Sunway iLabs launches Super Accelerator programme for early-stage start-ups

Matt Van Leeuwen, Sunway Group Chief Innovation Officer and Sunway iLabs, and his team

Sunway Innovation Labs (Sunway iLabs) has launched the Super Accelerator programme, a four-month programme for early-stage start-ups, aimed at improving their chances to successfully commercialise their products and services in the market.

Supported by Sunway Group, SunSEA Capital and Gobi Partners, a regional Venture Capital firm, the programme will provide the start-ups with capital, mentorship and market access.

Led by Sunway Group chief innovation officer and Sunway iLabs director Matthijs Van Leeuwen, the Super Accelerator programme focuses on delivering value within five key verticals – Smart Cities, Edutech, Digital Health, Food and Agritech and E-commerce.  The programme will provide selected start-ups up to RM 100,000 of seed funding and assist them in getting a follow-up funding after graduation.

Embracing and leading the new normal due to Covid-19, the programme will be mostly delivered virtually through iLabs Dojo – a newly developed online learning and training platform.  Interviews, pitching, mentoring and business meetings will be conducted via video conferencing.  Participating start-ups can also look forward to academic support from Sunway University in talent recruitment and research and development opportunities.

“The first month of the accelerator will see us filtering start-ups to find the right fit with our programme,” Van Leeuwen said.

“We will work closely with the founders and help set clear milestones as we are not looking for short-term investments with quick exits, but long-term collaborations with companies keen to grow together with us in our smart cities and ecosystem.”

“Unlike other programmes, we want to emphasise quality rather than quantity, to focus on nurturing start-ups within our areas of expertise, so together we can create robust and scalable businesses,” he added.

Evan Cheah, executive vice president of President’s Office, Sunway Group, said, “We have also established Sunway City as a living laboratory, meaning we connect entrepreneurs with decision makers across Sunway’s business divisions, able to help validate their business models and provide growth opportunities within our Sunway ecosystem.

“We believe the smart partnership among Sunway iLabs Accelerator, Sunway Group, SunSEA Capital and Gobi Partners will really benefit start-ups to scale up their businesses,” Cheah added.

According to Gobi Partners chairman and founding partner Thomas Tsao, “Gobi is helping early-stage Malaysian start-ups embrace innovation and compete in this new environment”.

“We look forward to supporting the Sunway iLabs Super Accelerator programme with mentorship and resources for local companies to go global,” Tsao said.

Jamaludin Bujang, Gobi Partners managing director, Malaysia, reckoned “it is important for start-ups to adopt a global mindset when building their businesses and we have the resources to help open doors for companies to enter new markets”.

“Gobi Partners will also support the subsequent financing through the Malaysia SuperSeed Fund II to give select start-ups the necessary funds they need to scale up after the Super Accelerator programme,” Jamaludin added.

More than 25 start-up companies graduated from Sunway iLabs in a previous accelerator batch, including Red Dino, Ezyspark, Jobworks and JomRun.

JomRun has since grown to become the largest running platform in Malaysia, having also expanded regionally into Indonesia, Cambodia and Singapore.

Its founder Chang Yi Hern, a graduate from Oxford University, was recently recognised as one of Malaysia’s top entrepreneurs by Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia in 2020.

Malaysian start-ups with a minimal viable product or market-ready products or services are strongly encouraged to apply for the programme.

Registration opens from July 1 to Aug 21. To register or for more information, visit https://innovationlabs.sunway.edu.my/accelerator/

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