Week in Review: What Nazrin Hassan would like to see

  • Key part of building mature startup ecosystem is the high touch element
  • Nazrin felt that those further along their journeys were not giving back their time


IT is with a heavy heart that I pen this week’s column. The festive season always has us in good cheer, even when it is not our particular celebration but this Hari Raya season in Malaysia has been glum for many of us in the startup ecosystem with the tragic loss of Nazrin Hassan, the dynamic CEO of Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd on Jun 14. It has robbed the startup ecosystem of its beacon and a key driving force.

Many of us are still in disbelief that a freak accident at his home, involving his charging handphone that exploded while he was asleep, has cruelly taken Nazrin away from us. His passing away leaves an irreplaceable gap in the Malaysian ecosystem. Yet I know Nazrin would not want us to let his loss affect the hard work that lays ahead to keep building on the foundations that he helped lay.

As I mentioned in my eulogy yesterday, Nazrin wanted to see the Malaysian startup ecosystem develop into a world-class and mature self sustaining ecosystem where those who have made it and those who are on their way to making it, stretch a hand out to help others make it too.

But this doesn’t mean that only those who are doing well have something to offer. I think everyone can learn from each entrepreneur’s experience. We need to be able to make time for each other, even if it is to take a phone call from someone.

And honestly, Nazrin did feel that those who were further along in their journeys were not giving enough of their time and experience back to the ecosystem. It is not just about speaking at a conference. It is equally about having small casual meet ups and making time for coffee or teh tarik with someone you don’t know but who feels they can learn from you as they build their startups. And yes, this high touch approach is a very important pillar of the startup ecosystem.

As I have reflected over the past few days, I keep coming back to this. That Nazrin would like for the startup ecosystem to adopt a more high touch approach, especially among its entrepreneurs. The beauty of making this a reality is its simplicity. It lies in our hands and our mindset. Are we up to it? Will we do it – not for Nazrin – for he never wanted anything for himself, but for the benefit of our ecosystem?


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