With over a collective population of 600 million people, the ASEAN community is the 3rd largest market and the 5th largest economy in the world. Given the sheer size of the economy, the ASEAN community is home to numerous entrepreneurs, startup founders and other like-minded people that have a keen interest in capitalising on the opportunities presented by this economy.
The Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC), a government-funded initiative will be running their accelerator program for the second time, in order to better equip key startups and their passionate founders within the region, and to also help them capitalise on ASEAN’s growth story.
The main aim of this accelerator program is to create a critical mass of 50 high-growth startups in Malaysia that will be investment ready within 4 months and to build a strong ASEAN startup community by cultivating ASEAN relationships. This initiative will be conducted by MaGIC twice a year for a period of 4 months each to achieve its said goal.
The program will equip startups with the right knowledge and the key partnerships that will enable them to scale quickly within the ASEAN region. MaGIC is currently accepting applicants for the second cohort of their accelerator program that will be held in May 2016 from the 4th to 31st of January 2016. The program is open to all nationalities and each cohort will consist of 30 Malaysian and 20 foreign startups.
The first batch of MAP was held last year and notable startups like BloomThis, Door2Door Doctor, Skolafund, among others came out of the program learning key lessons and by building pivotal partnerships.
The application and selection process of the startups for the MAP ASEAN Startup Track is a very stringent one. For Cohort 1 of the MAP ASEAN and SE (Social Enterprise) Track, the acceptance rate from the total pool of applicants was at only 7% (77 startups selected from 1000 applications). So what is there to know about the process and how do you increase your chances of getting selected for the MAP ASEAN Startup Track? Here’s the information you need.
The Application Process
As of the 12th of January 2016, which is about one week since applications have opened, MaGIC has received over 300 applications from 27 countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia, US, Singapore, India, Pakistan, and Myanmar, with the majority of them coming from Malaysia. Interested startups can apply for this accelerator program through MaGIC’s Accelerator Tracking and Application System, otherwise known as ATAS.
The program is open to people of all nationalities and there are no application fees or program fees. As long as the participants are prepared to move to Malaysia for the duration of the program, they are welcomed to apply.
Do note, however, that if the team of a startup is accepted, they will need to purchase their own flight ticket to Malaysia and MaGIC will reimburse the cost of the round trip ticket up to a maximum of RM1000 per participant. MaGIC will also provide assistance to apply for a 6-month Professional Visit Pass for participants who are not Malaysian and require a visa.
The draft of each application can be saved and edited as many times as possible up until the final submission on the 31st of January 2016. Upon submission, the MaGIC team will check it for completeness and relevance. If startups submit their application early on, they can even get MaGIC’s administration to browse through the draft and pick up on any possible mistakes.
The Selection Process
The selection process for Cohort 02 will officially begin in February and it will be comprised of two main stages.
1. First Stage: Shortlisting Based On Eligibility
The committee members from MaGIC and MAP external partners like Microsoft, Google, Agensi Inovasi Malaysia, MDeC, etc., will go through the submitted applications. The committee will evaluate the applications based on two criteria.
- Team: Has between 1 to 3 co-founders (or at least 1 founder and up to 2 employees), all of them are above 18 years old, can attend the program full-time.
- Startup: Has validated their ideas or launched a product/prototype and has experienced some level of traction, has potential to scale in the region.
In essence, the ideal startup would be less than 3 years old that’s focusing on the ASEAN market. For startups that do not have a product completed yet, MaGIC encourages them to apply for the Cohort 3 intake in August instead which will begin applications in April 2016.
After that, eligible startups will be recommended for the selection stage.
2. Second Stage: Selection
The CEO of MaGIC, the committee and the investment community representatives (MAVCAP, CRADLE, Segnel Ventures, Teak Capital, etc.,) will listen to a 5-minute pitch from the eligible startups. Special arrangements will be made for applicants who are not based in Malaysia (or unable to attend in person) to pitch via video conference.
The committee will then score the startup based on:
- Team: Right mix of skills and experience, notable achievements, commitment, etc.
- Product: Customer base/traction, product market fit, innovation value, etc.
- Market: Potential to scale in ASEAN, competitive advantages, market size, etc.
The top 50 startups will be selection for admission into the program and the committee will ensure that 60% of them are Malaysian and 40% of them are foreign startups.
Successful MAP applicants will be notified of the status of their applications in March and visa applications will be initiated for foreign participants.
The Program Requirements
If you’re a startup founder that’s interested in applying for this accelerator program, you should note that selected startups are required to commit to the program on a full-time basis for the entire period of 4 months. This means that it wouldn’t suit founders who are working on their startup part-time or as freelancers.
Selected startups will be required to attend and participate in some core classes, workshops, events and discussions, however the curriculum will be flexible enough to allow startups to continue their efforts for building their business.
As part of the program, startups will also be required to participate in social impact activities such as helping out early stage social enterprises or conducting entrepreneurship-related outreach activities within Malaysia.
Startups that are looking for sources of funding can also use this opportunity as a platform to reach out to key local, regional and global investors. MaGIC also has key investors committed to the accelerator program that will work as program mentors throughout the course of the 4 months and at the end of it all, qualified startups will be handpicked to pitch to key investors during Demo Day.
Essentially, the end goal is to enable startups to achieve their milestones, work on their growth and to build key relationships while doing so.
If you think that your startup has what it takes to thrive in the local startup community and you are willing to take a chance to growth hack your startup with the ASEAN Track of MaGIC’s Accelerator Program, submit your application here.