Local startups showing more promise


Proud winner: Arif (fifth from left) with (from left) Liew, Thoo, Fenox Venture Capital senior analyst Jordan Booth, Dewati, Balasubramaniam and Leeuwen at the Startup World Cup Malaysia 2018.

Proud winner: Arif (fifth from left) with (from left) Liew, Thoo, Fenox Venture Capital senior analyst Jordan Booth, Dewati, Balasubramaniam and Leeuwen at the Startup World Cup Malaysia 2018.

Runcloud, winner at the Startup World Cup Malaysia, will represent the country in Silicon Valley

THE quality of startups in Malaysia has improved over the years, as can be seen at the recently concluded Startup World Cup Malaysia 2018.

The event, held by Fenox Venture Capital in partnership with Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC)’s Malaysia Digital Hub and Sunway iLabs, saw 10 startups in an intense pitch competition, all vying for a space at the Startup World Cup 2018.

Runcloud.io, which makes deploying, configuring, managing and monitoring cloud servers a painless process for developers, emerged as the winner.

“About four to five years ago, we saw a lot of good pitches in the industry, but a lot of them were just pitches. Now we are actually seeing the expertise. They are talking about revenues and traction. We can see the growth potential in the local startups.

“I can see that Malaysian startups have improved in terms of identifying the problems that they are solving and they are coming up with the technology to solve those problems. They are building something and getting the traction. And with Grab becoming successful, conquering a big giant from the US, a lot of people feel more optimistic that other Malaysian startups can do that,” said Sunway iLabs director Matt van Leeuwen.

Leeuwen, who was one of the judges at the event, said Runcloud was picked as the winner for the potential that its product had on a global scale.

“One of the things we were looking at was who could really represent Malaysia and compete against Silicon Valley. We’re in a global market. A lot of them (other contestants) are very good regionally in solving a problem here. So we picked Runcloud because we believe they have some deep technology and can really differentiate themselves (on a global stage),” he said.

The other startups that participated in the competition were Dahmakan, CapFiX, FatBerry, Lunaz, Moneybay Tech, VAV Apps, Swag Technologies, PolicyStreet and Neuroware.

Chief executive officer of Runcloud, Arif Tukiman, said he was grateful to his team members who have supported the growth of the company since it was launched.

“We now have a user base of over 6,000 users from more than 50 countries worldwide. We are grateful for the win and we are confident that we will be able to make Malaysia proud at the Startup World Cup in Silicon Valley,” he said.

Runcloud will be provided free flight and event tickets to attend a host of workshops, a networking party, and the grand finale event on May 11 where startups from around the world will pitch their ideas to a panel of prominent judges for a chance to take home the trophy and US$1mil investment prize.

The panel of judges for Startup World Cup Malaysia 2018 were Sun Sea Capital’s venture principal Chua Seng Teong, Leonie Hill Capital’s head of investments – technology media and telecom sector Thoo Wee Meng, MDEC head of funding ecosystem Balasubramaniam A, Jirnexu founder and director Hann Liew, Captii Ventures chief executive officer SaiKit Ng, Leeuwen and Fenox Venture Capital SEA regional manager Retno Dewati.

Meanwhile, MDEC head of digital hubs and industry engagements Rafe Aznal said that the Malaysian tech startup ecosystem is growing and vibrant.

“We are most pleased to have Fenox VC as MDEC’s partner to bolster the startup ecosystem that we are building here in Malaysia. The Startup World Cup Malaysia is a catalyst to increase the number of enduring, high-growth startups that will succeed on a regional and global scale in tandem with our ambition to develop a world-class digital economy by 2020.

“The Malaysia Tech Entrepreneur Programme (M-TEP) has attracted interest from several entrepreneurs from all across the world and shows that our initiatives have global appeal. It is encouraging to know we have received applications from entrepreneurs from more than 10 countries, including Germany, India, Australia, Singapore, the UK and the US,” he said.

“The Digital Hub programme has been seen as a master cog, an initiative that also has a global aspect, as it is open to both local and foreign startups and entrepreneurs. With strong partnerships from the industry, the MDEC-initiated Digital Hub programme will be able to speed up startup growth as an important aspect of Malaysia’s Digital Economy,” he added.

“Sunway iLabs is delighted to have worked closely with MDEC and Fenox Venture Capital as the Malaysian Digital Hub partner of this first of its kind initiative in Malaysia. We see connecting Malaysian startups to the vast resources of Silicon Valley and other global markets as one of the key goals of Sunway iLabs as we believe it will bring substantial value to entrepreneurs. Combining the talent pool of digital savvy students in Sunway University with startups, venture capitalists and other ecosystem players in Sunway City will also contribute to achieving our vision to become a leading innovation hub in Asean,” Leeuwen said.

Dewati also shared that Fenox sees Malaysia as a burgeoning startup capital with the potential to produce world-class startups.

“Malaysia has been rapidly gaining attention as one of the most exciting start-up hubs in South-East Asia (SEA) with a robust startup ecosystem. There is a diversity of ideas and talents that would benefit from a connection to Silicon Valley. One of SEA’s unicorn, Grab, started out in Malaysia.

“We are pleased to have partnered with MDEC and Sunway iLabs, two prominent players in the startup ecosystem, to accelerate the growth of Malaysian startups and connect them to the global ecosystem,” she said.

Startup World Cup Malaysia 2018 is part of the Startup World Cup 2018, a global conference and pitch competition that brings together top startups, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and global tech CEOs.

Speakers at the Startup World Cup 2018 Grand Finale include eminent figures in the entrepreneurship community such as Netflix co-founder Marc Randolf, Tesla former CIO Jay Viyayan, Siri co-founder Adam Cheyer, CISCO former CEO and JCO Ventures founder and CEO John Chambers, Khosla Ventures founder Vinod Khosla and SV Angel founder Ron Conway.

Among the panel of judges at the grand finale are Y Combinator partner Geoff Ralston, Founder Institute’s founder Adeo Ressi, Plug and Play managing partner Alireza Masrour and Index Ventures’s principal Nina Achadjian.

startups , Runcloud , Silicon Valley