MaGIC launches its Asean accelerator programme

  • 75 startups with up to 200 entrepreneurs per batch
  • Strong pool of mentors who have built Asean businesses
MaGIC launches its Asean accelerator programme

THE first Asean-focused accelerator, the MaGIC Accelerator Programme (MAP), was officially announced on March 21 during the 1Asean Entrepreneurs Summit (1AES) held in Kuala Lumpur. Asean (the Association of South-East Asian Nations) is a political grouping of the 10 countries in South-East Asia.
Organised and hosted by the Cyberjaya-based Malaysian Global Centre for Innovation and Creativity (MaGIC), MAP, inspired by the Startup Chile model, is touted by the agency as the largest programme in South-East Asia to grow a community of regionally-focused startups.
A total of 75 startups, 50 of which are market- and for-profit-oriented and 25 of which are social enterprises, will be taken in this July until November as the first four-month batch. The preference is for teams of up to three founders.
Applications open on April 1, with more details on the MaGIC site. From next year, the programme will be run twice a year.
While the 50 for-profit startups are placed in the Asean Startup Track and 40% will come from Asean countries other than Malaysia, the 25 companies under the social enterprise track will consist of only Malaysian startups.
Startups applying for the Asean Startup Track must have at least a prototype or have launched a product with some users or market validation.
For the social enterprises, the focus is on ideation and prototype. The companies here would also enjoy more “hand-holding,” says Warren Leow, MaGIC vice president of accelerator programmes, mainly because the ecosystem is not as mature as that of the tech ecosystem.
[Clarified] While none of the startups get any funding from MaGIC, the 25 social enterprises will each get an RM30,00 (US$8,120) grant, which is milestone-dependent.
Details aside (see bottom of article for more), the potential of MAP has MaGIC CEO Cheryl Yeoh “super excited.”
“Imagine twice a year, for a total period of eight months, we will have between 150 and 200 entrepreneurs at MaGIC, at our accelerator. Imagine the vibe,” she enthuses.
Investors and even the media will be invited to work out from the MaGIC office, where MAP will have an entire floor dedicated to itself.
Well aware that the first thing any entrepreneur does when checking out a new accelerator is to look at who the mentors are, MaGIC has lined up a strong pool from Malaysia and other Asean countries.
“Not only have they built regional companies themselves, such as Patrick Grove of Catcha Group, Vishen Lakhiani of Mindvalley or Mark Chang of JobStreet, but we have also gotten them to dedicate certain hours to MAP,” says Leow. [Corrected: An earlier version had incorrectly listed Ganesh Kumar Bangah as a mentor.]
With a strong pool of mentors and what it believes is a strong course programme, the key message MaGIC wants to send to startups throughout Asean is, “if you come to our programme, instead of taking one year on your own, you will be more investment-ready after four months,” says Yeoh.
Indeed, MaGIC’s ambition is that its MAP Demo Day, at the end of the four-month programme, will eventually come to be seen as the blue-chip event of early stage Asean-focused deals.
MaGIC launches its Asean accelerator programme“At the same time, it will be an excellent opportunity to get visibility and raise funding for the startups that participate,” says Yeoh (pic).
Another less tangible benefit for the startups is that this is probably the first programme that puts for-profit and social enterprises together. “We hope that the best of their virtues rub off on each other,” she adds.
What she means is that the social enterprises may pick up some tips on business fundamentals while the for-profit group may perhaps start thinking a bit more about being socially responsible.
Yeoh is also really excited about what she describes as the ‘Pay It Forward’ mentality “really coming through.”
With corporate sponsors such as Axiata Group, Digi Telecommunications, Tune Talk, Accenture, Zaid & Co and Macrokiosk already part of the programme – because they like the energy and potential national impact of MAP, she says – Yeoh hopes their support paves the way for more corporate sponsors, especially those seeking an easy way to engage with startups, to come forward and help MAP to indeed become the blue-chip of Asean accelerators in the region.
Asean Startup Track

  • A full-time programme to accelerate startups to be investment-ready in four months, based out of Cyberjaya, Malaysia.
  • Open to Asean participants.
  • Government-funded initiative to create a critical mass of 50 regionally focused startups.
  • MaGIC will not be taking equity, and will be paying for the full programme costs, accommodation (twin sharing), living expenses (RM1,500 per month per participant) and reimbursement for return flight tickets (up to RM1,000 per participant) [RM1 = US$0.28].
  • Open to early-stage startups (under three years) that have validated their ideas or launched a prototype/ product.
  • A platform to build a strong Asean startup community and cohort.
  • The programme structure will provide knowledge transfer and peer-leaning opportunities.
  • A programme focuses on thematic and guided discussions, brainstorming sessions, knowledge and experience sharing.
  • The programme will culminate with a Demo Day with investors.
  • Access to world-class mentors and instructors, and established private sector partners, as participants work on creating their startups.
  • Over 60 mentors who are amongst the best in South-East Asia, MaGIC claims. Examples include the founders and executives of JobStreet, Mindvalley, Catcha, Zalora, and Lazada.
  • Platform to engage with regional investors and route-to-market partners including Axiata, Digi, Tune, Accenture and Macrokiosk. These are the partners who have committed to support MAP.
  • Support from programme partners such as AmBank, Zico, the British Council, Ideaspace and Kickstart.
  • Enjoy startup benefits from partners such as Microsoft, Amazon, Piktochart, Elance-Odesk, 123RF, Evernote and many more.

Social Enterprise (SE) Track

  • A social enterprise accelerator to develop ideas to improve lives and build a sustainable world.
  • A full-time four-month programme for social entrepreneurs based out of Cyberjaya, Malaysia.
  • Open to 25 early-stage social enterprises from Malaysia only.
  • These enterprises will receive a seed fund of RM30,000 to pilot their ideas, and MaGIC will cover the full programme costs – accommodation (twin sharing), living expenses (RM1,500 per month per participant) and reimbursement for return flight tickets (up to RM1,000 per participant).
  • Access to venture philanthropists and impact investors who may top up the fund.
  • Access to mentors, industry experts and impact investors as participants develop their social enterprises.
  • Training delivered by subject matter experts from around the world.
  • The programme structure will provide knowledge transfer and peer-leaning opportunities.

Related Stories:
CEO Cheryl Yeoh lays out MaGIC’s ingredients
The MaGIC CEO and the crucible of fire
MaGIC out to create an intangible via e@Stanford
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