And then there were five. Over the past few years, the founders of Proficeo Consultants Sdn Bhd, Renuka Sena and Dr V. Sivapalan, have formed a strong reputation of being among the top mentors in Malaysia’s startup ecosystem. Now, they have teamed up with three other entrepreneurs, Aaron Sarma, Andre Sequerah and Shan Tay Li to form the latest accelerator programme in the country, Scaleup Malaysia, which will fund 10 startups with each also receiving RM200,000 in return for some equity.
And in that name lies the difference between their programme and other accelerators in the country which tend to cater to early and ideation stage startups. Scaleup Malaysia’s focus is on early commercialisation stage startups.
Attempting to define this group, Sivapalan and Renuka describe companies that have already established “product-market fit” and are already earning revenue of at least US$ 71,000 (RM 300,000) and above and seem to be stuck in a tight revenue band over the past few years. “Many of them may have early customers but don’t have mass customers. That is the kind of stage company we want to come join our accelerator. We are confident with the team we have formed with Sarma, Tay Li and Andre, that we can help take these companies to the stage where they can reach their Series A funding,” explains Sivapalan.
This is the gap the Scaleup Malaysia team have seen in the ecosystem over the past few years. Where companies have come out of a programme that has helped them move beyond the idea or early startup stage to where they are generating revenue, but they lack the capabilities to make the right decisions or build the right platform to take them to the next level.
Sivapalan describes this as the “bigger need” which Scaleup Malaysia aims to address. Meanwhile Renuka is keen to emphasise that, “We have never been replicators. We have always wanted to help catalyse the ecosystem and we believe this will help.”