he excelled as a Product Manager responsible for managing a vertical under the company’s advanced digital services portfolio.

Alongside his professional accomplishments, Kashfi holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Property Management from the University of Malaya. Furthermore, he furthered his academic pursuits by earning an MBA (Distinction) from the University of Nottingham. In addition, he is pursuing a PhD in Innovation Management from the same institution, further underscoring his dedication to enhancing his expertise and staying at the forefront of industry trends.

With his extensive background in ecosystem development, strategic partnerships, stakeholder engagement, and marketing, his leadership of MYStartup and his entrepreneurial experience, Kashfi Alwi is a highly valued and influential figure in the technology and telecommunications sectors. His entrepreneurial mindset and strong leadership skills position him as a catalyst for growth, innovation, and the development of early-stage startups in Malaysia and beyond.

Eliza Elias

Vice President, Strategic Communications

Eliza Elias is the Vice President of Strategic Communications of Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd (Cradle).

Eliza holds overall responsibility for strategic communications, which encompasses Organisation Marketing Strategy, Market Research, Communication Design and Planning in line with overall company strategy and objectives.

She transformed Communications within the organisation from an administrative function into a strategic business partner and a key enabler for Cradle’s rapid growth and success. She works closely with the internal team across Cradle, stakeholders and ecosystem players to develop effective communication and marketing strategy for a high performing workforce in the local funding industry.

Previously, Eliza was the Vice President of Marketing & Ecosystem Development for Cradle. Her role includes overseeing the organisation’s overall marketing activities and various projects. She managed the Corporate Communications unit, which oversees all internal and external communications as well as event activities to help Cradle build its credibility as an early stage startups influencer.

Prior to Cradle, Eliza began her career with the Technopreneurs Association of Malaysia (TeAM) – an association that furthers the interests of technopreneurs and assists in the development of the digital economy in Malaysia. Her main scope of work was to assist the management in coordinating all aspects of public relations activities as well as marketing and event management. During her tenure with TeAM, Eliza was actively involved in various projects such as The National Games Engine Project (NGEP), The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) research project and the TeAM book entitled ‘Go for Broke! Tales of Technopreneurship!’

In 2007, Eliza joined Cradle. Eliza is very passionate about sharing her experience and knowledge with entrepreneurs. With her diverse working experience and skills in the local funding industry, she brings a deep understanding of intercultural relations and global corporate culture to Cradle, its entrepreneurs and partners.

Harmender Singh

Vice President, Strategic Planning & SUPER Project Management Office

Harmender Singh was appointed as Vice President, Strategic Planning & Super PMO in April 2022, and is responsible in developing key strategic and growth initiatives, to realise Cradle’s strategic vision and ensuring a sustainable competitiveness. He is also tasked in ensuring Cradle-led initiatives’ alignment with the Malaysia Startup Ecosystem Roadmap (SUPER) and coordinating the execution all of SUPER’s interventions. The role also sees him reporting to the Advisory Committee & National Digital Economy and 4IR Council (MED4IR).

Under his belt, he has over 16 years of experience in driving transformative initiatives and applying innovative solutions across MNCs, GLCs, SMEs and aligning it with organisational mission & vision.

His career experience spans multiple industries including working with telcos, property and also a consulting background cutting across various government and commercial sectors.

A certified advanced coaching and mentoring professional, he is also a certified change management specialist with a passion and focus on developing and coaching startups.

Harmender read Law at the University of Liverpool and went on to complete his Masters’s in Business Administration (MBA) at Lansbridge University. He is currently completing his Doctorate in Business Administration at HELP University & Charted Management Institute UK. Harmender is an innovator at heart and is always thinking of new ways of solving old problems.

Important Notice

Please note that Cradle has never appointed any agent or representative to act on our behalf. If you have been approached by any party, who claims to be the representative or agent appointed by Cradle, who claims to be able to facilitate or guarantee in securing grants/funds from Cradle, whether in return for a fee/favour or otherwise OR if you have doubts about the authenticity and credibility of such party, please contact the Management immediately.

Datuk Yvonne Chia

Non-Executive Chairman

Datuk Yvonne Chia, a Senior Fellow Chartered Banker, was appointed to the Board as Non-Executive Chairman in January 2020. A trailblazer for women in the financial services, she was the first female CEO of any commercial bank in the country. She is highly feted in the financial services industry, among others, as one of the top 50 Businesswomen in the Mix by Forbes Asia in 2013 and a two-time finalist of CNBC Asia Business Leader 2009 and 2013.

She carries with her over 40 years of astounding track record and has held leading positions in both local and foreign organisations. She first began her career with Bank of America before serving as Group Managing Director/CEO of RHB Banking Group from 1996 to 2002 and Group Managing Director/CEO of Hong Leong Banking Group from 2003 to 2013.

A proven strategist and influencer/mentor, she is known for her value creation, leadership and engagement with various groups of stakeholders, customers, staff and the communities she serves.

Datuk Yvonne Chia is a keen promoter of educational, knowledge and personal development as tools for empowerment for entrepreneurship, critical thinking and financial independence. She spends time as a Trustee for Teach for Malaysia as well as The Merdeka Awards Trust and is an Honorary Professor of the University of Nottingham, School of Economics.

She is also the Non-Executive Chairman of Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia Berhad and Standard Chartered Saadiq Berhad, the Senior Lead independent director for Astro Malaysia Holdings Berhad and an independent director for Silverlake Axis Limited.

She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Analytical Economics (Upper Honours) from the University of Malaya.