Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC) recently announced that the second cohort of its signature Global Accelerator Program (GAP) was underway.
Twenty-seven handpicked start-ups have been selected from a total of 961 applications to participate in the programme which will help equip each with the necessary skills, knowledge, and network to become investment-ready in four months, and potentially break into the Southeast Asian market shortly afterwards.
The launch was officiated by Yang Berhormat Lim Guan Eng, Minister of Finance (MOF) and Ashran Ghazi, MaGIC CEO.
This year, GAP has been expanded to cater to start-ups looking to find growth by entering new markets. With a dedicated mentorship platform offering access to both international and local mentors and exclusive access to MaGIC’s alumni network and community, GAP offers the promise of greater value creation for start-ups and the opportunity to build a strong network with corporates and investors. This greater focus on access to capital, through working more closely with venture capitalists and integrating them into GAP, will expose start-ups to more opportunities for real investment and overcome the big hurdle to growth of raising capital.
Ashran Dato’ Ghazi, Chief Executive Officer of MaGIC, said: “GAP is an important initiative which supports start-up growth within Malaysia’s entrepreneurship ecosystem. This year we have expanded the programme to really focus on how we can help participants build a network within the venture capital space and better position themselves to secure seed funding or other forms of investor commitments. For us, we believe it is not just about adding more capital into the market but putting focus and emphasis to ensure entrepreneurs truly get access to investments. This is currently a missing link within Malaysia’s entrepreneurship ecosystem and one we are actively working to help bridge.”
He continued: “Looking beyond the direct benefits entrepreneurs take from the programme in the form of upskilling their teams, mentorship and access to route-to-market partners GAP also helps aspiring entrepreneurs, or those looking to take their venture to the next level, to connect with global entrepreneurs, share learnings and different viewpoints as well as explore expansion opportunities in Southeast Asia. This is helpful for Malaysia’s businesses as they work to better position themselves and create the mindset shift required to remain relevant in the fourth industrial revolution (IR4.0) and achieve success in the future.”
Run by MaGIC, the programme provides four months of mentoring from technical and business experts; direct access to route-to-market partners such as Google, Malaysia Airlines, Maybank and Media Prima; a six-month professional visitor pass for those not based in Malaysia; access to a co-working space; accommodation for the duration of the programme; as well as benefits worth over US$500,000 (RM2 mil) from Amazon Web Services, Canva, iPay88, EasyParcel, HubSpot, Kakitangan and others.
GAP’s syllabus is structured to help impart learnings in four main areas. These are led by industry experts helping the selected participants to: identify their desired target market and build the right product; measure the right metrics to drive the required outcomes; position for local expansion and regional growth; and prepare for Demo Day and investors. Start-ups can also participate in the programme’s various learning opportunities, including weekly check-ins with account managers and class room modules, as well as mentoring sessions with industry leaders and subject matter experts.
This year’s mentors include Dr Daniel Loy, Director, Centre of Learning & Innovations of Petrosains, Andre Teow, Venture Manager of Tan Chong Group, Arzumy MD, CTO of Fave and Billplz, Desmond Ngai, Senior Vice President, Global Alliances of WebTVAsia, Tomas Holub, CEO of CoverGo, Muhamad Nasir Habizar, CEO of Jomparking, Rudy Lee, CEO and Founder of VREX LAB, Heinrich Wendel, CTO of iPrice group, Chok Kwee Bee, Managing Director of Teak Capital Sdn Bhd and Fui-yu Choong, CEO of Kaodim.
This year, GAP has expanded its programme syllabus to include: relationship-building meetings with venture capitalists from the start of the programme; more efficient route-to-market (RTM) week where startups will receive more information on RTM partners and coaching on how to pitch on individual companies; and ASEAN Expansion Week where key community builders from around the region will share growth strategies and resources start-ups can leverage on in their journey to expand in ASEAN.
Now in its second year, GAP is a programme to accelerate start-ups from all over the world. GAP is part of efforts at MaGIC to help create a mindset shift at grassroots level and create high-skilled entrepreneurial talent, help empower aspiring entrepreneurs to create new businesses and accelerate cross-border collaboration in entrepreneurship and innovation. Its efforts to build a strong ASEAN start-up community and cultivate ASEAN relationships have been well recognised with the programme ranked as one of the top 10 most active accelerators in the world last year and rated the “Best Accelerator Program” by ASEAN Rice Bowl Startup Awards and Malaysia Rice Bowl Startup Awards 2017.
GAP is an evolution of the highly-successful MaGIC Accelerator Program (MAP), taking the program to a global stage after three successful cohorts of Malaysian and regional start-ups. In total 200 start-ups have graduated from MAP and GAP. These include success stories such as:
- Cookly: A Bangkok-based platform that enables travelers to discover and book cooking classes and other culinary experiences around the world. It currently covers 65 destinations across 23 countries, from Indonesia to Italy.
- Katsana: An Internet-of-Things (IOT) solution that actively tracks, analyse, monitors and scores drivers. Katsana is working with a number of insurance companies to ensure that good drivers are rewarded accordingly.
- Cloudbreakr: A Hong Kong-based intelligent influencer platform which helps brands and marketers to find content creators in different industries for social endorsement, selling, and business purposes. Recently established an official partnership with Malaysia’s PUB Bhd.
Supporting cross-border collaboration in entrepreneurship and innovation is critical in building the regional entrepreneurship ecosystem. The initiative will also further establish and strengthen Malaysia’s position as the gateway to the region for entrepreneurs who are keen to expand their business and reach in Southeast Asia, a region that is often touted as the world’s next consumer powerhouse.
Ashran concluded: “At MaGIC, we believe that a vibrant entrepreneurial hub can best arise out of an ecosystem that is collaborative. As such, we seek to fill the gaps by offering comprehensive and guided support through our initiatives that are always designed with the start-ups, and their positions, in mind. We are very excited to join the participants in embarking on their visions and encouraged them to take full advantage of our large pool of mentors and coaches, as well as abundant resources and wide network.”