The Hong Leong Group has announced the launch of its innovation exchange, the HLX, which aspires to grow the Malaysian tech start-up ecosystem with Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) as one of its strategic partners at Menara HLA in Kuala Lumpur.
The HLX will be a one-stop facility which converges the corporate and start-up communities under one roof to accelerate innovation and boost the Malaysian start-up ecosystem. This 250,000sq ft exchange located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur will feature a start-up zone with co-working spaces, various event facilities including an auditorium, onsite Makers Lab, restaurants, and a gym.
This innovation incubator will be the focal point for collaborators vital to the growth of the ecosystem such as Venture Capitalists (VCs), mentoring and technology partners, tech start-ups/scaleups, and corporations.
HLX is positioned to focus on the innovation of high technology with an initial focus on Artificial Intelligence (AI)/High Performance Computing (HPC), fintech, and manufacturing tech.
Applauding the launch, Datuk Edmund Kong, Group Managing Director of GuocoLand Malaysia said, “Building on the foundation of our strong entrepreneurial roots, the Hong Leong Group has always focused on nurturing innovation. The creation of HLX is a step in this direction which stems from our commitment to hone the potential of the start-up ecosystem in Malaysia so that it reaps rewards for the economy and society at large. Our strong expertise and in-depth knowledge of the various industries will surely be beneficial to the start-ups that become part of HLX.”
“With HLX, we are bringing together the corporates and start-ups in a unique two-way exchange to give further impetus Malaysia’s economy. On one hand, the start-ups will gain access to a complete innovation ecosystem that will accelerate their transformation, enable innovation and help them scale-up on the value chain, while the corporates will get to engage with start-ups in a more meaningful and sustainable manner,” said Mohd Reezan Mohd Fadzil, General Manager of HLX.
He mentioned that tech start-ups had great ideas and talent while corporations had the avenue where innovative technology can be deployed.
“That is where HLX comes in, by identifying the gaps and connecting the right match of services offered by key partners.”
This project is also a Private-Public Partnership (PPP) with MDEC who is springboarding HLX to be part of the digital economy ecosystem. The objective of this synergy is to accelerate innovation among the start-ups which will help propel the country’s digital transformation efforts in sectors such as manufacturing, agriculture, infrastructure, and services.
“To build a thriving entrepreneurial network may be a daunting task and that is why it has to be a collaborative effort,” said Surina Shukri, CEO of MDEC. “This partnership with HLX is a testament to the potential of what a PPP looks like and can one day achieve”.
On the talent front, the HLX Academy will be the exchange where capacity building takes place with future talents through training, mentoring and industry placements. This learning institution is partnering with technical experts like CXS, BAC Twistcode, and more, to lead certification and talent upskilling programmes. The HLX Academy strives to build a pipeline of industry-ready innovators and creators, at the same time, matching their skillsets to key partners from corporations and the government.
Also present at the launch of the HLX innovation exchange was Minister of Communications and Multimedia YB Tuan Gobind Singh Deo who witnessed the exchange of six Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) between HLX and tech and talent partners: Twistcode Technologies, Islamic Fintech Hub, Ficus Venture Capital & Helios Orion, BAC Education, 1337 Ventures and CXS.
Another key component of the integrated offering by HLX is the proposed co-living space that will exist within Menara HLA. HLX is exploring collaboration with designers AltSpace to design this space for comfort befitting to the innovative and collaborative persona that embodies the environment. This co-living facility will be available for HLX residents.
The other noteworthy partnership that reinforces HLX’s aspiration to be the convergence between corporate and start-ups is the one with FutureLabs Ventures. In the effort to enhance the innovation process on the corporate front, HLX will draw on FutureLabs’ strength and experience in working with Fortune 500 organizations to co-create multi-industry ecosystem ventures that harness value from big data and advanced analytics that help develop businesses in terms of technology and talent.
The HLX hub will be developed in phases and is expected to achieve full operational readiness by end 2020. Phase 1 of the project will include development of the digital campus, co-working and co-living spaces, venture capital hub, and curated offices which be ready by 31 December 2019, while Phase 2 covers the exhibition space, innovation lab, media lab, and Founder’s bar and will be fully operational by 31 December 2020.