Malaysian startup investor CEO Nazrin Hassan dies after smartphone explodes while charging

By: | Updated: June 21, 2018 4:00 PM

In a tragic incident, the Chief Executive Officer of Malaysia's early-stage startup investor and influencer Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd Nazrin Hassan passed away after his smartphone, which he kept on charging, exploded

In a tragic incident, the Chief Executive Officer of Malaysia’s early-stage startup investor and influencer Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd Nazrin Hassan passed away after his smartphone, which he kept on charging, exploded. As per Hassan’s family, the CEO had two phones, one Blackberry and a Huawei. It couldn’t be ascertained which of the two phones exploded. The smartphone blast is believed to have set the mattress in the room on fire, making it difficult to be sure which of the two phones exploded.

“The management of Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd (Cradle) with great sadness announce the passing of its Group Chief Executive Officer, Nazrin Hassan. The post-mortem report concluded the cause of death as being a complication of blast injuries attributable to an exploding handphone that was being charged next to him. For over 15 years, Nazrin has dedicated his efforts to promoting early-stage funding for technology start-ups,” the firm owned by Ministry of Finance of Malaysia stated in its heartfelt press note.

Hassan’s brother-in-law expressed disappointment over the shocking development. “He had two phones, one Blackberry and a Huawei. We don’t know which one exploded. Who would have thought such an innocuous routine procedure is the reason three young kids will grow up without their father by their side,” Hassan’s brother-in-law was quoted as saying.

Chief Operations Officer of Cradle, Razif Aziz said: “Cradle has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Nazrin have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor”.

“Cradle has lost a passionate, innovative and humble leader and the startup community has lost an inspiring leader. His vision and love for innovation will always be at the core of what we do. Nazrin loved his work, but his greatest love was for his wife and children,” the company said.

However, it has asked people not to “speculate” on the cause of his death, something it termed as completely unnecessary and unacceptable at this time. “We request for everyone to respect the privacy of the family during this time of grief. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and all those he touched on his journey,” it said.

A brief profile of Nazrin Hassan

Hassan was educated in the United Kingdom with a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B Hons) from the University of Buckingham in 1994. Nazrin was also an Executive Committee member of the United Kingdom Executive Council for Malaysian Students (UKEC). Between 1997 to 2000, Nazrin was an Executive in Corporate Finance in Commerce International Merchant Bankers Berhad (CIMB) before pursuing his new venture in running his own start-up, Zarnet, in 2001.

He is a former Council Member of 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 fund allocation of RM100 million from the Malaysian Government, as part of the economic stimulus package.

CIP was initially managed by Malaysia Venture Capital Management Berhad (MAVCAP) and Nazrin became the programme’s Head of Structuring in July 2003. In 2004, he was appointed as the programme’s Acting Head as well as its Strategy and Policy Advisor. He left the programme in 2005 to focus on his own technology start-up and continued to be an active member of TeAM.

Hassan returned to Cradle in October 2007, after being appointed as its Chief Executive Officer by the Ministry of Finance, after it was spun out from under MAVCAP into Cradle. It continues to spur the growth of early-stage funding for technology entrepreneurs.

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