Malaysian Global Centre for Innovation and Creativity (MaGIC) has launched the first ASEAN-focused accelerator, the MaGIC Accelerator Programme (MAP), to grow a community of regionally-focused startups.
The accelerator was announced on Saturday at the 1Asean Entrepreneurs Summit (1AES) held in Kuala Lumpur.
MAP, inspired by the Startup Chile model, is open for application this April 1 and will be a bi-annual programme from next year on.
For this year, 75 startups will be taken in from July to November as the first four-month batch, with a preference for teams of up to three founders. 50 of the selected startups should be market- and for-profit- models while 25 will be social enterprises.
At this scale, MaGIC said it will be the largest accelerator programme for the region.
The 50 for-profit startups are placed in the ASEAN Startup Track and 40 per cent of the participants will come from ASEAN countries other than Malaysia; the 25 companies under the social enterprise track will consist of only Malaysian startups.
Startups applying must have at least a prototype or must have launched a product with some users or market validation. For the social enterprises, the focus is on ideation and prototype and the companies would have more “hand-holding”, as Digital News Asia reported.
MaGIC vice president of accelerator programmes Warren Leow noted that this was primarily because the ecosystem is not as mature as that of the tech ecosystem.
The selected startups also receive a RM30,000 ($8,120) grant each, which is milestone-dependent. MaGIC takes no stakes in any of the companies, nor will it fund them.
Investors and even the media will be invited to work out from the MaGIC office in Cyberjaya, where MAP will have an entire floor dedicated to itself.
MaGIC has also lined up a strong pool from Malaysia and other ASEAN countries.
“Not only have they built regional companies themselves, such as Patrick Grove of Catcha Group, Vishen Lakhiani of Mindvalley, or Mark Chang of JobStreet, but we have also gotten them to dedicate certain hours to MAP,” Leow said.
MaGIC CEO Cheryl Yeoh said MAP, backed with a strong lineup of mentors and programmes, would prepare founding teams for investment pitches. “If you come to our programme, instead of taking one year on your own, you will be more investment-ready after four months,” Yeoh said.
The four months culminates with the MAP Demo Day when the selected startups meet investors. “At the same time, it will be an excellent opportunity to get visibility and raise funding for the startups that participate,” Yeoh added.
Among the corporate sponsors for MAP are Axiata Group, Digi Telecommunications, Tune Talk, Accenture, Zaid Ibrahim & Co and Macrokiosk. The startups will benefit from access to venture philanthropists, impact investors, mentors, industry experts and training from experts around he world.