Nazrin Hassan, the CEO of Cradle Fund and pioneer of the Malaysian startup ecosystem, passed away today at the age of 45.
He died in the early hours of this morning after a room in his Mutiara Damansara house caught fire, according to The Star Online. The cause of the fire is unknown.
Hassan is survived by his wife and four children.
Hassan was the CEO for Cradle Group from 2007. Under his direction, the agency, which operates under the Ministry of Finance, became a champion of early-stage startups. He led efforts to set-up 1-for-1 investment schemes and helped Malaysian startup success stories like Piktochart and ChristineNg.com get off the ground.
In 2014, Hassan met a young Founder who had raised some money from family and friends but needed some external support to pursue his prototype. While the product was different than what it would eventually become Hassan saw potential and Cradle became the first outside organisation to invest in the company.
That young Founder was Anthony Tan and his company, MyTeksi, would eventually grow into Grab — one of the most important startups in Southeast Asia.
Hassan was a key figure as the Malaysian startup ecosystem grew into one of the most vibrant communities in Southeast Asia.
Today, the Southeast Asian startup community lost a man who supported talented individuals, fought for the success of entrepreneurs and, as the the ecosystem grew across the region, remained a champion for Malaysia.
He will be greatly missed and our thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones.