Entrepreneurs invited to submit their ideas online within 30 days
Fast-track program to have products and services in market within 3mths
TELEKOM Malaysia Berhad (TM), the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) and StartupMalaysia.org have kicked off a new accelerator program that they said sharpens the focus on getting startups to market quickly.
The Digital Malaysia Corporate Accelerator Program (DM CAP) will be an intense program that will go from idea to market stage within three months, with the twist that the product or service will be in line with TM’s own business – either serving its own needs, or those of its own customers and end-users.
“Our needs are quite diverse – it can be any kind of cloud computing solution, for example,” said TM Group CEO Dato’ Sri Zamzamzairani Mohd Isa (pic), adding that the nation’s incumbent telco has more generic programs for other types of startups.
“We have the Entrepreneurship Development Program which has 600 companies on board, and in 2010 launched the Blue Lane Program (BLP), which now has 29 companies under it,” he said.
DM CAP comes under the aegis of BLP, a technopreneurship program to nurture and harness homegrown digital entrepreneurs and encourage the development of the Malaysian ICT ecosystem by providing market access via TM’s platform and infrastructure.
The partners will bring their own areas of expertise to the tripartite collaboration. Non-profit StartupMalaysia.org will bring to the table its global mentoring and networks expertise; MDeC its various incubation and entrepreneurship initiatives; and TM its industry and market demand knowledge.
MDeC will also be providing its MSC Malaysia Technology Commercialization Center in Cyberjaya as a co-working space for those startups that may need it, and to conduct face-to-face mentoring sessions.
“This accelerator program has very specific objectives – to get a startup whose product addresses market needs,” said Datuk Badlisham Ghazali (pic), chief executive officer of MDeC, Malaysia’s national ICT custodian.
“One of the missing elements in many accelerator or incubator programs is market access; this is why the ‘corporate’ element was introduced.”
He said TM would provide the market validation that “non-corporate” accelerator programs lack. “If your product meets TM’s own business needs, than you know there is market demand for it,” he said. “TM will also have no compulsion in also opening market access to its own international partners.”
DM CAP is looking especially for entrepreneurs with ideas for solutions on the cloud, or those for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), as well as consumer applications. Those interested can submit their ideas online here within 30 days. The program is open to any business registered in Malaysia, or for new startups, the founder must be Malaysian.
The best 100 ideas will be chosen, and these will be whittled down to 15 and finally the best five will be chosen to go to market – all within three months.
“I believe this is the first corporate accelerator program in the country, or maybe even in the region,” said StartupMalaysia.org founder Dash Dhakshinamoorthy (pic).
Dash said that the program does not include funding, but MDeC’s Badlisham noted that there are various grants and funding programs available, including through MDeC, adding that “when your customer is TM, the chances of you getting funding from other programs also go up tremendously.”
When asked if TM would consider acquiring or investing in any of the five start-up finalists, Zamzamzairani said, “in general, we do not buy startups.”
“We would rather partner with them – either their solutions can be sold on their own, or we may partner with them to offer it as part of walled garden that TM provides,” he added.
Meanwhile, Badlisham said that if this corporate accelerator program was successful, MDeC would be looking to replicate the model with other verticals, citing green technology as an example.