Scaleup Malaysia calls for submissions for its 3rd cohort

  • Cohort 1 has seen 4.2x increase in valuation for the 10 companies
  • MaGIC joins as program partner, US-based VC firm joins as well

The 10 companies from Cohort 2 that received funding.

[Article edited for clarity and additional information.]

After running two successful cohorts of its 24-month engagement which consists of a three month accelerator followed by 21-months of hands-on engagement with mentors, Scaleup Malaysia is calling for submissions from entrepreneurs for its third cohort with the deadline on Sept 2 at 11.59pm. Only those who already have revenues of at least US$71,000 (RM300,00), have product market fit, and, the most important criteria, have founders hungry to accelerate their growth but are unable to make things click, need apply.

It is open to both tech and non-tech companies which rely heavily on technology to enable them to scale rapidly and efficiently. One major difference in criteria, triggered by this Covid-era, is that ScaleUp Malaysia has dropped the criteria that only Malaysian companies can apply. With the program fully virtual, having a geographic limitation does not make sense anymore though non-Malaysian based entrepreneurs who wish to apply must at least have the intention of expanding to Malaysia.

Scaleup Malaysia calls for submissions for its 3rd cohortFounders wondering if the accelerator program is worth the two-year commitment it demands of them only need to talk to Mohamed Tarek El-Fatatry (pic, left), an Egyptian born Finnish entrepreneur building his greentech social enterprise, BlueBee Technologies Sdn Bhd, which operates under the brand ERTH, in Malaysia since 2018.

“I have to say ScaleUp Malaysia is by far the best accelerator I have taken part in Malaysia.” In his first pitch, he says, “they challenged us about some issues that helped double our revenue in a few weeks!”

“What I also like about the program,” he adds is, “that it feels like a family, not an accelerator.”

20 startups will be selected to go through a 3-month business coaching exercise that focuses on product management, finance, strategic planning, valuation, market access, technology roadmap, talent management and more. The third month will comprise an intensive 30-day bootcamp to help prepare them for fund raising after which they were will be a Demo Day where the 20 will pitch to the Investment Committee which will pick up to 10 startups to become Cohort 3 of ScaleUp Malaysia and receive a US$59,200 (RM250,000) investment each.

The 10 startups that don’t get selected still walk away from the program with greater clarity on what their businesses need to do, thanks to the 3-month accelerator they went through.

For the 10 that get picked, what’s going to be exciting is that their funding will come from not just ScaleUp Malaysia but also from a regional VC based in Singapore and a US-based VC that are joining Cohort 3. The VC partners will be announced when the 20 selected startups are announced. It should be noted that Singapore based regional VC, Quest Ventures is the VC partner for Cohort 2.

A Demo Day held three months later will offer the 10 startups another chance to raise funding from existing investors or new ones that will be invited to watch the Demo Day.

Another development involves the official involvement of the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC) coming in as Program Partner and along with this bringing quick access to some of its key programmes such as National Technology Innovation Sandbox (NTIS), the Global Market-Fit Program (GMP) and others. This announcement was first made in March 2021.

MaGIC joins some other key partners such as General Assembly (brought in to help with building culture and hiring), accounting firm YYC to help with accounting and finance and a product development lab called Suria Labs.

Scaleup Malaysia calls for submissions for its 3rd cohortTay Shan Li (pic), managing partner of ScaleUp Malaysia explains that the 12 modules that make up the Pegasus scaling model for the 24-month engagement “are very focused on helping our companies scale rapidly and go regional.”

Not that there was anything wrong with the content from Cohort 1 and 2. Indeed, the valuation of the 10 companies from the Dec 2019 Cohort 1 has increased by 4.2 x since the investment made by ScaleUp Malaysia, says Tay, adding “ScaleUp Malaysia gets very involved with them.” It is too soon to provide similar data for Cohort 2.

Dr Darren Gouk can attest to this deep involvement by Scaleup Malaysia. Part of Cohort 1, he successfully raised a US$500,000 seed round shortly after the program. “We have benefitted a lot from the advice and coaching from ScaleUp, especially in the areas of financial projection, art of negotiation etc.”

The advice from the seasoned Scaleup Malaysian team has been especially helpful during the pandemic. “Growing a business during a pandemic needs a lot of resilience, agility in our direction, business models, product offering - this is something we have gotten under consistent advice and guidance from the ScaleUp Malaysia team.”

Noting the impressive quality of submissions already received, Tay feels that the pandemic has forced many entrepreneurs to think harder about how they should scale and grow the business, with ScaleUp Malaysia well equipped to help them scale the heights they are aspiring to for their ventures.

Interested entrepreneurs can get more information and apply here.


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