MaGIC launches accelerator program, backed by corporates, mentors and investors

MaGIC CEO Cheryl Yeoh at the launch of SEA's largest accelerator programme, MAP.

The Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC) officially launched its MaGIC Accelerator Program (MAP) today, the largest accelerator in Southeast Asia, with the support of various corporations, mentors and investors.

The government-funded accelerator programme will operate out of the MaGIC campus in Cyberjaya, offering a cohesive knowledge-sharing platform to selected entrepreneurs from all around Malaysia and the Asean countries.

Among the tools and resources that the selected participants get, are experienced entrepreneurs, global mentors, corporate partners, regional investors and like-minded peers.

MaGIC CEO Cheryl Yeoh said the agency was focused on building the local startup community and ecosystem in 2014, by investing in education for entrepreneurs on essential startup skills and exposing them to other markets and ecosystem in the region.

“This year, we expanded our programmes to cover Asean to grow more regionally-focused startups. MAP is designed to build and grow an Asean community of startups that have the opportunity to foster relationships and achieve a regional outlook, access regional resources and exchange knowledge with peers.

“The success of the programme will be evident when these entrepreneurs are able to grow their startup or social enterprise, and raise funding from private investors or sustain their businesses after demo day,” Yeoh said.

MaGIC has also negotiated for perks worth over $400,000 per startup from Google Developers Launchpad, Microsoft, Microsoft BizSpark, Evernote, Elance oDesk, Amazon Web Services, Piktochart, 123RF, Stock Unlimited, Billplz, Netizen Testing, Exabytes, Easyparcel, and SoftLayer for MAP participants, it was revealed today.

MAP consists of two parallel tracks, namely the Asean Startup track and the Social Enterprise (SE) track.

The Asean Track has a strong line of route to market partners such as Axiata, Tune Talk, Digi, Macrokiosk, Accenture, Maybank, Netccentric, Appota, Smart DevNet, BCARD, Cyberview, AIS Startup and YES for startups with a strategic fit.

The Asean track centers on building a critical mass of regionally-focused startups, to accelerate them to be investment-ready in four months, culminating with a Demo Day to potentially 500 local, regional and global investors, during the final month.

Among the investors for the programme are Khailee Ng, managing partner of 500 Startups; Erman Akinci, director of business development in Catcha Group; Aziz Hussein, CEO of Cradle Seed Ventures; Lim Kuo-Yi, partner at Monk’s Hill; Chok Kwee Bee, managing director of Teak Capital; Jamaludin Bujang, CEO of Mavcap and Tim Marbach, founder of Asian Venture Group.

MaGIC has garnered the commitment of over 70 mentors to the programme including, Jamaludin Bujang, CEO of Mavcap; Joel Neoh, founder of KFit; Azrul Rahim, lead developer of JomSocial; Reza Razali, founder of Terato; Vishen Lakhiani, founder and CEO of Mindvalley; Giulio Xiloyannis, managing director of Zalora; Jeffrey Paine, founding partner, Golden Gate Ventures; Cheryl Goh, group vice president of marketing, Grabtaxi and Do Tuan Anh, founder and CEO of Appota.

For the SE track, each social enterprise will receive a seed funding of MYR30,000 to pilot their ideas.

The list of mentors for the SE track includes, Mark Gilmour, head of global brand development, Virgin Group; Yap Mun Ching, executive director, Air Asia Foundation; Anwar Ali Jumabhoy, director of operations,Tune Hotels; Rahayu Ramli, education manager, Google; Zarida Jean, senior vice president, Ambank; Grace Sai, co-founder & CEO, Impact Hub Singapore; Julia Chong, CEO of the Truly Loving Company and, Samantha Morshed, founder & CEO, PebbleChild – Hathay Bunano.

The SE track Demo Day will be held in conjunction with ‘Destination: GOOD, Asean Social Enterprise in KL”, by AirAsia, MaGIC and Think City.

“MAP is heavily supported by mentors who are either qualified entrepreneurs or experts in their own areas. This reflects our partners’ belief in our mission and the value of the accelerator programme to grow the number of Asean-focused startups in Malaysia and within the region,” Yeoh said.

By attracting the best companies in the region, MaGIC hopes to attract even better companies and investors to Malaysia through this programme.

MAP is different from other accelerator programmes in the region in that no equity will be taken by MaGIC from the selected entrepreneurs.

The programme was developed to enable Asean startups to forge bonds with the local startups that will eventually benefit their regional businesses and to bring the country’s SE’s together.

Modeled after Startup Chile, the first intake or Cohort 1 will run from July 27 to November 28, 2015.

There are 77 startups selected for the Cohort 1 – 52 for the Asean track and 25 for the SE track.

Of over 1000 applications received by MaGIC, only 7 per cent of the applicants made it through to the final selection.

MaGIC noted that the startups were picked based on the potential of a highly scalable product targeting the Asean market, their readiness for early stage regional deal flows and

potential to expand into the regional and global markets.

Participants under the Asean track hail from Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, United States of America, Uruguay and Vietnam. The SE track, however, is opened to Malaysian startups only.

The programme is fully funded by the Malaysian government and operates out of the MaGIC Campus in Cyberjaya, Malaysia.

From 2016 on, MaGIC plans to have two intakes per year and the next round of applications is expected to open in December 2015.

Aside from MAP, MaGic has also partnered 500 Startups to launch Distro Dojo, a growth-stage accelerator to go live next month.

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