39 startups have successfully completed their growth journey today on the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC)’s Global Accelerator Programme (GAP) Cohort 4.
The programme culminated in an all-virtual GAP Demo Day 2020 where the graduating startups from 6 countries were given a chance to pitch their ideas to an audience of distinguished local and regional investors, corporate partners, and mentors.
Since embarking on MaGIC’s flagship programme some 12 weeks ago, GAP’s Cohort 4 collectively posted strong revenue growth at 53 percent despite navigating jittery market conditions.
Total funding raised during the course of the programme was RM500,000.
These startups represent a wide range of 19 industries, including Agriculture, Education, E-Commerce, Enterprise Solutions, Fintech, and Real Estate.
“Startups are the creative engine that drive out-of-the-box solutions to address Malaysia’s socio-economic challenges. In a year plagued by the Covid-19 virus, programmes like GAP are crucial for the growth of our startup ecosystem,” said the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Khairy Jamaluddin.
Khairy added that Malaysia has been a great place for startups to grow, pointing to its position as an English-speaking country, its highly-skilled workforce, high-level of tertiary education enrolments, multicultural roots, and high-ranking on global indices for competitiveness and ease of doing business.
“Malaysia was ranked the 11th emerging startup ecosystem in the Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER) 2020, and placed in the top 10 and 20 for emerging ecosystem in performance and talent respectively. We’re also the 35th most innovative economy in the world according to Bloomberg’s Global Innovation Index 2019, with top marks in high-tech net exports and creative goods exports,” said Khairy.
MaGIC’s award-winning GAP is one of the largest and most stringent accelerator programmes in Southeast Asia with an average acceptance rate of only 6 percent. The 3-month rigorous programme is tailored for promising local and global mid-to-late stage startups that are keen on expanding across the region.
The programme which is only run once each year offers participants industry-specific training, opportunities to learn from world-class technical and business mentors, strong route-to-market focus with extensive corporate support, partnerships with private sector champions, as well as marketing credit, and access to potential funding opportunities via the GAP Partner Programme.
According to MaGIC’s Chief Executive Officer, Dzuleira Abu Bakar, the GAP 2020 programme was revised to help startups adapt to the uncertain market climate, with a curriculum centred on building business resilience, agility, and sustainability.
“GAP is the direct manifestation of MaGIC’s role as enablers and facilitators for startups. For over six years, we’ve been connecting the dots for startups, helping them navigate rapidly-evolving market environments and guiding them along their lifecycle. This year’s programme emphasised 4 key pillars – Investments, Tech Development, Business Acumen, and Communication – which focused on helping startups navigate the new normal, build a strong network of investors and partners, expand their innovation pathways, and turn challenges into opportunities,” said Dzuleira.
She added that the ultimate goal with GAP is to transform startup founders into industry leaders that build sustainable startups that can survive post-acceleration growth and any potential crises.
Next Steps for Cohort 4
Education startup Anak2U and e-commerce startup Robopreneur have applied for and will be fast-tracked on MOSTI’s National Technology and Innovation Sandbox (NTIS), an initiative under the PENJANA Short-Term Economic Recovery Plan to accelerate innovation for the good of Malaysia. More startups have been earmarked to join the NTIS, which will bring the right players and create the right policy and regulatory environments to accelerate the development of their solutions.
“Having these highly-qualified startups fast-tracked on the NTIS will enrich all levels of Malaysian society as we channel more groundbreaking innovations to help us solve our great challenges. I’d encourage more GAP alumni to seize the NTIS opportunity in their quest to reach their next milestones,” said Dzuleira.
GAP’s past three cohorts have generated a combined revenue of RM295 million, with total investments amounting to RM115 million. With the addition this year, the programme has accelerated 147 startups. Familiar GAP alumnus include Malaysian startups and social enterprises such as Easy Parcel, Katsana, and Biji-Biji Initiatives.
Here is a list of GAP Cohort 4’s most exciting startups:
Anak2U: A Malaysian education startup that provides a seamless solution that connects childcare centres to parents, its teachers, and young children. Among its plaudits, it secured RM100,000 in funding from the Penang i4.0 Seed Fund in 2019
BoomGrow: A Malaysian agritech startup that provides precision tech farming on track to build the largest indoor farms in Malaysia to sustainably meet increasing local consumer demand. It has secured over RM300,000 in funding so far, including technology and innovation grants from SME Corporation, PLaTCOM Ventures, and MDEC.
DeafTawk: A Singaporean online marketplace created by deaf founders to connect deaf communities with certified sign language interpreters. Its illustrious achievements include SGD100,000 funding raised through Accelerator Asia Venture, named the Best Startup of Asia Pacific by UNDP and Citibank, and first placed on the Youth Co: Lab’s National SDG Bootcamp.
GoBuddy: A Hong Kong cloud software startup that optimises online businesses streamlining their e-commerce, e-booking and community platforms. It has secured USD21,000 in funding from an angel investor, and two grants worth HKD600,000 from Cyberport Hong Kong.