Issue #03 | January 2023
Sivavenayakam Velayutham Managing Director, 25 Startups
Welcome back to an all-new 25 Media and Happy Chinese New Year to all who are celebrating. It’s the Year of the Rabbit and with that in mind, I do believe that this year will be the year we will witness Malaysia’s startup ecosystem leap forth with new milestones.
A couple weeks ago, I sat down with a reporter from The Edge Malaysia. We spoke in-depth on the role 25 Startups plays within the ecosystem and one of the important gaps that we circled back to often is the lack of connectivity for founders across the nation.
While we have established presence in Penang, Cyberjaya, Kuching and soon to be Johor, I believe that all our initiatives have one common mission, and that is to ensure every founder we engage with is able to go beyond the boundaries of the state they function in.
This is especially important for communities like us which operate in several states. While the startups may prove to be highly beneficial to build the economy of their respective states, I am a firm believer that they can soar higher if given a bigger platform, whether it is a national or an international one.
One common theme you may find in my engagements with players in the ecosystem is to encourage founders to go beyond their states. It is time for us to recognise that a strong startup ecosystem with roots across the nation instead of focusing only in the Valley can benefit the country as a whole.
To begin the year, our efforts are focused on equipping the founders with the right knowledge in establishing their base, exploring the possibilities in the metaverse with the rise of Web3 and strengthening themselves with understanding cyber security from a startup’s perspective. Our members also had the opportunity to engage with startup lawyers on getting to know the significance of shareholding agreement.
As we engage with more and more founders, we have also come to learn that there is no one-size-fits-all. Hence, it is important of finding the right experts for the right issue. That is not all, we are bringing more growth opportunities to our startups as we look beyond the borders of Malaysia in the upcoming event. There’s all this and more in our latest issue and if you are keen to be part of our next programme, be sure to follow us closely on LinkedIn or get in touch with us at [email protected].
An ASEAN startup community builder that helps startups grow their businesses through market access, funding facilitation, mentoring, training programs, and more. We also collaborate with international startup ecosystem partners to support our members to grow globally.
Khaw Veon Szu a trusted Startup, Business and Intellectual Property Lawyer – specialising in Real & Intellectual Property Law & Practice; Legal Adviser for SME and MNCs; Employment & Estate Law & Practice ran a session covering the legal foundation of a startup’s formation. With an overview of the startup journey, he shared insights on how the proper establishment of shareholding agreement can protect the founders, co-founders and the business.
Feel free to get in touch with him at [email protected] for startup legal advice.
Ang Kah Heng, Head of Innovation & Industry Development Department from Cyberview Sdn Bhd shared his insights on why Cyberjaya should be a founder’s next stop. Couple key takeaways from his session included:
Founder & President of MVU and Phoenix Asia Academy of Technology, Kenneth Quah and Founder of Cattospace Consultancy, Low Sing Chyuan spoke in-depth on the rise of the Web 3.0 and opportunities available for businesses. During the event, the audience had the chance to experience metaverse with within 25 Startups. They also shared insights on the market trends of NFTs and how the evolution of the web from Web 1.0 to Web 3.0 influences our personal life and business.
We are on the lookout for creative minds and risk-takers. If you have innovative business ideas and want to materialise them, this is the place to be. Through 25 IDEAS, you will have the opportunity to showcase your business idea and stand a chance to be part of a 4-month programme where you will benefit from the workspace & mentorship to turn your inspiration into action.
HariWang is a FinTech platform powered by Peopleperks International Sdn Bhd that connects to a company’s payroll and human resource management system to enable employees to cash out salaries earned in advance.
Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Daniel Teoh Beng Huat says HariWang aims to support employees to have access to their earned wages so they can advance their salary without any hassle.
At the same time, the process also helps employees to stretch their salary value through various employee benefits. However, while salary advancement or better known as the Earned Wages Access is recognised as a new innovative FinTech solution that liberates both employees and businesses from the traditional pay cycle, Daniel says their startup still faces challenges with the deeply rooted traditional practices.
“Many traditional employers and companies still have concern over the solution. There is still work to be done in terms of awareness and financial literacy to change traditional business culture,” he shares.
Last year, HariWang was selected to joined MYStartup Pre-Accelerator Cohort 1 and officially onboarded its first client consisting of 100 employees in June 2022. The team have also successfully onboarded and partnered with 4 corporate clients for piloting the solution, supporting more than 300 employees in the process.
As for this year, the team is looking to offer an enhancement of employee benefits which includes an array of offerings, with the likes of Insurtech, medical and health as well as lifestyle perks. Daniel also shares that there are plans to extend to regional markets such as Singapore, Hong Kong or Indonesia.
So why should investors look towards HariWang?
According to Daniel, HariWang is en route to building a big data distribution and AI FinTech platform. He quoted Thomas H. Davenport, “Every company has big data in its future and every company will eventually be in the data businesses.”
He also points out that with massive data reuse and distribution as well as behavioural prediction using AI, will contribute to growing HariWang into different verticals such as Insurtech, medical health, and payment FinTech among others.
Accom Berhad, a hospitality & tourism focused investment holding that aspires to provide total digital hospitality and travel experience via its super app platform. The company’s objective is to enhance the guest experience while assisting hotels and other hospitality businesses operate in a more efficient and effective manner. By providing a variety of offerings, Accom hopes to assist hotels in streamlining their operations and at the same time, improve their bottom line.
According to Chief Executive Officer, Hazlina Binti Abdul Hamid, the hospitality industry is made up of many different players, including hotels, restaurants, attractions, transportations among others. By utilising the systems and backend technology that Accom has, she and her team aim to build a more coherent and integrated ecosystem that benefits everyone in the industry. Through this, Hazlina firmly believes that this service can offer the best user experience.
Accom is taking their solution to the next level with a revamp last year while forming partnerships with the of Sky Defi and Finexus. The team has also managed to secure hotels in Malaysia and Indonesia.
However, there were no shortage of challenges. When multitasking issues arose as the staff turnover rate increased, hotels are reluctant to migrate to a new system which result in a lower conversion rate for Accom.
This year, Accom aims to work with 5 industrial players as their Licensing Partners and achieve their first 500 hotel partners.
So why should investors look towards Accom?
Hazlina cited the World Bank’s report prior to the pandemic, that Malaysia’s economy is significantly influenced by tourism where an estimated MYR 82.3 billion of revenue was generated from in 2019. This accounted for 8.9% of the nation’s GDP. With their extensive industrial experience, Hazlina is confident they have the advantage in this profitable and scalable business.
She is also optimistic that continuous innovative efforts will enable the technology to be applied to various other sectors including medical tourism and real estate.