The Star Accelerator Fund offers RM20mil to support homegrown technology


By SUSANNA KHOO bytz@thestar.com.my

PETALING JAYA: Star Publications (M) Bhd has launched a RM20mil fund to assist local technopreneurs in the development of ideas and product commercialisation.

The Star Accelerator Fund is offered in two forms: The pre-seed fund provides each applicant with up to RM300,000 while the seed fund offers support of up to RM1mil per applicant. The decision on which fund to apply for is determined by the stage of development of the applicant’s business.

“We really want to grow the digital businesses in this country,” said Datuk Vincent Lee, Star Publications (M) Bhd executive deputy chairman. “If the response is good, we’re going to double this amount (to RM40mil).”

Unlike a grant, the fund represents a long term partnership as Star Publications will acquire an equity stake of up to 20% in the start-up company.

“The equity shows our commitment to a start-up company to ensure its ideas can be nurtured into a viable and sustainable business. In this context, we are actually supporting what the ETP (Economic Transformation Programme) is all about,” said Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, MCA president and initiator for the fund, at the launch in Menara Star.

In order to be eligible for the fund, the startup company must have been founded by a Malaysian aged 21 years and above. To qualify for pre-seed funding, the applicant must have a minimum issued and paid-up capital of RM2,000 whereas for seed funding, the applicant must have issued a paid-up capital of RM10,000.

Technopreneurs who were present at the launch said they were encouraged by the fund and welcomed all forms of financial assistance.

“Backed by The Star’s vast media resources, I am sure that any startup’s products or ideas will be commercially successful,” Tham Chin Seng, research and development manager of Agmo Studio Sdn Bhd said.

“For instance, when The Star published a story about our latest mobile application, we received at least five calls and e-mail messages a day from people who wanted to know more about it.”

Meanwhile, others who attended the launch said they would need to talk to their current investors first before applying for the fund, as Star Publications will acquire an equity share in their respective companies upon successful application.

For more information about The Star Accelerator Fund, visit www.accelerator.my.

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