Tech scene at the entrepreneurial level has never been more exciting
News of an exit and a regional promotion will focus more VC attention on Malaysia
ONE of the questions I get asked the most is whether the tech scene in Malaysia is exciting. Having covered the sector since 2000, from where I sit today, I can safely say that the tech scene has never been more exciting.
Sure our system integrators (SIs) are suffering with ever thinner margins. “Five years from now, I can’t imagine how many of us will still be standing,” one lamented to me in Penang last week. But that is in the space of being a reseller, especially pushing boxes, as hardware-related sales are described. With a lot of technology solutions now being offered over the cloud, we all know where the future of the SI is heading.
The excitement though is in the space where entrepreneurs are trying to build their own niche. Many of these revolve around the Internet, that most powerful of distribution channels.
And just this week, we have seen Slashes & Dots Sdn Bhd selling its JomSocial solution to US-based Joomla app development company, iJoomla, for an undisclosed amount. But it is an amount that Slashes founder Azrul Rahim describes as “enough to take care of my family.”
The news would have surely sent a jolt of excitement through the start-up scene. Everyone will now have renewed belief that theirs can be the next start-up to be bought out -- if that is their game plan.
The acquisition news also comes in the same week that not yet 30 years old Joel Neoh has been appointed Groupon’s international vice president, Asia Pacific, to lead some of its largest markets in Asia, including Japan and Korea. Naturally Neoh is excited and honored to be given the responsibility and is looking forward to the challenge.
Neoh himself is no stranger to acquisitions as his own group-buying start-up, Groupsmore, was acquired by Groupon International a mere four months after launching in 2009. While those terms were not announced either, Neoh does share with me that he and his partner, Khailee Ng, still retain a stake in the renamed Groupon Malaysia to keep them committed to the success of the business.
Happening in the same week, both news items will have definitely reverbrated throughout the start-up scene in South-East Asia and sent home the message that Malaysia has talent and success stories in this space. And that is going to see more regional venture capitalists from across the border, Singapore, where they are based, to look a lot more closely at what is going on here.
Success begets success. And I think you will see quite a bit more action in this space throughout 2013. And you can follow all of it right here on DNA.
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