Venture builder AppShack Asia is planning to raise money for its future investments through the crowdfunding route. The platform – designed to bridge the gap between startups and potential investors – is applying to set up a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) in Singapore for the fundraising activity.
AppShack Asia offers Malaysian startups technical expertise, financial assistance, legal advice and mentorship. While it looks at startups in the mobile application development space, it is open to technopreneurs in other areas as well.
The company has raised MYR15 million ($3.73 million) from its four founders – Jin Tan, DK Tan, Andrew Tan and Nitin Gupta.
It has committed MYR1.5 million to four investee companies, cloud-based accounting software startup Biztory, sports games company Sportplay, food discovery platform Alakad and event management business Mini Tanks.
While it invests in startups and takes an equity stake in the investee companies, AppShack differentiates itself from venture capital firms in that it has in-house technical and marketing expertise to offer to its investee companies.
It offers selected startups seed funding, expert guidance, professional branding and marketing, network, technology, media and public relations expertise, creative team of designers and TV programme producers.
Malaysia’s Shark Tank
To profile and promote their investee companies, AppShack is working on its first season of reality show, in which selected startups will pitch their businesses to AppShack’s panel and stand a chance to seal an investment deal on the show itself.
“We will ask them to justify what they want to raise with the equity they are offering us, and we will negotiate with them on the show. We may invest or we may not, it is expected to be a little dramatic,” Andrew said.
The early-stage startups will be selected based on the feasibility of their business ideas, and may participate at ideation stage or even when they have already achieved profitability.
Jin clarified that the reality show is not a competition, but rather an avenue to market the startups.
“A lot of talent, in other industries like entertainment, are discovered through reality shows now. We believe this is one way for great startups to be discovered as well,” he said.
AppShack launched both its platform and its first episode of the reality show on Wednesday. The episode is available for viewing on its YouTube channel.
Upon finishing the production of the entire first season, the company has plans to sell the show to the media for airing.
Deputy Minister of Communications and Multimedia, Jailani Johari, who officiated AppShack’s launch, said the ministry believed in stimulating the growth of digital services to support the transition to a digital economy.