- The Khazanah Nasional Entrepreneurship Outreach Programme (KNEO) concluded yesterday,where 86 startups from around Malaysia took part in 28 weeks of intense bootcamping and training.
- Eventually, the 86 startups were narrowed down to a final shortlist of 30 overseen by accelerators, 1337 Ventures, CodeAr.my, and WatchTower and Friends.
- Yesterday, the programme held its demo day where 12 finalists out of the remaining 30 were given the opportunity to pitch their ideas on stage for the chance to receive further mobilisation funding.
Over a 28 week period beginning last October, 86 Malaysian startups from around various industries were admitted to the first ever Khazanah Nasional Entrepreneurship Outreach Programme (KNEO), an new initiative by Khazanah Nasional Berhad launched last year to unearth and nurture fresh entrepreneurial talent locally.
Going through multiple phases, the KNEO programme put entrants through an intense period of entrepreneurial bootcamping and eventually saw the number of participating startups reduce to a shortlist of 30.
These remaining startups were then equally split under the watchful tutelage of three different local accelerators, namely 1337 Ventures, CodeAr.my, and WatchTower and Friends (WTF), where they were each given RM20,000 in mobilisation funding and a further 12 weeks of acceleration.
Explaining the decision to work closely with these three accelerators, Tengku Dato’ Sri Azmil Zahruddin, the Deputy Managing Director of Khazanah said that while Khazanah Nasional had plenty experience investing in mature and publicly listed companies, their expertise was limited when it came to running a programme for startups.
“While we thought that we get it done reasonably well, we thought we could do even better by working with people who have more experience in this space,” he said. “And so we decided to work with three accelerators taking care of 30 finalists.”
All this eventually culminated in a demo day that took place yesterday, where 12 out of the 30 remaining startups (four chosen by each accelerator) were given the chance to pitch their ideas on stage to a 300-strong live audience and a panel of judges from various partner institutions for the chance to win a further RM30,000 in funding.
Here are the three startups that won:
1. Homegrown Farms (under 1337 Ventures)
Homegrown Farms is a manufacturer and supplier of aquaponic agricultural solutions that hopes to make the availability of fresh organic vegetables easy and affordable for those living in the Klang Valley.
Currently, they offer a weekly vegetable bag delivery service at priced at RM50 to households, and have also developed a balcony aquaponics system targeted towards everyday consumers that is space-efficient and easy to use. They are also focused on propagating their aquaponics systems on rooftops of commercial buildings around the Klang Valley to avoid relying on landed farm patches.
They will continue to seek funding in the region of RM1 million in order to increase manufacturing output of their balcony units and begin the development of more rooftop farms in buildings around the Klang Valley.
2. Jom Paw (under WatchTower and Friends)
Jom Paw is an online platform that connects pet owners with pet-related service providers such as pet-boarding, grooming, and even pet taxi services.
Their platform offers a reliable and safe service that will require service providers to be vetted before being accepted on their platform, and will also ensure the safety of all pets by using health checks and ensuring the pet owners and service providers are acquainted prior to any agreement of services.
Jom Paw are also currently seeking funding in the region of RM500,000 to ready their platform for scaling and improve their customer service and pet-sitter services team.
Read more about Jom Paw in our previous article.
3. SolviePro (under CodeAr.my)
SolviePro is a job-hunting platform aimed at rural Malaysians that allows for flexible working hours, on demand job opportunities, and upscaling features for workers.
Through their platform, rural Malaysians seeking part-time or full-time job opportunities can use the platform to connect with employers (including major names such as Aeon and Giant), be assured of fair working conditions, and get the opportunity to level up their profiles through employer validation.
In turn businesses can use SolviePro to reach a database of validated job-seekers and employ as needed in a timely fashion.
They are currently seeking RM150,000 to expand their operations in Kuantan and Batu Pahat within the next 18 months.
Although they did not secure the final top three spot, the other nine businesses pitching included:
- Pod: An online social-centric platform to help young individuals save money for future goals such as investments and travel.
- TrackerHero: A platform to help businesses seamlessly manage their security workforce. Learn more about TrackerHero in our recent coverage of their platform.
- FinC: A financial online “gym” that assesses the financial health of users and prescribes them training programmes to help them improve their financial knowledge and planning.
- Foodbike: A mobile food vendor that focuses on helping the disabled find work and make a living. Read more about Foodbike in our previous coverage.
- Serdang Cendol: A new F&B chain focused on healthier versions of cendol that started off as a student project in University Putra Malaysia (UPM).
- BESC: An energy-saving consortium that wants to help with climate change by leveraging on blockchain technology and crowdfunding.
- Placento: A service to help Malay Muslim couples in Malaysia properly dispose of placentas after the birthing process.
- Zara Aisyah Care Centre: A healthcare platform focused towards the Malaysian elderly with their personnel holding certified medical accreditation.
- Bereev: A legacy planning platform that helps Malaysians plan for what comes after their passing and ease the burden on their family members. Read more about Bereev in our feature piece here.
Congratulating all participants on successfully completing the programme, Azmil said, “We saw a great diversity of ideas, as well as passion and commitment to succeed throughout the KNEO programme.”
“The participants are a testimony to the entrepreneurial drive and talent that Malaysia possesses, and this bodes well for the future.”
He added, “We hope that the KNEO programme has helped to unearth Malaysian talent who will ultimately contribute towards the continuing progress and development of the country.”
Moving forward, Khazanah Nasional’s new focus on helping local startups grow will result in more incarnations of the KNEO programme.
“Now that we’ve completed the first KNEO programme, we will take stock and see what we could have done better and use those learnings in future programmes. We plan to organise a KNEO programme at least once every year, and hopefully the next one will be even better than the one we’ve just concluded.”
- To know more about KNEO and how it works, visit their website.