Cradle’s ex-CEO praised as inspiring mentor for start-up ecosystem

Former colleagues of Nazrin Hassan say he was a ‘visionary and creative genius’ as well as a ‘one-of-a-kind leader’. (Facebook pic)

PETALING JAYA: Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd (Cradle) group CEO Nazrin Hassan, who died yesterday of blast injuries from an exploding hand- phone, has been described by colleagues as a “visionary and creative genius” and a “one-of-a-kind leader”.

Cradle COO Razif Aziz said Nazrin, who promoted early-stage funding for technology start-ups, was an inspiring mentor.

“Cradle has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being,” he said in a statement.

The statement revealed that the post mortem report concluded the cause of death was complication of blast injuries attributable to an exploding handphone that was being charged next to him.

Juliana Jan, Cradle’s chief investment officer, said Nazrin’s vision and passion brought endless possibilities to not just the company, but to the start-up ecosystem as well.

“He was a one-of-a-kind leader and visionary who made an incredible mark in the start-up ecosystem,” she said.

Nazrin, a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) graduate from the University of Buckingham, began his career in banking with Commerce International Merchant Bankers Berhad (CIMB) before setting up his own start-up, Zarnet, in 2001.

According to the statement, he was a former council member of the Technopreneurs Association of Malaysia (TeAM), an organisation that represents all technology entrepreneurs in Malaysia, where he lobbied tirelessly for a development fund to narrow the funding gap in the early stage.

This eventually led to the successful introduction of the Cradle Investment Programme (CIP) in June 2003 with a RM100 million government allocation.

CIP was initially managed by Malaysia Venture Capital Management Berhad (MAVCAP). Nazrin became the programme’s head of structuring in July 2003 and later its strategy and policy adviser.

He left the programme in 2005 to focus on his own technology start-up.

Nazrin returned to Cradle in October 2007 as its CEO after it was spun out from under MAVCAP.