By Digital News Asia – 15 April 2021
The show must go on and neither pandemic nor Movement Control Order restrictions could keep ScaleUp Malaysia from putting in the work to conduct its final Investment Committee Pitch Session and selection to pick its inaugural Top 10 companies for its first cohort.
ScaleUp Malaysia, which launched cohort 1 with 20 companies in December 2019 will now give each of these 10 an investment of RM200,000 (US$46,400) to grow and scale their business further with a focus on regional and global expansion.
“It was a really hard decision to make given, the circumstances, but our team firmly believed that moving forward was the right thing to do so that we could give these fantastic founders a boost during this very difficult economic period,” notes Aaron Sarma, General Partner of ScaleUp Malaysia. “In the end, we were pleasantly surprised with the quality of the presentations even though the entire pitch session was done virtually.”
According to Aaron, ScaleUp Malaysia has been working with these companies for the last four months and is proud of the progress every one of them has made during this period. “The final decision was not easy but ultimately our investment committee selected companies with teams and products that were best positioned to scale into large markets.”
The selected 10 Companies in ScaleUp Malaysia Cohort 1 are as follows. The average age of the founders is 36 years old with the youngest founder being 31 and oldest being in their mid-40s.
ATX, a pioneering digital payments service provider with 8 years of track record that provides a solution to help micro SMEs participate in the digital economy.
AutoCraver, a cloud-based end to end management software called “Turbo” for car dealers to automate processes and facilitate car sales.
Batik Boutique, a premier Malaysian gift brand with an artisanal story that creates social impact by empowering the B40 segment through education, training and job creation.
GOLOG, an on demand cold chain logistics platform that uses data and machine learning to digitise the traditional supply chain.
Iimmpact, an out-of -the-box technology solution that enables digital payments to over 100 billers inclusive of mobile top-ups, utility bills, entertainment portals, local councils and many more.
Kwikcar, a peer-to-peer car sharing platform that aims to change the future of mobility and car ownership.
AOne, an educational platform for learning centres to manage their classes, teachers and students through scheduling, fee collection and process automation.
BiiB, a community platform that creates gamified virtual events for runners and transforms running into a team sport.
Agiliux, a cloud based core insurance platform with extensive policy and claims management capabilities.
Tripcarte, a travel technology company that provides a distribution platform for travel activity and attraction tickets.
In the case of ATX, Aaron says they felt it was important to highlight the company’s 8-year track record to reflect the effort and time the owners have put in to develop the business. “We believe this is a strategic foundation to grow especially as SMEs adopt digital solutions,” adds Aaron.
On average however, the companies in the cohort are about 3 years old.
Meanwhile Tripcarte’s selection into the Top 10 is particularly noteworthy as Aaron himself comes from the vertical and knows how tough it can be to gain traction. As he explains it, the business involves a “slap on” B2B platform for tours and attraction operators. A core feature is a single QR code solution for any merchant that allows for easy cancellation and ticket modification by the operators. “They’ve shown great traction with their partners and we think they are primed for growth as more and more operators see the need to adopt technology,” says Aaron.
ScaleUp Malaysia highlights that their involvement with these companies doesn’t end here. The team will continue working with these companies to build sizable high growth profitable “Pegasus” businesses and attract follow-on investments from investors.
All companies have their own technology and/or operational IP with more than half generating more than RM1 million in 2019. “The companies have also shown tremendous growth prior to the COVID-19 slowdown. We believe that they are well positioned to take off as the economy recovers,” states Aaron.