Pikom to give startups ‘wings' to soar

KUALA LUMPUR: The Association of the Computer and Multimedia Industry of Malaysia (Pikom) has launched an "angels network" in its bid to help promising young businesses reach great heights in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector.

Pikom chairman Wei Chuan Beng said that with the setting up of the Pikom Angel Chapter, the association hopes to accelerate innovation in this country by providing capital and industry wisdom to new and would-be technopreneurs.

"We hope that by 2020, our angel network will have invested and nurtured innovative opportunities, as well as helped create a pool of world-class companies that will have contributed RM10bil to the economy," he said at a media briefing on the sidelines of the Pikom annual dinner here.

An "angel investor" is an individual who provides capital for a startup, in exchange for ownership equity in the business. Pikom hopes to establish entrepreneurs from various fields — not just ICT — in its fold of angel investors.

Wei believes this will make for a better resource of business knowledge and advice. "We hope to get about 100 angel investors in our network, and we know this will be quite a feat because the number (of such investors in the country) isn't large," he said.

Another of Pikom's goals for its angels network is to have a group of investors who will pledge to collectively invest RM100mil for the development of innovative products and services.

Wei also pointed out that the angels network will help companies other than startups.

"We know of 10-year-old companies with great products that have yet to make a breakthrough. Our network of angels can offer capital and knowledge to help them move forward," he said.

The process to receive angel assistance is easy. "The companies only need to complete a three-page fact sheet and submit it to us for screening. Those that meet the necessary criteria will then be channeled directly to the angels," he said.

Asked whether the network is only for Pikom members, Wei said that it is open to everyone. However, he added, non-members may be encouraged to join the association in order to be privy to advice from its network of professionals.

Pikom is compiling a list of its angel investors. These individuals will be identified on Nov 26 at a reception and recognition ceremony. More details to follow.

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