Two more start-ups qualify for The Star Accelerator Fund


PETALING JAYA: Two more applicants – H&H Connection Sdn Bhd and Voxy Labs Sdn Bhd – have qualified for The Star Accelerator Fund. Both companies are planning to stream the funds into advertising and marketing campaigns, as well as recruiting new talents to help them expand.

“Sales have been very encouraging since we launched in June,” H&H Connection’s co-founder and strategy/assets chief Lim Hui Ru (pic) told StarBiz. “We want to ride on that and get our brand out there quickly. That was The Star’s advice to us.”

The e-commerce shopping website, Off The Rack Asia, features curated fashion labels from Asia, a boost for regional fashion designers, a “Create-A-Look” function, where users can match apparel and accessories, and social shopping, where users can share their created “looks” with friends.

“The fund has been very helpful in allowing us to explore different forms of advertising. We tried some methods that didn’t work, like e-mail marketing. This fund and its advisors taught us how to allocate and prioritise our resources,” said Off The Rack Asia director Haslina Ali.

Currently, the online shopping company has enlisted 12 brands from Malaysia, three from the United States (Danielle Nicole Handbags, House of Harlow 1960 Jewelery and Gorjana & Griffin Jewelery) and another from Indonesia (Alleira Batik).

Upcoming collaborations include Frollic Shoes from Singapore, and Monstore Clothing and Greedy Sassy Accessories from Indonesia.

“Things are getting very exciting for us and we will allocating the bulk of our funds into advertising,” Lim said.

As Off The Rack Asia is working comfortably in a team of six, they will not be hiring anytime soon. Instead, they will be focusing on branding.

For Voxy Labs, qualifying for The Star Accelerator Fund means receiving valuable advice on streamlining its efforts and approach after a year of its product, Kasi (a mobile application), for launch next month.

“We began in January and quickly learned that without funds, overheads can burn us fast and ultimately affect the outcome of our product. With developers and hardware expenses running, we were faced with the question of compromising on quality,” said Xu-Zonne Ho, co-founder of the information technology outfit.

Voxy Labs is an information technology company with a mobile application that has yet to be launched.

“We had several investors that approached us but we only had lukewarm sentiments towards their participation because they didn’t understand us fully. The Star, on the other hand, being a media company, truly got us,” Ho added. “They taught us how to approach this differently, and that was crucial for us.”

Prior to this, Voxy Labs had one hire. Now, with the financial boost, the team of three can expand to six.

The funds will not justify increased wages, but it will be comforting for the founders to know that while they screen new applicants, there are resources for other areas in the business.

“We encourage founders to build their business for the long term rather than a mere quick gain. We prefer to fund founders that believe in this course,” Star Publications (M) Bhd corporate services group general manager George Chan said.

“We encourage applicants to have done sufficient market validation before submitting their application to us. This tends to be overlooked by applicants because of their eagerness to introduce their products and services into the market. This process is crucial to ensure that their solution is sustainable, and that the market itself can accommodate their plans.”

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