Edtech startup raises US$12,000 in pre-seed funding from 1337 Ventures, Amanz 

  • Edtech startup beats 70 teams to emerge as winners of 1337’s Cohort 38
  • Some 42% of participants who are gainfully employed while working on their startups

Edtech startup raises US$12,000 in pre-seed funding from 1337 Ventures, Amanz Cikguu, an education-tech startup, has emerged victorious from a cohort of 71 teams to receive US$12,000 (RM 50,000) in funding from 1337 Venture and media group Amanz.

In a statement 1337 Ventures said the startup, founded by 19 year-old Aziz Iskandar Ahmad Nidzam, runs a social network platform for tutors and learners to meet, book, and learn, with focus on autonomy and community.

It said Aziz gave up his post-SPM scholarship to study in Germany to start Cikguu.

When asked about his motivations, he said, “After watching The Social Network (a movie on how Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook), it was like a lightbulb went off. 

“I immediately called my best friend and we learned to code from YouTube. We did this everyday at night for a year,” said Aziz.

The Cikguu team has been at this for two years, working day jobs whilst studying at night to hone their technical skills.

Incidentally, Aziz and his co-founder Arif Ikmal, are part of the 42% of participants that are gainfully employed while working on their startups.

Chief executive officer (CEO) of 1337 Ventures, Bikesh Lakhmichand, said “Cikguu’s story is exactly why we keep reiterating this programme. We’re constantly asking how we can make entrepreneurship more accessible, from schedule flexibility, language, and geographic region. 

“Right now, about 70% of our teams are from the Klang Valley. With Digital Penang coming in as a supporting partner of this cohort, we’ve gone from 1% representation to 14.8% for the island state,” Bikesh added.

He is hoping for more local partners to push the programme to far corners of the country.

Main partner, Amanz, has dipped their feet into the venture capital world by co-funding this cohort with 1337 Ventures.

CEO Ikhwan Nazri, who runs Malaysia’s #1 Bahasa Malaysia tech portal, has committed to translating and co-delivering future batches of the Alpha Startups programme in the national language. 

“Through AmanzNXT, our investment arm, we started to co-fund with 1337 Ventures, and Cikguu is the startup that aligned with our ‘Membentuk Komuniti Berinformasi’ (forming an information community) motto,” Ikhwan said.  

“With Cikguu, I foresee that not just affordable tuition can be provided, but a spillover effect that will level up marginalised B40 (bottom 40s) communities to access wider knowledge, and improve the lives of people,” said Ikhwan.

Cikguu is currently in limited release and is looking for more teachers. Interested parties can register here.

Bikesh and Ikhwan were part of a five person judging panel, which included Tony Yeoh (CEO of Digital Penang), Yvonne Yong (Head of TEG at MDEC) and Suresh Thiru (Startup Advisor at Go1). 

The judging panel had a tough task before finally deciding on Cikguu as the winner, beating crowd favorite YesHello, a Whatsapp business solution startup.

Other finalists include Qarbotech (a product to biohack the farming process), Wasavé (a green company dedicated to LNG cooling), OpenTunes (NFT for music) and more. 

The full list of finalists can be found at here.

The Alpha Startups Digital Accelerator Cohort 38 was held in collaboration between 1337 Ventures and Amanz.

It was supported by the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), Digital Penang, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Airtable, and iTrain Asia.


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