On Malaysia’s National Day, 3 Wishes For The Local Startup Ecosystem


malaysia boleh

Today, Malaysia turns 57 years old, though Google believes otherwise, with their recent promotion celebrating the country’s 69th birthday.

Nevertheless, birthdays would not be complete without the wishes that come after the candles are blown. With that in mind, we’ve reached out to the local players to find out what their hopes and dreams are for Malaysia’s startup ecosystem in the coming year. Here are their top wishes:

  1. A stronger startup community

Every country desires to have their own Silicon Valley – a tech Mecca where everyone knows everyone. This is especially so for Malaysia, in which the startup ecosystem has been fragmented for years.

Muhundhan Kamarapullai, head of the Startup & Entrepreneurship Ecosystem (SEED) and Innovation Capital at Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC), believes that everyone has to play their part for this to happen:

“Collective efforts from everyone ensure a strong and mature ecosystem. My wish is to see the players in the ecosystem become more cohesive in their efforts to support entrepreneurs journey.”

StartupMamak’s founder Heislyc Loh concurs with this sentiment. His wish is that different communities will bring their respective strengths to the fold and give more, instead of always taking from the ecosystem.

An iconic coworking space might just be the thing that the local community needs to build cohesion. Kal Joffres, founder of Tandemic, thinks that spaces like Hubba Thailand and The Hub Singapore are fundamental in bringing people together in their respective countries, and he hopes to see a similarly great space emerge in Malaysia. “These are more than physical spaces. They have brought the community layer in, and that has really changed things in their [Thailand and Singapore] ecosystems,” he says.

  1. More adoption of local technology

What is a startup scene without its technology? Aaron Gill, head of product strategy at GrabTaxi, believes that Malaysia can become a formidable tech hub because “Southeast Asia is a mini China, North America, and Europe with its 600 million people”.

His wish, however, can only come true if local companies first start to adopt and support local startup technology – at least that’s what Imran Sulaiman, program director at Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC), hopes for.

  1. More startup success stories

Many great entrepreneur journeys were started with a spark of inspiration, and one of the wellsprings of motivation are the stories of those who have gone before and succeeded.

With this in mind, Lais de Oliveira, community architect at Startup Grind, wishes to see more successful startups making it further up the ladder, whether it be exiting, getting more funds, or expanding further into the region. “A lot of things lead to that – a strong community, growth-oriented mindset, and more education for the founders. But the ultimate goal is to see startup success,” she adds.

More success stories would not only attract the attention of other entrepreneurs-to-be, but also VCs and angel investors as well. Kelvin Leow, co-founder and CTO of Wedding.com.my, has seen many great teams and ideas flounder over the years, unable to take off as well as they would have been in neighboring countries due to the lack of support. His wish is that the startup scene would receive more international attention in due course.