1337 launches Malaysia’s first pre-accelerator programme
By Karamjit Singh May 2, 2014
- MDeC supporting 1337 Ventures to help startups
- Immense benefit to past hackathon winners
THOSE aspiring to become entrepreneurs are about to get a big boost with the launch of the Alpha Startups pre-accelerator programme put together by 1337 Ventures in partnership with national ICT custodian Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC).
Saying that he was frustrated and exasperated at the manner in which many first-time entrepreneurs “fall flat on their faces when making their pitches,” 1337 Ventures chief executive officer Bikesh Lakhmichand (pic) is the key driver for the initiative.
“We’re seeing a real gap even as we’re vetting through hundreds of applications from startups applying for funding. As much as there’s growth in innovative ideas, there’s also a rising pile of ‘not there yet’ applications in terms of being a validated startup,” he said in a statement.
The reason for this is simple enough, according to Bikesh. These first-time entrepreneurs are coming into the ecosystem with no or little network and have little time to prepare themselves to answer the right questions when in front of the various grant boards.
It is even not uncommon for them to apply for the wrong grants, he added.
Sitting on various grant panels, Bikesh has a front row seat at witnessing many an entrepreneur fail at the first hurdle. Thus the formation of Alpha Startups to help early-stage startups get from raw idea to validated minimum viable product (MVP) – vital for raising funding, traction and investments.
“We are looking for serious entrepreneurs, not ‘grant-preneurs’ or ‘want-preneurs,” said Bikesh, referring to entrepreneurs whose entire business models seem to revolve around getting government grants only.
He said this is why those keen to enter the programme must submit a one-minute video of themselves and what problem they aim to solve. The videos will act as filters to sift out the better entrepreneurs from those who merely fancy themselves entrepreneurs, he told Digital News Asia (DNA).
The Alpha Startups preaccelerator is a five-day intensive bootcamp where selected teams of entrepreneurs, developers and designers get to test and validate scalable product or startup ideas with their peers, guided by experienced industry mentors, according to 1337 Ventures.
The programme takes place from May 19-23 May and is targeting 35 participants.
Bikesh noted that many teams have won hackathons in the past but have failed to act on the momentum they built, leading to the teams breaking apart.
All Alpha Startups that successfully complete the pre-accelerator programme will be better prepared when applying to funding programmes run by 1337 Accelerator and other recognised funding organisations throughout the country, he said.
[Sentence edited for clarity. It was earlier implied that startups will have priority access to various funding programmes.]
Upon completing the programme, startups can be confident that they leave with a validated product proposition, solid marketing strategy, practical product roadmap and a pitch deck that will grab the attention of would be investors, Bikesh claimed.
Startups keen on joining the programme should send in their applications by May 14 in the form of a one-minute video pitch covering key topics such as product, market, execution strategy and why they think they are the best team to solve the problem.
The programme is currently free, but Bikesh told DNA he hopes to entice participants to eventually pay between RM1,000 and RM3,000. [RM1 = US$0.31]
To register, click here. For further enquiries, email [email protected].
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