Gobi Partners and MDEC announce US$3.45mil pitching competition for SuperSeed Fund II
By Digital News Asia May 15, 2020
- Sunway City township to provide startups with living lab as test bed for innovation
- Winners to attend Alibaba Busines School entrepreneurship &iLabs Accelerator programs
A pandemic as unprecedented as COVID-19 and the subsequent economic fallout requires good ideas to overcome. With that in mind, the Pan-Asian venture capital firm Gobi Partners and Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) have jointly announced a pitching competition for Malaysian startups.
Through this, winning companies will get the opportunity to secure equity investment from Gobi Partners under their Malaysia SuperSeed Fund II vehicle, a fund which was jointly announced last year by the firm alongside Malaysian Venture Capital Bhd (Mavcap) and Sunway.
Evan Cheah, executive vice president of President’s Office, Sunway Group said, “We are confident this unique public-private partnership between Gobi, MDEC, MAVCAP and Sunway will contribute positively to Malaysia’s startup scene, especially during these trying times. In addition, the Sunway iLabs Accelerator programme provides startups with access to Sunway’s resources across 13 business divisions as well as the township of Sunway City Kuala Lumpur, which is a living lab that continuously fosters a thriving innovation ecosystem. This means that startups will have a wide market as a potential test bed, access to Sunway University’s labs, researchers, and potential interns".
Funding of up to US$3.45 million (RM15 million) is to be made available to winning startups.
The winning companies will also be a potential MDEC grant recipient, besides additional prizes that include the chance to attend an entrepreneurship program organised by Alibaba Business School and the iLabs Accelerator Program by Sunway Group.
“The Malaysian startup ecosystem is teeming with talent. Startups want to solve the country’s problems in new and innovative ways, and this will be one way for them to realise their aspirations,” says Gobi’s managing director for Malaysia Jamaludin Bujang in a press release.
“We, as a venture capital firm, also believe that we need to keep investing as the world goes through these kinds of cycles; in order for the ecosystem to survive, the show must go on.
Great adversity forges great entrepreneurs,” said Thomas G. Tsao (pic), chairman and founding partner of Gobi. “For those who believe in their dreams and have the mettle to succeed, entering this competition could change your life.”
Adding her thoughts, MDEC CEO Surina Shukri (pic, left) says: “The SuperSeed II Championship resonates with MDEC’s #DIGITALvsCOVID movement, which aims to harness digital technologies to help our people, entrepreneurs and businesses surmount economic challenges caused by the pandemic.
“As we navigate life and work in the new norm, there will be an extraordinary demand for novel tech solutions – a gap that can be capably fulfilled by prolific and innovative startups. As such, we will passionately support the successful startups in this competition with their tech endeavours, giving them an edge as choice prospects of our MDEC grant.”
Let the pitching begin
Entry criteria for the SuperSeed II Championship requires that the company is incorporated in Malaysia. Startups with Malaysian founders or Malaysian shareholders are also eligible. Besides that, the company has to have substantial operations in Malaysia, or have concrete plans to expand their business to the country.
Startups in the following (but not limited to) key verticals will be considered for the competition:
- Retail enterprise (i.e AI, B2B, B2C, Big Data, e-commerce, and logistics)
- FinTech (i.e. crowdfunding, InsureTech, mobile payments, P2P lending, and roboadvisors)
- Smart Cities & Circular Economy (i.e. construction solutions, e-hailing, environment solutions, IoT, mobility solutions, and public transport solutions)
- TaqwaTech (i.e. companies providing products and services to Muslim consumers and communities).
The SuperSeed II Championship will see startups being added to Gobi’s portfolio for Malaysia SuperSeed Fund II, a fund that was launched together with Malaysia’s largest venture capital company Mavcap and local conglomerate Sunway Group. The fund is focused on financing early-stage startups in Malaysia. There will be 20 - 25 startups in the Fund’s portfolio, and the median ticket size will be between US$345,000 to US$460,000 (RM1.5 million – RM2 million.)
Aside from capital, the winners will also be automatically eligible to attend a suitable entrepreneurship program organised by Alibaba Business School, while finalists will be placed in a priority channel to be selected for the program.
The Alibaba Business School event will be held in Hangzhou in 2021 and provides startups with first-hand exposure to e-commerce and digital innovations, access to business leaders across Alibaba and China, as well as an opportunity to connect with like-minded, leading entrepreneurs in the region.
As an added bonus, Sunway will be offering the top three finalists for the competition a wild card to enter their iLabs Accelerator program, which is in collaboration with Gobi Partners. The program will begin in September of this year.
More detailed information of the competition can be found here. The deadline for entries is 12am (midnight), 16 June 2020. The preliminary round is scheduled to take place at the end of June, while the qualifying rounds and final round are set to be held in July and August.