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An Introduction to the Malaysian Startup Scene in 2015

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2015 has been the best year yet for Malaysian startups.

Learn about the country's coworking spaces, accelerators, tech events, community leaders, startups, government initiatives, infrastructure growth, and funding landscape in this quick presentation by MaGIC, the Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre.

Looking to get involved with the Malaysian startup scene? Reach out at, or tweet us @MaGICCyberjaya.

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An Introduction to the Malaysian Startup Scene in 2015

  1. 1. What’s going on in the Malaysian startup ecosystem? How can I get involved? What’s the future of Malaysian tech companies in the region and the world?
  2. 2. 5 Coworking Spaces where the community goes to get work done The Co. A collection of coworking and event spaces in Asian Heritage Row and Bangsar, for entrepreneurs and freelancers ( Hideout A community of startups that work and play under one roof - located in Bandar Utama with monthly VC meetings and fundraising assistance ( Fluent Space A coworking space for freelancers, small teams, and apparently, women who enjoy firearms - located in Petaling Jaya ( Success Factory A coworking space in Subang Jaya, founded by an entrepreneur with a passion for training ( MaGIC Space MaGIC’s Cyberjaya-based coworking space with access to MaGIC’s facilities, demo days, entrepreneurs-in-residence, and mentors ( SEE MORE COWORKING SPACES AT RESOURCES.MYMAGIC.MY >>Picture from The Co.
  3. 3. 5 Accelerators where ambitious founders are building the future MaGIC Accelerator Programs Three programs - for startups looking to expand in ASEAN, for social enterprises, and for growth-stage companies with 500 Startups ( Tune Labs Accelerator A year-round program with in-house development support, and the opportunity to test market fit with the AirAsia/Tune Group customer base ( 1337 Accelerator Open to all verticals but specialized in mobile gaming, 1337 uniquely provides its startups with access to equipment like the Oculus Rift ( WatchTower and Friends Accelerator Designed to take startups to the next level, WTF provides companies with up to RM50k in funding, networking and mentorship ( Startup Next Pre-Accelerator The KL edition of the world’s #1 pre-accelerator program - a hands-on mentorship program lasting five weeks ( SEE MORE LOCAL ACCELERATORS AT RESOURCES.MYMAGIC.MY >> Picture from MaGIC
  4. 4. 5 Regular Events sharing and celebrating local startup culture Startup Grind Candid conversations over food and drinks with local entrepreneurs and community builders ( Startup Weekend The OG startup event - 54 hours of madness where teams validate, build, and pitch their startup ideas ( Open Coffee Club An informal meeting place for people involved in tech or e-commerce startups every 1st Tuesday of the month ( #DMM360 A regular networking and education meetup for digital marketers and online business owners ( Grill or Chill A monthly platform for startups to hone their pitches and get feedback from domain experts and entrepreneurs, hosted by MaGIC ( SEE MORE STARTUP EVENTS AT RESOURCES.MYMAGIC.MY >>Picture from Startup Grind
  5. 5. 5 Community Leaders making the ecosystem a better place Hairol MaGIC Social Entrepreneurship The community leader for MaGIC SE. Got a question about impact-driven businesses? Ask away Lais StartupGrind, 8Spaces, The List KL A tech enthusiast and scribbling artist who’s built communities across Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia. Tweet her @isolive. Heislyc Startup Mamak, Angelhack, Founder Institute This helper-by-nature can be found at StartupMamak meetups the first Thursday each month or Fadzli Technopreneurs Association of Malaysia, NEST A serial entrepreneur and angel investor with two successful venture exits in Europe, reach out to him at Oko TechStars, Startup Weekend With experience building startups in the US, Mongolia, and now ASEAN, chat with him about startups and creating new things @okod.
  6. 6. KFit Currently in 6 cities across the Asia Pacific region, fitness service KFit recently raised a USD3.25MM Series A to expand to 20-30 additional cities in 18 months. 5 Malaysian Startups working with courage to bring a vision to life GrabTaxi Already ASEAN’s best- known success story, a cool USD690MM in funding and top talent from companies like Facebook and Palantir suggest that GrabTaxi is just getting started. FashionValet After its Indonesian expansion, husband and wife eCommerce team FashionValet raised a multimillion dollar round to scale its operations to other cities. ServisHero The new kid on the block, ServisHero has raised the largest pre- seed round in Malaysian history (USD750k) to provide on-demand local services on mobile. Katsana Using proprietary GPS technology, Katsana aims to tackle vehicle management and safety for individual drivers, fleets, buses and ships in the ASEAN region.
  7. 7. Government Initiatives & Policy Milestones 2001 Founding of MAVCAP Malaysia’s largest venture capital firm, created by the Ministry of Finance to invest in the tech industry and other high-growth sectors 2003 Establishment of the Cradle Fund A RM100MM seed fund for local tech companies, a fund recently increased by an additional RM175MM under the 10th Malaysia Plan 2014 Founding of MaGIC In our completely unbiased opinion, the best thing since sliced roti bakar 2015 Social Enterprise Blueprint A three-year strategic roadmap, launched by the Prime Minister’s office in collaboration with MaGIC, for developing a social enterprise ecosystem in Malaysia 2015 MSC Status for Startups An extension of MSC policy by MDeC, lifting the location requirement, easing restrictions on hiring key foreign talent, providing financial incentives and tax exemptions for startups
  8. 8. Funding 2011 2014 Malaysian Tech Funding (MYR) Less than $60MM $1,500MM Internet 2011 2014 Internet Penetration 17MM 20MM Mobile Phone Penetration 125% 140% Smartphone Penetration 9% 35% eCommerce 2011 2014 Mobile eCommerce Volume (MYR) $470MM $2,680MM eCommerce Volume (MYR) $1,970MM $4,760MM eCommerce % of Total Retail 1.92% 3.41% Sources: TechList, Euromonitor, eCommerceMILO, Nielsen & Paypal, Google Malaysia With eCommerce at only 3.4% of total retail volume (compared to 7% in both the United States and China) and more Malaysians getting smartphones every year, there’s never been a better time to start a tech company in Malaysia The Malaysian consumer internet is growing at a rapid pace, with mobile eCommerce growing the fastest
  9. 9. In the past 10 years, Malaysian companies have dominated the ASEAN tech IPO scene Sources: Bloomberg Quote, Tech in Asia, Business Insider * JobStreet was acquired in late 2014 by Australian company SEEK Company Name Country Listing Exited Market Cap (USD) ** Silverlake Axis Ltd Malaysia SILV:SP 2003 $1,908MM iProperty Group Ltd Malaysia ASX:IPP 2007 $592MM JobStreet Corp Berhad * Malaysia JOBS:MK 2004 $535MM MYEG Services Berhad Malaysia MYEG:MK 2005 $535MM iCar Asia Ltd Malaysia ASX:ICQ 2012 $286MM iBuy Group Ltd Malaysia ASX:IBY 2013 $148MM MOL Global Malaysia NASDAQ: MOLG 2014 $112MM MigMe Ltd Singapore ASX:MIG 2014 $84MM Holdings Ltd Singapore AST:SP 2001 $71MM REV Asia Berhad Malaysia REV:MK 2011 $44MM
  10. 10. However, the reverse is true when it comes to tech acquisitions, with Singapore taking the lead for both deal volume and deal size Sources: Monk’s Hill Ventures, Tech in Asia • Among the region’s best known acquisitions are Singapore’s Viki (USD 200MM) and Zopim (USD 30MM) • Malaysia’s total and average deal data are heavily skewed by the 2014 JobStreet acquisition; the median deal data tells the real story - historically, Malaysian founders have preferred to take their companies public over selling them * 62.5% of companies examined were acquired for undisclosed terms, and were excluded from deal size calculations Country Acquisitions Total (USD) * Average Deal (USD) * Median Deal (USD) * Singapore 36 $480MM $30MM $11MM Indonesia 18 $66MM $13MM $2MM Malaysia 13 $552MM $110MM $4MM Philippines 8 $24MM $6MM $5MM Thailand 4 N/A N/A N/A Vietnam 1 N/A N/A N/A
  11. 11. Sources: Tech in Asia, TechList, Mattermark • Funding across the region is currently dominated by the seed stage (66% of investments made were seed investments), hinting that the tech economy is in for some serious growth as the current batch of 
 companies mature • Furthermore, ASEAN companies start out raising smaller rounds, but catch up to their SFBA/NY counterparts as they approach the growth stage, a sign that VCs believe these homegrown heroes can be competitive on the international stage Distribution of investment dollars in ASEAN, by country ID 7% MY 15% SG 73% SG MY ID PI TY VN Funding data from ASEAN, San Francisco Bay Area, and New York Area ASEAN (2011-2014) SFBA (2014) NY (2014) Total funding events 500 1,580 620 % seed funding events 66.10% 17.70% 22.60% Average seed funding $660,000 $1,100,000 $800,000 Average series A $4,100,000 $7,800,000 $10,100,000 Average series B $13,000,000 $17,000,000 $16,000,000 Average series C $32,000,000 $32,000,000 $22,000,000 A total of 2.6bn USD has been put to work in the region so far, with most fundraising taking place in Singapore
  12. 12. The Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC) WHO ARE WE? Founded in 2014, our mission at MaGIC is to catalyze the tech entrepreneurial ecosystem by educating, exposing, and accelerating startups, connecting the community, and inspiring the public WHAT HAVE WE DONE SO FAR? In Year One, we went from employee number one to empowering thousands of local entrepreneurs, running regional and global programs for Malaysian tech companies, and launching ASEAN’s largest startup accelerator right here in Malaysia To see the story in detail, check out our Year One Impact Report at GET IN TOUCH! Looking to get involved with the Malaysian startup scene? Reach out at, or tweet us @MaGICCyberjaya Got a question about this presentation? Reach out directly to