Mention the word ‘accelerator’ and most people immediately think of the pedal in a car that enables the vehicle to move forward and speed up. When it comes to business, Accelerators work in a similar way, providing support for start-ups or early-stage, growth-driven companies. This support could be in the form of mentorships, education on entrepreneurship and business, access to an extensive network of different industries and perhaps even funding opportunities. Accelerators usually aim to provide a fast-paced and dynamic experience for participants.
Participating companies usually join an Accelerator Programme in cohorts for a fixed duration, typically between three to six months, and such programmes require the participants’ full-time commitment throughout the period. At the end of the Programme for each cohort, participants pitch their ideas on ‘demo day’ to participating investors such as Venture Capital (VC) firms. In this way, participants, who are typically the main founders of the company, are also able to attest their teamwork and learn a thing or two about each other to work better together.
Other expected outcomes from an Accelerator Programme include the ability to build critical business documents, such as business plans, financial forecasts, sales and marketing strategies etc., as well as expand their knowledge on business and finance from entrepreneur veterans or senior officers of companies who have proven success.
Here we introduce you to some of the available Accelerator Programmes in Malaysia:
1. Global Accelerator Programme by MaGIC
The Global Accelerator Programme (GAP) is run by the Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC), an agency under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) of Malaysia, to prepare selected local and international start-ups to expand their business in the ASEAN region and be investment-ready within three months. With the ongoing pandemic, in 2021 MAGIC has brought this Programme online and participants are able to join virtually from anywhere in the world. Participating entrepreneurs, regardless of nationality, are not required to travel to Kuala Lumpur to join the Programme. GAP is well-recognised within the region, as evidenced by winning the title Best Accelerator Programme by Asian Rice Bowl Award in 2017. In the past couple of years, it has accelerated close to 150 start-ups comprising almost 300 entrepreneurs, and raised investments of over U$28.6 million.
GAP provides an excellent network of experts and mentors as well as access to potential collaboration with global and regional corporates and investors. The Programme is ideally suited to entrepreneurs with start-ups under three years in operation with the following characteristics:
- You have an established product-market-fit with a target market
- You have launched a product with some traction
- Your potential business model* is highly scalable with growth
- You have a team with diverse skill sets among two to three team members of at least 18 years old, and must consist of at least one founder or co-founder
*An innovative idea is preferred compared to existing solutions in the market.
Applications for Cohort 5 for 2021 is open from 1st March 2021 until 1st April 2021. Submit your application here today! Your application should consist of your idea, a pitch deck and an application video which should include problem statements, solutions, your Unique Selling Proposition (USP), traction and an introduction to your team. Application status will be informed to all applicants by May 2021.
2. Selangor Accelerator Programme (SAP) by Selangor Information Technology & Digital Economy Corporation (SIDEC)
SAP is a programme by SIDEC under the Selangor Government and has provided assistance to over 30 early-stage start-ups, ie companies that have not undergone Series A funding. SAP is well-connected to a network of angel investors, venture capitalists, as well as other funding sources, which has allowed some SAP Alumni to raise funds for their business ideas from reputable investors. Other than mentorship and training from industry experts and veteran entrepreneurs, SAP provides opportunities for participants for a fully funded study trip abroad. SAP participants are also equipped with hands-on workshops, as well as pitching clinics over a structured four-month programme.
Typical requirements for joining a cohort include but are not limited to the following:
- A Malaysian tech start-up under three years in operation [or old?], pre-Series A funding, with preference for business ideas based on emerging technologies applicable across industries and verticals, e.g. Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain, Cloud computing, Big Data & Machine Learning, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices and solutions. Business ideas revolving around Smart City & e-Commerce technologies, solutions, and services are also encouraged to apply.
- Ability to commit two core members to participation, with at least one co-founder or founder
- Ability to provide a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) or a beta version of the product, best with demonstrated quantitative evidence of market traction (e.g. users, monthly sales etc.)
Watch Tower and Friends is a private accelerator with a mission to grow successful start-ups into feasible businesses by curating two short programmes: SCALe and S5D.
SCALe (start-up Campus Accelerator Lite) is a condensed Accelerator Programme which takes place over three days for students in their tertiary education with a strong entrepreneurial mind. Offered free of charge, the Programme aims to instill the excitement to launch tech-related start-ups and to establish prospective entrepreneurs and ideas.
S5D (Start in 5 days) is an intensive five-day programme for business starters or idea thinkers. Led by competent entrepreneurs with proven track records, the Programme aims to provide education on customer and product development, operations, funding and other crucial aspects one should know when starting a business. The Programme objectives are:
- To affirm the business idea is profitable and to pinpoint the needs of the business, including building a business plan with essential documents
- To push boundaries of the business DNA within the core team
- To refine the investor pitch
You can contact WatchTower and Friends at [email protected].
1337 (pronounced ‘leet) Ventures is profiled as a Technology Accelerator and early-stage Venture Capital with a focus on early-stage investments. The Accelerator Programme was initiated to provide funds to aspiring and existing start-ups in the application development space, and it has covered exciting and innovative business ideas through its 16 successful Alumni. 1337 Ventures has an ongoing weekly pitch on Tuesdays, consisting of a panel of mentors from 1337 Ventures, as well as members from its network of angel investors and mentors.
A pitch deck is expected from individuals who express interest, and should consist of the business idea, monetisation ideas, introduction to the core team, as well as a projected timeline for a prototype and to the market. The deck can be sent to [email protected] or you can contact the firm at 603 2733 0337.
Having funded over 35 companies, NEXEA provides support and advice to start-ups by wearing several hats: investor, accelerator, venture builder, technology partner, as well as providing a channel for connecting with over 30 angel investors. Participants of NEXEA Accelerator Programme can expect comprehensive support from mentors who are seasoned entrepreneurs or upper management of companies that have gone through initial public offerings (IPO) and have successfully grown businesses to be funding-ready.
Reputable partners who are also subject matter experts are also able to provide education or sharing sessions to participants of the Programme. The cherry on top to joining the Programme is that the top five companies from the cohort are eligible for RM50,000 in funding.
Founders or CEOs of technology or digital related start-ups, regardless of industry, are welcome to join the Programme, as long as the business addresses real-life pain points and is scalable to regional or international level. Priority is given to marketplace and platforms, as well as business ideas with subscription business models. There is an admission fee of RM500 per start-up if you register to participate via NEXEA. However, the fee is subsidised to RM100 per start-up if registration is done via MDEC. Contact NEXEA here or drop them an email at [email protected] for other enquiries.
Finding what is right for you
If you are on the hunt for a suitable Accelerator Programme, we hope that you are able to find one that suits your company here. Please note that not all accelerators are suitable for every start-up. We would suggest that you paint a picture of what your start-up needs and if the Accelerator Programme matches what you are looking for for your business. While you are busy preparing to join an Accelerator Programme, let Quadrant Biz Solutions help you with your company secretarial matters. We can also help you incorporate your company with the Company Commissions of Malaysia (SSM) to speed up realising your business ideas. Drop us a message here today!