Week in Review: Keep your foot on the accelerator

  • Accelerators like MaGIC’s MAP a good platform but no guarantee of success
  • Startups in Malaysia, Singapore must avoid trap of expecting more from govts

Week in Review: Keep your foot on the acceleratorWITH the 27th Asean Summit to be held this weekend in Kuala Lumpur, the attention of the region is on Malaysia, more so with US President Barack Obama in town as well for the summit.
The unveiling of the Asean Community Vision 2025 is expected to be a highlight of the summit, with its focus on driving deeper sociopolitical and economic cohesion.
As the chair of Asean in this pivotal year of 2015, Malaysia has been determined to position itself as a gateway to the region, both for its established brick-and-mortar economy as well as the emerging digital economy.
Earlier this week, on Nov 16, an event was held that had those elements of socio-economic cohesion to it, wrapped around the emerging digital economy of Asean.
The Malaysian Global Centre for Innovation & Creativity (MaGIC) held a Demo Day for its inaugural MAP (MaGIC Acceleration Programme) batch of 50 startups from the region and beyond in Cyberjaya, with over 150 venture capitalists in attendance.
Spending the whole day there, I was struck in particular by how appreciative the startups from other Asean countries and elsewhere were of MAP, and what Malaysia was doing to support its tech-based entrepreneurs.
With the Malaysian Government gearing up to do even more for startups (witness the launch tomorrow of the Asean Centre for Entrepreneurs), I hope Malaysian- and Singaporean-based entrepreneurs, who are used to getting a lot of government support, do not unconsciously slip into a mindset that expects more from their governments, rather than doing more for themselves.
Especially those who get into competitive accelerators or other government-funded programmes – they must not let graduating from these schemes dull their desire and drive.
Don’t expect funding or customers to be a given. There is still all to be done to turn potential into success.
Just look at the Kaodim founders. They were not part of any accelerator and yet nailed an angel round this past February within four months of launching, and just this week, announced a US$4-million Series A round.
Of course, having received funding from 500 Startups, they were part of the 500 Startups family of investments and had access to support if they needed it. But this was not a structured network.
Someone else who never went through any accelerator was Lee Ching Wei of iMoney. But he points out that when he started in 2012, there were no opportunities for him.
“If I had to do it again, I would participate in an accelerator as they are a great platform and help you get immediately plugged into the ecosystem,” he says.
At the same time he cautions entrepreneurs to spend their time on areas that add value to their business. “Spend 95% of your time on areas that will grow your business.”
Ultimately, it is down to the entrepreneur and his or her team. Going through an accelerator, no matter how good it is, should not be seen by founders as a major step taking them closer to success. They still have it all to do.
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Previous Instalments:
Week in Review: Digital ‘oomph’ for Indonesian SMEs
Week in Review: Those website revamp woes
Week in Review: A bit of honesty serves better

Week in Review: Jokowi’s US visit will boost Indonesian ecosystem

Week in Review: Business media giving more focus to digital
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