MaGIC’s GAP Cohort 3 sees strong 74% revenue growth during programme

  • Cumulative revenue grew from US$6mil to US$10.6mil during programme
  • Curriculum sharpened to ensure cohort is investment ready, outcome driven

Group pix of the startups with mentors and MaGIC staff.

After four months, the Global Accelerator Programme (GAP) 2019 programme – which is meant to provide the necessary skills, tools and networks for startups keen on expanding in Southeast Asia (SEA) – officially concluded on 13 Nov.

It ended with the GAP Demo Day, held at the Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC) Campus in Cyberjaya. This Demo Day is a graduation of sorts for the program, which saw participating startups present their pitches to an invite-only audience made up of investors, partners and mentors.

The audience includes Tengku Amir Shah, the Crown Prince of Selangor and the founder and royal patron of the Selangor Youth Community. 

Cohort 3 of GAP aims to enable local and foreign startups to receive support and gain access to knowledge, skills and entrepreneurship expertise – all supported by MaGIC’s mentorship network, pitching events, investment readiness workshops, corporate and government channel pegging.

“2019 is the year we improved the curricular essence of GAP 2019 to be more industry-led. This year’s GAP was designed to be more outcome-driven on the get-go,” says Dzuleira Abu Bakar, chief executive officer, MaGIC, during her speech.

“GAP will provide handpicked startups with a head start to break into the SEA market, the world’s next consumer powerhouse. A more conscious positioning was made to ensure that this cohort is investment-ready and outcome driven. We aimed for the startups to come out equipped with strong foundations to grow their ventures beyond the 4 months acceleration process.”

Afifah Basir, founder of Malaysian startup Petotum, could not agree more with Dzuleira, telling DNA that GAP lived up by its name. “We were given a huge opportunity to get to know and connect with startups from other countries such as Russia, Ukraine, Kenya, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Indonesia. The insights given during the program helped us to plan the business for future expansion as well as opportunities to connect with partners through Magic. Compared to other accelerator programs, the momentum that we built during GAP was really good which resulted in partnerships with corporate, startups and government agencies as well.”

Meanwhile Prabu Riansyah Sugara, founder of Lapangbola from Indonesia found the advice from mentors and other startup founders to be extremely useful. He also appreciated the strong networks MaGIC opened up for them to connect to potential investors.

He was also able to increase adoption of his sports management system thanks to the digital marketing tips picked up and a boldness in exploring new business models to increase revenue. The learnings through sharing experience with startups from outside Indonesia was a real eye opener for Prabu as well.


Intensive growth 

Dzuleira, in her speech, highlighted that GAP 2019 Cohort 3 has seen “intensive growth during the programme.”

Prior to the accelerator programme, the startups recorded 9.5% of cumulative revenue growth. During GAP, however, growth rates leapt to 74% cumulative revenue. Breaking things down further, cumulative revenue was at US$6 million (RM24.9 million) prior to the programme – now, the startups have grown that figure up to US$10.6 million (RM44 million).

Through GAP, the startups have also secured RM6.6 million worth of investments, contracts and partnerships.

[RM1 = US$0.24]

These are good numbers for GAP and MaGIC, which operates under the Ministry of Entrepreneur Development (MED) as part of the nation’s efforts to transform into an entrepreneurial country by 2030. As of 31 Dec last year, MaGIC has reportedly impacted nearly 85,000 entrepreneurs through more than 800 entrepreneurship development programmes.

The 986 startups that were accelerated by MaGIC’s various accelerator programmes generated RM1.49 billion, of which RM546 million were investment raised and RM950 million were revenue increased.

GAP’s Cohort 3 intake started from 10 April this year, drawing over 1,170 applications from 68 countries across the globe, including India, Estonia, Indonesia, Kenya, Myanmar, Vietnam and Russia. 30 startups were accepted.


Diversity in thinking

During his keynote speech, MED deputy ministry Mohd Hatta Ramli that MED is continuously advocating entrepreneurs to think globally, because expansion to the international stage is one of the key phases of an entrepreneurial journey.

“There is no way to go but regional and global. Always remember that companies can apply the lessons learnt from their country of origin to a new region, adapt accordingly and then expand throughout the region. For innovations to come, diversity should be practised in your startup, be it in your design thinking process or your internal workforce and culture,” he further advised.

The government is clearly primed to boost entrepreneurship in the nation. Hatta points to the recent Budget 2020 announcement as the main example, which has allocations meant to encourage entrepreneurship.

This includes approximately RM500 million for women entrepreneurs as well as RM210 million for digital infrastructures in public buildings, schools and industrial areas. This is on top of various matching grants for SMEs to go digital. Lastly, more than RM300 million will be dedicated to entrepreneurial education.

Welcoming the recent GAP Cohort participants from other countries, which includes RecyGlo of Myanmar, ProcMart of India, FootBot of Russia and Prime of Vietnam, Hatta iterates that Malaysia is  a region “filled with opportunities waiting to be grabbed and conquered”, and is fortunate to be well-placed in SEA.

“What better country to do from than Malaysia?” he says.

TJ Teh of Slingapp, could not agree more. His Malaysian based company had a strong spurt of growth during the programme – it increased sales 4x and partnership deals by 6x while welcoming more media attention.

Summing up the experience he says, “The multinational startup community and strong local and international network are among the key strengths of MaGIC’s GAP.  We were able to learn from the best startups and mentors of the world.”


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