Sunway iLabs launches 2021 Super Accelerator

  • Applications close June 15, startups will gain mentors, market access
  • Sunway ecosystem a launchpad to test, validate and scale startups

Matt van Leeuwen (seated 2nd left), Sunway Group Chief Innovation Officer and Sunway iLabs Director, with his team. Seated on the right is Jeff Sandhu who heads 42KL, the French founded innovative coding school.

Sunway Innovation Labs (Sunway iLabs) launched its 2021 Super Accelerator programme last Thursday, 15 April with registrations open until 15 June.

The four-month program is for startups seeking to deliver innovative solutions focusing on six key verticals – Smart Cities, Agrifoodtech, Edutech, Digital Health, eCommerce and Fintech.

The 30 selected startups will go through a one-month pre-accelerator to assess their fit. After which, only the top five will be selected to join the three-month program. The selected startups up will be provided up to US$24,250 (RM100,000) of seed funding in two tranches upon their graduation and achievement of agreed milestones.

The startups will have access to resources across Sunway’s 13 business divisions and global ecosystem partners as well as Sunway City Kuala Lumpur’s thriving ecosystem as a testbed to conduct pilot projects and scale up their solutions. During the program, the startups will also have direct access to student talent and experts from Sunway University as well as access to tech talent from 42KL, a revolutionary French tech coding school.

This is in line with Sunway’s vision to position Sunway City Kuala Lumpur as a living laboratory bringing in experts to generate sustainable, real-world solutions for future urban spaces towards the betterment of the environment and humankind.

(L to R) Ento founder and CEO Kevin Wu, Matt van Leeuwen, and Sunway iLabs Ventures Head Eleanor Choong  networking event for the first cohort of Super Accelerator in 2020.

The Sunway ecosystem

Led by Sunway Group chief innovation officer and Sunway iLabs director Matt Van Leeuwen, the Super Accelerator programme is unique as it opens real market opportunities that are both supportive of new ideas and ready for innovation collaboration.

“With Sunway iLabs team acting as catalysts, the Sunway ecosystem is a launchpad for startups to test, validate and scale their businesses with corporate and academia support,” Matt says.

One example of how the Sunway ecosystem works to the benefit of startups can be seen from the experience of Fitscovery, a marketplace for online fitness and nutrition. One of five startups from the inaugural Super Accelerator Programme in 2020, Fitscovery was involved in one of 10 pilots ran last year. The work-from-home culture spurred the need for Sunway to adopt more digital well-being programmes for employees.

This led to where the pilot project saw 16,000 Sunway employees enjoy unlimited access to Fitscovery’s platform at a low monthly fee while

Fitscovery’s team was able to validate, customise and improve its product’s features through user feedback.

“The Super Accelerator opened opportunities for us to explore internationally while receiving valuable mentorship and feedback. This allowed our product and company to grow dramatically to where it is now,” said Fitscovery cofounder Francis Aguilar.

Kevin Wu, founder and CEO of Ento, one of the other finalists from last year also experienced the value of the Sunway ecosystem.

“Sunway iLabs has been tremendously helpful in linking us to the Sunway ecosystem through their retail tenants, diverse talent pool at their universities and also access to their world class facilities,” said Kevin. Ento is a cricket-based protein company.

The other startups from the first cohort were CozyHomes, JuzDrive, and Quadby.


Expecting the toughest of the tough

Gobi Partners chairman and founder, Thomas G. Tsao looks forward to supporting the 2021 batch whom he believes are going to be more focused, innovative and resilient - having been tested in the crucible of Covid-19.

“There’s an old saying, ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ so I can’t wait to meet this year’s batch of startups.  Any entrepreneur that could survive the pandemic of 2020 is the toughest of the tough,” Thomas says.

Meanwhile, Gobi Partners Malaysia managing director Jamaludin Bujang shares that, “With Gobi as a partner, early-stage startups will be able to gain direct VC access for product feedback, regional networking, as well as the potential for follow-up funding, without having to stretch their resources.”

We’re excited with the launch of our second Super Accelerator batch and looking forward to see what startups can bring to the table this year,” says Matt.

To register or for more information, visit

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