MyStartup’s Single Window launched, aims to boost Malaysian startups and ecosystem

  • Part of Marquee Initiatives under KL 20 Action Paper to sharpen competitiveness
  • AI-powered Single Window designed to foster collaboration, innovation, connectivity 

MyStartup’s Single Window launched, aims to boost Malaysian startups and ecosystem

Serial entrepreneur Joel Neoh shared the stage on the second day of KL20, 23 May, with Chang Lih Kang (pic above), Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) at the launch of the MyStartup program Single Window for Malaysia’s startup ecosystem.

And no, Joel was not there to announce his next startup. Having exited from his last startup, Fave, to be a first cheque (very early stage) investor in the next generation of founders via First Move, Joel was on stage to share a story about his entrepreneurial journey, with his mom as a key prop. 

The now 40-year old recounted how, at 21, he asked her, “Should I start a company?” “She didn't even look at me when she said, ‘son, No. Go get a good job.’”

It was a pivotal moment for Malaysia’s startup story. Joel could have listened to her and become just another suit in the corporate world. 

Fortunately, he disobeyed her and went on to become one of the key players in Malaysia’s startup story. He became co-founder of digital media, in 2007. Within a few years, it became one of the top online news platforms, with millions of readers every single month - but not his mom who stuck with her favourite mode of print.

Even when he started GroupsMore in Aug 2010, a mobile coupon app with 10 million coupons sold in the first year, his mom continued cutting out coupons from newspapers. It was the same story with Fave, a QR payment mobile app with US$100 million of transactions in the first year. But not a single dollar came from his mom who stuck with cash.

Where Joel failed, COVID finally cracked her resistance to digital, and since last year, Joel’s mom has gone cashless, buying via e-commerce and reading online news. “She even asked me on the day I announced my fund, First Move, whether she should start her own company,” he said. (Ed note: Yes, you read that right.) “Yes,” encouraged Joel. 

Being new to the startup world, she frequently peppered her veteran son with questions - “How on earth do I get started?” “How do I build an app?” “How am I going to get product market fit?”

These are likely the same questions asked by founders all over Malaysia.

Besides Joel, leading Asia venture capitalist Thomas Tsao, co-founder and chairperson of Gobi Partners and Camelia Loh, founder and CEO of HRtech, Kabel also shared some experiences.

The common point they were driving home was about the importance for Malaysia’s startup ecosystem to having a single point of contact/reference that can quickly address most, if not all, of the questions and needs that startup founders will inevitably have.    

And that is the driving motivation for Mosti, via its agency Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd, to formally launch the Single Window for Malaysia’s startup ecosystem on the second day of the KL20 Summit. With the Single Window founders can connect with talent, investors, and other founders.

It is an AI-powered platform designed to foster collaboration, innovation and global connectivity and will serve as a foundation for a seamless business environment by providing a single platform for all things related to startups in the country. 

The promise is that it provides startup founders, investors, and tech talent a streamlined access to important information like comprehensive data, insights and resources on starting and scaling a startup; comprehensive database of all startups in Malaysia and venture capitalists, with key information on funding, business details, and active fundraising status updates.

The launch of MYStartup’s Single Window is a part of the Marquee Initiatives (which aims to make talent access easier, making investing and deal-sourcing more regular, and AI infrastructure more mature) under the KL 20 Action Paper.

Elaborating on the value of the Single WIndow, Chang said, “This initiative serves as a springboard to exemplify our continuous journey of cooperation and collaboration in fostering and energizing tech based startups in order to provide a conducive and friendly atmosphere within the startup ecosystem in the country.”

The Single Window also serves to ease and mitigate some of the problems that the ecosystem players have been facing, for instance, difficulty in getting information on funding, clarity on regulatory matters and identifying tech talent.
MyStartup’s Single Window launched, aims to boost Malaysian startups and ecosystem

Centralised platform to support target of KL becoming a Top 20 startup ecosystem by 2030

The Single Window offers a centralized platform for startups to assess resources, mentorship, funding and regulatory support, thereby empowering the next generation of entrepreneurs to thrive and succeed in line with the nation's bold aim to be among the top 20 global startup ecosystems by 2030. 

It will also support the target of having 5,000  self-sustaining and successful startups by 2025 as outlined in the Malaysia Startup Ecosystem Roadmap (SUPER) 2021-2030. 

“At the moment, we have over 3700 startups in Malaysia with a valuation of up to US$5 billion (RM23.9 billion), while their total capital raised from 2019 to 2024 stands at US$1.6 billion (RM7.65 billion), with 438 deals made,” Chang said.

Cracking the Top 20 rankings for KL by 2030 is going to take a monumental effort as, according to the Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2023 by Startup Genome, Malaysia is not only ranked outside the top 40 startup ecosystems in the world, it is only ranked within the top 21-30 spots under the Emerging Startup Ecosystems category. To leapfrog 50 spots within the next six years is an Everest-like peak to scale.

However, according to Norman Matthieu Vanhaecke, Cradle Group CEO, efforts to become a more attractive and robust ecosystem started in 2021.

“Since the Startup Ecosystem Roadmap was launched in 2021, we've already set out 16 interventions to help propel the ecosystem, not just in terms of funding, but also in terms of talent, regulatory, market access, and policies as well.” (see chart)

MyStartup’s Single Window launched, aims to boost Malaysian startups and ecosystem

Norman also pointed out that the “Malaysian venture capital roadmap and the KL20 blueprint are coming together as a holistic plan for the nation to actually accelerate the Malaysian startup ecosystem development towards becoming a top 20 global startup by 2030.”

Part of concentrated effort to boost vibrancy of startup ecosystem

The Single Window was introduced in conjunction with the KL Innovation Belt and the Malaysia Venture Capital Roadmap 2024-2030 led by the Malaysian Research Accelerator for Technology & Innovation (MRANTI) and Malaysia Venture Capital Management Bhd (MAVCAP) respectively. 

The aim of the KL Innovation Belt is to build a vibrant physical ecosystem where innovators, startups, corporates, investors, VCs and academia can come together to collaborate with the establishment of specialized hubs across strategic locations.

MOSTI is working with a few co-working office spaces in Bangsar South and are offering such spaces for these ecosystem players, as they are concentrated startup clusters and incentives to foster critical mass and knowledge-sharing between ecosystem players, while also providing easier access to government agencies assistance.

The Malaysia Venture Capital Roadmap 2024-2030 on the other hand, aims to position the nation as an emerging and thriving venture capital (VC) hub in Southeast Asia.

“These initiatives were launched as a concentrated effort to boost the ecosystem so that it becomes more vibrant and robust,” Chang stressed, adding that international VCs and startups are “very interested in the Malaysian market and are very optimistic that their investments will bear fruit in the country.”

Thus, he believes that the launch of the MYStartup platform as the Single Window stands as a cornerstone in the strategic blueprint to propel Malaysia forward and position it among the best startup ecosystems globally.


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