Issue #04 | February 2023
Sivavenayakam Velayutham Managing Director, 25 Startups
Welcome to the latest edition of 25 Media. This month, we reflect on a busy period at 25 Startups. Our team has had the pleasure of meeting countless aspiring entrepreneurs, whether through webinars or face-to-face sessions. Additionally, we were honored to host a special visit from the First Lady of Germany, Elke Büdenbender, who is a strong proponent of gender equality and champions inclusive tech community globally.
Throughout our events, we noticed a recurring theme of growth. For many founders, taking the first step towards entrepreneurship is daunting. Leaving a secure job for the unknown can be intimidating, and it may take years before a business becomes profitable. Despite these challenges, we continue to see more founders take the leap of faith.
While we have seen more founders continue to take that leap of faith, I also want to shine some light on the growth we often take for granted. The growth to continuously be ahead of things, to adapt to new changes and to absorb new learnings. As leaders, this growth has its sacrifice.
What does growth mean to you? To me, it was taking the leap into co-founding 25 Startups and eventually grow into an entity that has since expanded its presence across several locations nationwide in a short amount of time.
And so, in this issue, you will find experts venturing into the various aspects of growth, such as driving business growth through digital storytelling, opportunities to expand in the sustainability space and much more.
There’s much more to discover in this edition, and we invite you to follow us on LinkedIn or reach out to us at [email protected] to learn more about our upcoming programs.
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.
We welcomed the First Lady of Germany, Elke Büdenbender, to promote diversity and inclusivity in the tech industry.
Her visit to the incubator in Penang included discussions with several Malaysian women founders on the importance of empowering women in the tech industry.
Present during the discussions were Jaylee Ong of Aimsity, Beatrice Leong of Gather Together and Hazlina Hamid of Accom, alongside Sivavenayakam Velayutham, co-founder and managing director of 25 Startups and Dato’ Hans Brenner, Germany’s Honorary Consul General of Penang.
As a strong proponent of gender equality, Büdenbender shared her views on the need for consistent support and recognition for women who are coming into the tech industry with innovative solutions. There is a need to have platforms for women-led startups to showcase their innovative ideas and contributions to the tech industry.
The First Lady’s visit to Malaysia is part of the state visit held by Federal President Frank-Waleter Steinmeier.
Startups presenting their innovative solutions to the First Lady. (From left) Mrs. Blomeyer (German Ambassador’s wife), First Lady Elke Büdenbender, Mrs. Casdoff (First Lady’s Office), Hans Brenner (Germany’s Honorary Consul General of Penang), Gurkiran Kaur (25 Startups Advisor), Hazlina Hamid (Accom), Sivavenyakam Velayutham (25 Startups) and Jaylee Ong (Aimsity).
25 Startups presented an online session by Daphne Choong, Partner Technology Strategist For APAC ISV, Microsoft, in which she focused on driving startup growth with Microsoft through the deployment of IoT and general cloud features.
She also shared some of the available programmes for ISV Partners included Solution Partner Designation, ISV Success Programme, Microsoft or Startups Founder Hub, Commercial Marketplace, and Business Applications ISV Connect Programme.
The Microsoft for Startups Founder Hub is also available to 25 Startups community members.
As China opens its borders and travel resumes, the nation’s ultra-large market will bring new opportunities for businesses not only within the country but to many outside.
With this development along with favourable economic policies from the Chinese Government, Malaysian companies and startups are presented with an opportunity to take advantage of this window.
Renee Ho, Technology, Media & Telecommunications Co-Leader in Deloitte and Digital Economy Lead of Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce (MCCC) Young Entrepreneur Committee, shared her thoughts in the webinar, Opportunities for Malaysia Startups in China’s Digitalisation And Sustainability Space.
Here a couple highlights from the webinar:
Main opportunities for SMEs and Startups are eCommerce, logistics and Islamic Fintech
Richard Ker, Chief Storyteller & Founder of Richard Ker Digital shared his insights to founders on getting their first steps into digital storytelling.
Here are a couple of insights:
Communicate to your audiences effectively by sounding more conversational (natural), avoid fluffing up your message (simplify it), get your audience involved, emphasise with colours and use your authentic voice.
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.
Founded in 2006, Easybook.com was born as a one-stop platform that sells bus tickets in Malaysia and Singapore. Since then, the operations have grown rapidly and is now one of the largest land & sea ticketing platform in Southeast Asia.
Easybook has also expanded its services to cover transportation ERP system as well as terminal management systems for bus and ferry services.
In 2021, the platform raised US$ 5 million from Malaysia boutique investment firm, Emissary Capital and had utilised the new funds to invest in online marketing, hire new IT and operation staff as well as march through the Covid-19 pandemic, which had affected the travel and transportation sectors.
Founder and Chief Executive Officer, William Lee said in media reports that Easybook plans to keep its business based mainly in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. Previous initiatives to expand into 10 SEA countries proved to be a struggle due to the pandemic.
However, William considers Easybook’s perseverance through the pandemic to be one of his milestones last year as the company fully recovered from the Covid impact after June 2022 and has grown almost double in comparison to the Pre-Covid days.
As for Easybook’s future plans, he aims to hit a minimum projection of USD 80 million in revenue and with significant profit as well as expand more aggressively in the ASEAN region.
William has also expressed his next goal is to list the company, have continuous high growth and keep being profitable.
Ashisuto Global Technologies Sdn Bhd is a startup that aims to bring digital business processes onto one global ecosystem solutions platform for companies. As digital transformation specialists, they provide a unique end-to-end business digital transformation portfolio branded as DocKITA.
The company’s mission is to revolutionize data visualization and traceability for a wide range of businesses, driving digital transformation across multi-business sectors. In pursuit of this goal, Ashisuto is currently developing effective lead generation and market penetration strategies to support their growth.
Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Ashisuto remains committed to achieving its goals. In 2023, the company is taking a proactive approach to maximizing human resources capacity to generate revenue and recover from the impact of the pandemic. Additionally, Ashisuto is actively exploring opportunities to expand into the ASEAN region and Japan.
To further enhance their offerings, Ashisuto is also planning to launch an AI-based digital transformation product, which will provide cutting-edge solutions to their clients. By constantly innovating and adapting to the ever-evolving digital landscape, Ashisuto is poised to become a leader in the digital transformation space.
So why is Ashisuto a promising startup?
Established in 2018 and operating from Sains@USM CREST Place, the company has been recognised by the Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC) as a Productivity Champion in the Leader category in 2022. Ashisuto has also been shortlisted as one of the Top 20 startups for the Selangor Accelerator Program (SAP) organised by Selangor Information Technology and Digital Economy Corporation (SIDEC). The team has also been selected by MRANTI for the Global Fit Program to Japan.
“Our current innovative solution is able to enable to business transformation for operation efficiency and revenue gain. We aim to continue expanding to resolve future business challenges which will be able to benefit investors as well,” says Chief Executive Officer, Cefinny Teh Jin Pei.
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