KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian on-demand delivery startup Zoom emerged the region’s best and walked away with the coveted Startup of the Year award at the Asean Rice Bowl Startup Awards on Wednesday.
Organised by the New Entrepreneurship Foundation (myNEF), the awards reward innovation and excellence in outstanding Southeast Asian startups.
“This award is for all of us here, us startups in South East Asia. Hopefully, what we do today will lead us to a global level, and let us be recognised that we will be one the biggest startups out of the Asean region as well,” said Zoom chief operations officer Sean Lee.
Zoom chief executive officer Jeevan Kumar added that when Zoom was founded in Jan 2016, the idea was to give back job opportunities to the Malaysian market and to make the local dispatch scene more professional.
Most of their staff are local graduates.
“We are trying to disrupt the delivery market,” he said, adding that the win came just shy of their second year of operations.
The other Malaysian winners are Glueck Technologies in the Best DeepTech, Artificial Intelligence and Big Data category; The Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC) for the Best Accelerator Program; Zoom in the People’s Choice category; and Build Easy in the Best Newcomer category.
The award ceremony which took place at the KL Convention Centre here was held in conjunction with the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GEC).
The third edition of the annual competition received just under 2,000 nominations from startups across the 10 Asean countries.
The Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Brunei saw one winner from each country, while Singapore and Indonesia had two winners each.
Meanwhile, myNEF chief executive officer and awards chairman Lilyana Latiff said that the Rice Bowl Startup Awards will grow beyond the competition framework in 2018 with the launch of Rice Bowl Republic.
She said that the platform will allow them to actively serve, track and monitor startups and founders across South-East Asia and match founders to mentors as well as interested investors to startups and facilitate knowledge sharing.
“It will allow us to attract talent to these new startups, and most importantly, connect the dots towards market access and business opportunities, in the form of startup exchange programmes. And we want to be doing this all year round,” she added.
Among the guests of honour present were Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah, Brunei High Commissioner to Malaysia Datuk Paduka Alaihuddin Mohd Taha and Higher Education Ministry secretary-general Tan Sri Dr Noorul Ainur Mohd Nur.