JAYA PETAL: Malaysia is enhancing its potential to produce more unicorns through 100 Soonicorns, a program that aims to support the country’s aspiration to create five unicorns by 2025.
A unicorn is a new privately owned company worth over US$1 billion (RM4.7 billion), while a soon-to-be unicorn is a unicorn in the making.
The 100 Soonicorns ecosystem is designed to groom local startups with the potential to become Malaysia’s next unicorns, following Carsome Group.
The program was launched by ScaleUp Accelerator Sdn Bhd and Proficeo Consultants Sdn Bhd in a public-private partnership with Penjana Kapital Sdn Bhd and Malaysia Digital Economy Corp Sdn Bhd (MDEC).
Proficeo Chief Evangelist Dr. Sivapalan Vivekarajah shared that the program will act as a growth catalyst for high-potential late-stage startups that will stimulate the economic growth of the country.
The program will also provide access to local and global investors who are interested in investing in some of the best companies in Malaysia.
“The program will highlight these startups as the most promising companies in Malaysia, putting them in the spotlight of global investors,” Sivapalan said at today’s launch.
ScaleUp Malaysia Managing Partner Andre Sequerah said the Malaysian business landscape, with over 2,500 active startups, is vibrant and has huge potential to build disruptive businesses that are resilient, sustainable and poised to be the country’s unicorns. of tomorrow
“The margin between success and failure is narrow, and without peer guidance and support, new businesses stagnate or deteriorate over time. The program will help fuel these startups as they rise to the top,” he said.
Penjana Kapital CEO Taufiq Iskandar commented: “We have always believed that developing an ecosystem requires more than just financial capital. 100 Soonicorns is an initiative that provides the right stimulus to help emerging entrepreneurs maximize their potential.”
Meanwhile, MDEC CEO Mahadhir Aziz said he is committed to the national goal of creating five Unicorns by 2025 and the launch of the Malaysia Digital (MD) initiative will catalyze this effort.
“MD seeks to increase the overall value of the ecosystem, providing specific assistance and resources that the Soonicorns need, in their final push towards Unicorn status,” he said.
To be invited as participants, startups, usually technology-based, must have raised at least US$1 million from a venture capital firm or institutional investor; or have generated $2 million in revenue in the last 12 months.
With 16 startup CEOs in each cohort, two cohorts of the 12-month program will start simultaneously in the first quarter of 2023. By the end of 2023, it will have run six cohorts, supporting 100 CEOs.
In the first phase, the team will identify the top 100 Malaysian startups with the propensity to become unicorns.
The startups will then be nurtured through a founders supporting founders curriculum that includes structured problem-solving, capacity-building sessions, networking, and like-minded peer support, in the second phase.
Ultimately, 20 startups out of the 100 will be selected to receive personalized learning, mentorship, regulatory assistance, and funding from investors, government agencies, and other ecosystem players.