Five Japanese startups – Allm Inc., Smart Drive, Value Drivers, BTM Blockchain Technology and Japan Learning – have been selected for expansion in Malaysia after a ten-month accelerator programme by Sunway iLabs, in collaboration with the Japanese External Trade Organisation (JETRO).
Kick-started in November 2019, the accelerator programme is to drive the expansion of selected Japanese technology start-ups in Malaysia, leveraging Sunway’s world-class smart and sustainable city and innovative eco-system, Sunway City Kuala Lumpur.
Two of the selected startups – Smart Drive, a Japan-based pioneer in mobility service and data solution and Allm Inc., a technology provider for the healthcare industry – had recently set up their offices in Malaysia at Sunway Future X.
Sunway Group Chief Innovation Officer and Sunway iLabs Director Matt van Leeuwen said “The feedback we received from many start-ups, local and foreign who had visited Sunway iLabs, is that there is no clear funnel from the exploration to setting-up phases”.
“With this insight, we developed the Sunway iLabs-JETRO Kuala Lumpur accelerator programme and helped facilitate discussions between industry partners and researchers, and connected the Japanese start-ups with the local eco-system including venture capitalists, angel investors, entrepreneurs and corporates.
“We will look into designing similar programmes in future to attract foreign direct investments into Malaysia,” Matt added.
JETRO Kuala Lumpur Managing Director Mai Onozawa said “many Japanese firms are increasingly looking to identify new innovations from foreign companies to bring new ideas and technologies to the Japanese market and network of global clients”.
“With the right catalysts such as Sunway Group who has opened up its networks and resources to build collaborative efforts, we can intensify partnerships and collaborations between our two countries,” Onozawa added.
Focusing on knowledge sharing, mentoring sessions and localised skills, the programme enabled start-ups to learn first-hand about the local start-up eco-system, industry landscape, business culture and regulations.
The start-ups were able to re-strategise to offer the right product at the right time and increase efficiencies by developing localised products to meet customers’ needs at lesser costs and time.
The programme’s finale saw more than 700 participants in a virtual event entitled “Breaking the code of Japanese-Malaysian Partnerships” held on August 13, 2020.
Operating at Sunway Future X, SmartDrive offers the SmartDrive Fleet and SmartDrive Cars services, together with Mobility Data Analytics solutions, for customers in various industries.
It is a cloud service including the visualisation of driving data and provides safe driving support for employees, as well as business support enabling companies with fleets of automobile to improve fuel consumption and work efficiency
The company is currently developing driver engagement solutions for passenger cars and motorcycles. With its technology, SmartDrive is committed to reducing traffic accidents and improving road safety in Malaysia as well as other parts of Southeast Asia.
According to Smart Drive Chief Executive Officer Retsu Kitagawa, the Sunway iLabs-JETRO Kuala Lumpur accelerator programme enabled Smart Drive to set up its first base outside of Japan, as the company’s springboard into Southeast Asia.
“Sunway Group has been instrumental for our set-up here. We are leveraging Sunway’s vast network and resources to develop mobility solutions for the Malaysian market. This is an ideal test-bed for our smart mobility solutions as it is a ‘living lab’ for our connected-automobile solutions,” said Kitagawa.
Allm Inc. is currently planning a pilot project in Malaysia in collaboration with Sunway Medical Centre at Sunway City Kuala Lumpur.
The project aims to create a platform to aid emergency management. This platform will be used to assist hospitals in connecting doctors to patients – to monitor health progress, appointments and the delivery of drugs with online consultations.
Sunway Medical Centre will be the launch pad for Allm Inc. to gain market validation. This project is currently being reviewed by the Japanese government.