Technological innovation isn’t just limited by the advancement and creativity of the people in that geographical location. However, certain environments foster the innovative spirit in a much better way than others.
Places in the United States like Silicon Valley, Palo Alto, among others, encourage the act of taking risks and becoming an entrepreneur, and thus are very conducive to startups and innovation in general.
This attitude gives aspiring entrepreneurs the opportunity to make mistakes and to learn from them, and in return they get to produce really novel inventions and innovations that the rest of the world can then enjoy.
Given that the Malaysian tech scene is moving towards such a mindset on entrepreneurship, here are some of the cool and innovative trends we might see growing stronger roots in Malaysia in the near future.
1. High End Goods & Services Will Find An Avenue Online
Although Malaysian consumers are increasingly using credit and debit cards and online banking to shop for products online, they’re still a significant amount of hesitation when it comes to spending large amounts of money, mostly because of the fear of being defrauded.
Banking technology has since stepped up its security and things are much better now than before, however, you should still use your discretion when spending online.
While purchasing gadgets and other products online is quite common here, platforms that offer high-end goods are yet to make a mark.
Blue Nile, for example, is the world’s leading platform that sells diamonds online and they’re even publicly listed. Users within the United States are more open to making use of such a platform especially when they’re purchasing something as expensive as diamonds.
Zcova is a similar service in Malaysia that provides diamonds and gemstones of the best quality to consumers through an online platform. However, unlike Blue Nile, they provide a more hybrid service where they still maintain the conversational element of commerce, and they personally walk you through each step of the purchasing process.
Based on their customers’ needs and wants, they’ll provide them with the necessary options and advice them on the right diamond that they should purchase. The Malaysian startup then sources the diamonds from Belgium, India and Beirut through partnered companies and brokers, and haves them delivered to the customer through insured courier services.
The diamonds they offer are priced anywhere from RM10K to RM100K, and while spending so much online isn’t a norm yet, it’s a trend that will catch on in the future provided the market is properly educated on the dos and don’ts of this industry.
2. The Birth And Rise Of Art Commerce
Over the past two years, Malaysia’s art market has gone through a transition according to The Wall Street Journal, and art is now being increasingly sold through auction houses rather than directly to a handful of private collectors behind the scenes. And yet there aren’t many local startups that are addressing the needs, issues and challenges of Malaysia’s vibrant and diverse art industry.
Bloomberg recently featured a platform from the United States called Invaluable that’s working to change the grim attention that auction houses have been getting over the past couple of years. This platform displays upcoming lots from mostly low to middle end auction houses that either have a physical or online presence, and it allow users to bid on these lots through the platform.
Bloomberg also featured another digital startup called Verisart that’s working to chronicle original artworks, prints, multiples, and books by using block chain, in order to hopefully assign a certificate of authenticity to each object. Eventually, the founder would like to create a Verisart-authenticated database that’s also shoppable. They also mentioned that since 2013, a dozen online art companies, from galleries to an art financing firm, have raised at least $230M in total funding.
Such ideas only go to show the range of opportunities that are available for the tech entrepreneur who’s looking to disrupt the art scene in Malaysia.
3. The Influx Of Co-Working Spaces For Tinkers
Many startups tend to focus on developing and building software, but they keep their innovative efforts away from the realm of hardware. Their reasons for doing so could be due to the lack of relevant expertise, equipment, finances or interest.
Co-working spaces for tinkers like TechShop from the West, offer a solution to one of the issues by offering a workable space with plenty of tools from sewing machines, metal lathes to really expensive computer-controlled contraptions. People can use this space to build anything that tickles their fancies.
Many of the co-working spaces in and around the Klang Valley cater primarily to services-based startups rather than those that are involved in building and developing hardware.
However, upcoming community organizations like MAkerLAB are all contributing to instilling the culture of tinkering, building and creating cool hardware by organizing various events and workshops. MAkerLAB in essence provides a shared space with all the tools and equipment that you need to build a project, complete a prototype or to even create a gadget.
This is one particular trend from the West that we’ll definitely see picking up in the coming years, and it will keep Malaysian startups the ability to experiment with building cool stuff.
4. Re-Engineering End-To-End Services
Business Inspector writes, “Just think about this: Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, doesn’t own taxis. The world’s largest hotel network, Airbnb doesn’t own hotels. The world’s largest e-commerce retailer, AliExpress, doesn’t hold stock (but ships over 12 million packages per day.) The world’s biggest content network, Facebook, doesn’t produce any content.” And we can go on and on to describe the many changes that have been occurring within the consumer services industry.
Over the past 3 years, we’ve seen many Malaysian startups tackle different issues in various industries in much the same way, and they’re slowly working towards disrupting the traditional way of doing things.
Local startups like Grab offer Malaysians to hail either taxis or private drivers to come fetch them, KFit gives fitness enthusiasts the option to train at different gyms, BookDoc connects companies and consumers to a large network of doctors, ServisHero, Kaodim, and Recomn connect consumers to service providers, and the list goes on and on.
And this list isn’t going to complete just yet. In the coming months, we’re going to continue seeing different startups take on the challenges of completely revamping the way traditional services are offered and executed.
5. More Thorough Implementation On Big Data & A.I.
As startups and businesses continue to grow in complexity, the need to personalise the service to each individual consumer becomes much greater. And that’s where fields, like data mining, predictive analysis, machine learning and artificial intelligence can be of great help.
These fields equip startups with the ability to analyze large amounts of data and to both train and predict the way consumers are likely to react to your service. Startups like MyTeksi are renowned for their use of Big Data to ensure they tailor their services to meet the needs and wants of passengers.
They’re able to predict where there’s likely to be high demand, and they’re able to direct their drivers to such areas. Their GM, Jaygan Fu told Bloomberg Malaysia in an interview, “Without data, you’re just blind.”
This need to better serve consumers will inspire more startups to implement such technologies and to also work with existing players that do have such technical know-how.