The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped the global business environment. It unleashed a surge of small and medium businesses who adapted fast and flexibly to the pandemic, and have been critical in helping the economy shift towards the “new normal” by being a key source of job opportunity, innovation and economic resilience.
Despite the surge, most of the start-ups or micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) face significant challenges like access to sufficient funding, scaling up to match increased demand, lack of market experience and more.
1337 Ventures, together with Leet Capital have taken steps to address funding challenges with the introduction of the ECF Accelerator Programme. The new four-week programme is designed for SMEs and growth-stage businesses looking to scale and grow via Equity Crowdfunding (ECF).
ECF is a method of raising capital through an accumulation of small investments from a ‘crowd’ of investors on an online platform, with 70% of them being retail investors. Since there is a ‘crowd’ of investors, there is the potential that some of the investors may also be a consumer, which startups can leverage on. This can result in a number of benefits that go beyond simply raising capital, from consumer-based guidance to brand ambassadors that can help promote the business.
Bikesh Lakhmichand, CEO & Founding Partner of 1337 Ventures said, “When many Malaysian SMEs approached us to fundraise via equity crowdfunding (ECF), we noticed that they were not ready. The commonality that we saw was – the lack of pitch decks, sound valuation and an understanding of the legal aspects of fundraising. This raised the need for a programme to streamline the process.
In fact, most Malaysian SMEs lack awareness of ECF and how it works but are immediately eager to start that process once they understand the perks that come with it. So with the launch of ECF Accelerator programme, we’re focused on educating SMEs and later stage startups on what they need to nail down before they go to market to fundraise”, Bikesh added.
Bringing together industry partners from Crowe – one of the top 10 audit firms in Malaysia, Zico Law – a network of leading independent local law firms, Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA), Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and Supernewsroom, the ECF Accelerator Programme seeks to train entrepreneurs in key areas when seeking ECF funding; valuation, finance, legal, marketing, operations, business strategy and more.
Participants will also be given the opportunity to meet with more than 10 venture capital and private equity firms like The Hive Southeast Asia, Tenggara Capital, RHL Ventures, Novum Equity Partners, Gobi Partners among others and be connected with angel investors like ex-Seek Asia CEO (Jobstreet & JobsDB), Suresh Thiru over a few networking sessions through the Leet Angels Club.
At the end of the ECF Accelerator Programme, the top 2 in each cohort will receive funding* from 1337 Ventures. *Terms and conditions apply.
Registration fees worth RM5,000 for Cohort 1 will be waived for all shortlisted applications. Applications are now open and will end on 23rd February 2022. Visit https://1337.ventures/ecf-accelerator/ for the the full programme and application details.