Week in Review: What YOU can do about the funding gap

  • Don’t just talk about it, take part in TeAM’s survey so that we can get real data
  • Join DNA is discussing the issue at the DNA-TeAM Disrupt session next Wednesday

Week in Review: What YOU can do about the funding gapTHAT old bugbear again: The funding issue, or more accurately, the lack-of-funding issue. We’re all still trying to figure it out.
The general feeling, which I have brought up before, is that the investment community in Malaysia, and indeed, the rest of the region, has yet to match the dynamism and vision of the startup community here. They’ve been spoilt by the easy ‘in’ of the real estate play here.
Catcha Group founder and chief executive officer Patrick Grove described it as ‘weak’ venture capitalist (VC) leadership, and he put some numbers to it: South-East Asia with a 600-million-plus population has 20 VC funds; China and India each may have ‘only’ double the population, but have 600 and 400 such funds, respectively.
Is it because we’re less talented than they are, in terms of business and technology? I seriously doubt it. So why aren’t technology companies from this part of the world a viable option for professional investors, or even those with a bit of cash and who can afford to be angel investors?
Like I said, we’re all still trying to figure it out. I have to admit, I look forward to the results of the ambitious two-phase study the Technopreneurs Association of Malaysia (TeAM) has embarked on, to ‘map all the VC players in the ecosystem, including foreign players,’ and to ‘understand the funding requirements of technology entrepreneurs,’ among others.
This looks set to be a key survey, not only for policy-makers to study but also for the entrepreneurs themselves, so they can set more realistic targets. That’s why I urge all technology entrepreneurs to help TeAM help you, and take part in the survey here.
The survey is open to non-TeAM members too, and runs until Dec 31, so there really is no excuse.
I hope we won’t get a repeat of the survey that the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) ran to more deeply understand the concerns of the tech community over the proposed (but now on the backburner) Computing Professionals Bill 2011, the infamous CPB2011.
That was a law to certify all computing professionals in the country, in a bid to raise their standards and as a way for Malaysia to become a signatory to the Seoul Accord. After the initial outrage which saw play in social media channels, and both mainstream and alternative news outlets, MOSTI and the other parties behind the CPB2011 backtracked and prepared a survey to garner deeper and wider feedback.
Yeah, there was outrage, and for good reason too. The law was badly drafted. But the concerns it addressed were real. And people were pissed off. Yet, there were only 69 responses to the 30-question, one-month-long online survey, according to one MOSTI official.
Even worse, I remember when a few of us journalists tried to spread the message via Facebook in an attempt to get more respondents, we were attacked by some people in the tech community – who went on to say that they must get more media coverage.
No, they didn’t want to do anything about it, but wanted the media to fight their battles for them. No wonder many people in government think that outrage or concern over such critical issues only comes from a small group of social media users!
The funding gap is real, so let’s all take that first step towards identifying the need, determining the causes, and then deciding what can be done about it. Even if you expect others such as TeAM to fight your battles for you, at least give them some ammunition.
For our part at Digital News Asia (DNA), we hope to get more thoughts and feedback at our 12th DNA-TeAM Disrupt panel discussion and gathering, with the topic on No love for Asean? Addressing the regional funding gap.
The panel session, to be moderated by DNA founder and CEO Karamjit Singh, will feature Catcha’s Grove, Quantum Electro Opto Systems (QEOS) cofounder Dr Gabriel Walter, and DTA Capital Partners CEO Dali Sardar.
The event is at 5.30pm to 7pm on Wednesday, Nov 27 at Wisma N2N auditorium, Tower 2, Avenue 3, Bangsar South, No 8, Jalan Kerinchi, 59200, Kuala Lumpur. To RSVP for the event and let us know your thoughts, click here or use the widget below.

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