Enter the 100 Soonicorns by ScaleUp Malaysia, Proficeo, MDEC & Penjana Kapital to groom Malaysia’s next unicorns

  • Public-Private Partnership to spur innovation and economic growth
  • 20 out of 100 to receive tailored learning, regulatory assistance & funding

The launch of the 100 Soonicorns program in Kuala Lumpur. From Left: Dr Sivapalan Vivekarajah, Taufiq Iskandar, Xelia Tong (ScaleUp Malaysia), Gopi Ganesalingam (MDEC) and Andre Sequerah.

ScaleUp Accelerator Sdn Bhd (ScaleUp Malaysia) and Proficeo Consultants Sdn Bhd have joined forces to launch 100 Soonicorns, a 12-month programme designed to groom the next unicorns of Malaysia.

In partnership with Penjana Kapital Sdn Bhd and Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation Sdn Bhd (MDEC), 100 Soonicorns aims to be an impetus to drive Malaysia towards achieving its aspirations to create five Unicorns by 2025. The programme is an ecosystem-driven catalyst that will prime startups as they navigate their challenge-riddled journey to becoming unicorns. 

Coined from the phrase “soon-to-be unicorns”, Soonicorns are startups with a growth potential to become unicorns. Soonicorns are typically technology-based startups that display exponential scaling prospects and have received funding from an angel investor or venture capitalist. To participate, invited startups need to have raised at least US$1 million from a Venture Capital firm or institutional investor; or have generated at least US$2 million in revenue over the last 12 months. 

Andre Sequerah, Managing Partner at ScaleUp Malaysia said: “With more than 2,500 active startups, the Malaysian entrepreneurship landscape is vibrant and has enormous potential to build disruptive businesses that are resilient, sustainable, and poised to be the nation’s unicorns of tomorrow. This joint program will enable us to take budding Soonicorns on our radar and mould them into unicorns through a structured, pragmatic and targeted programme.”

An entrepreneur with a successful exit to his resume, Andre is well aware that the higher one climbs, the more obstacles faces and, conversely, the lonelier the journey. “The margin between success and failure is slim and without both guidance and peer support, startups either become stagnant or deteriorate over time. The 100 Soonicorns programme will help bolster these startups, providing them with the necessary support from resources as well as peers to steer them as they make their way to the top,” Andre added.

“We have always believed that developing an ecosystem requires more than just financial capital. 100 Soonicorns is an initiative that provides the right stimulus to help up-and-coming entrepreneurs maximise their potential through a very exclusive programme designed to meet their needs,” said Taufiq Iskandar, Chief Executive Officer of Penjana Kapital. 

Dr Sivapalan Vivekarajah, Chief Evangelist of Proficeo shared: “100 Soonicorns will act as a catalyst of growth for our startup ecosystem and a springboard of success that will uncover new economic opportunities for the nation. The programme will also highlight these startups as Malaysia’s most promising companies, placing them in the spotlight of global investors. With the stakes high for these late-stage startups, the tailored guidance offered through 100 Soonicorn will provide our local startups with every opportunity for success.”

Meanwhile MDEC CEO Ts. Mahadhir Aziz said, “MDEC is committed to the national goal of creating five Unicorns by 2025 and the recent roll-out of the Malaysia Digital (MD) national strategic initiative will further catalyse this effort. MD seeks to increase overall ecosystem value, providing targeted assistance and resources that Soonicorns need, in their final push towards Unicorn status. Private-public effective collaborations such as this will be key.” 

100 Soonicorns will be executed in three phases. The first phase will see the team identifying the top one hundred startups in Malaysia with the propensity to become unicorns. The startups will then be nurtured via a founders-supporting-founders syllabus which includes structured problem-solving, capacity development sessions, networking and like-minded peer-to-peer support, in the second phase. Finally, twenty startups out of the 100 will be selected to go on to receive tailored learning, mentoring, regulatory assistance and funding from investors, government agencies and other ecosystem players. 

Two cohorts of the 100 Soonicorns program will kick off in Q1 2023 with 16 chief executive officers in each cohort. By the end of 2023, 100 Soonicoorns will be running 6 cohorts and supporting 100 CEOs. 


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