[This is a sponsored article with Cyberview.]
Many would consider Cyberjaya to be Malaysia’s most technologically advanced city and home to countless tech startups.
More than just a city, it’s proven itself to be an innovative hub where things get done, if the sheer number of startups who’ve credited Cyberjaya’s space as a pilot testbed for their offerings is anything to go by.
One of the annual programmes held by the city’s developer itself, Cyberview, is the Cyberview Living Lab Accelerator (CLLA).
It was launched 7 years ago to evolve startups to the next level, and since then, 75 startups have completed the programme and gone on to become full-fledged commercial companies.
Some notable names of its graduates include fintech startup MoneyMatch and lorry rental startup TheLorry, for example. The 5 startups in Cohort 14, their most recent one, are still undergoing CLLA, and at this point in the programme, we wanted to know what they’ve gained from it so far.
The 5 founders we spoke to included:
- Arief Imran, Group CEO and founder of SERV, an app aiding in vehicle ownership and maintenance
- Nur Atiqah, CEO and co-founder of Creative Sandbox, a creative digital academy for kids
- Stephen Lim, Chief Strategy Officer and co-founder of NEXPlatform, a property datatech solutions startup
- Yinxie Chew, CEO and co-founder of Internspoon, an internship platform matching interns to employers
- Zafri Baharuddin, founder of ITXOTIC, a tech startup specialising in automated data analysis and inspection solutions
Polishing Their Pitching Skills
While it is perhaps one of the most important skills to have as a startup founder, pitching isn’t an easy task that comes naturally for many.
Over at CLLA, they know this. Therefore, every startup that goes through the programme emerges with polished pitching skills.
Just ask NEXPlatform, who learnt how to create a compelling elevator pitch that could articulate their ideas and solutions to audiences and clients within 4 minutes.
It was the same for Nur Atiqah of Creative Sandbox, who described herself as “not the most extroverted person out there to begin with”, which made it a challenge for them to present their startup.
“In CLLA, being able to comfortably pitch on the spot is one of the requirements to graduate from the programme,” she added, and she hopes to master this skill with flying colours.
Mentors From A Variety Of Industries
Of course, polishing one’s skills doesn’t come without some sort of guidance, and at CLLA, mentors play a huge role in terms of coaching and guidance.
“We have met mentors from branding, marketing, legal, and funding, to name a few,” Zafri of ITXOTIC shared.
Yinxie of Internspoon added, “Our mentors range from those with VC background, serial entrepreneurs, representatives from government agencies and from the corporates, giving us an opportunity to exchange ideas and knowledge.”
These mentors then conducted activities organised by CLLA, ranging from how to manage financials, branding, and marketing to fundamentals such as people management in a team.
Networking Beyond Startups
Aside from just networking amongst other startups, CLLA has presented these startups with the opportunity to connect with government bodies.
“It’s opened up channels with city councils and access to government bodies that are responsible for smart city type solutions, particularly those related to video surveillance and AI,” Zafri shared.
Since joining CLLA, ITXOTIC has discovered several opportunities to utilise their AI solution in the legacy security system for Cyberview.
“This potentially makes it a novel smart city surveillance system with real-time detection and alerts for suspicious activities, face masks, vehicles coming into the compound, etc.,” he added. With this, they will be provided with insights into ways to enhance security systems across Malaysia.
Increase Of Market Access
“While CLLA on its own has contributed most of the guidance and support we need, the market access opportunities by Cyberview has put us on the map through strategic partnerships and collaboration,” Nur Atiqah shared.
“For instance, we are proud to be a partner under the Digital Maker Hub, a movement led by MDEC to transform Malaysian youth from digital users to producers.”
Further leveraging on the increased followings from this access, Creative Sandbox’s latest service, CSBox, which is a safe platform for children to create, share, communicate, and collaborate, is almost complete and ready for launch soon.
As for NEXPlatform, Stephen shared that they’ve been connected to several property developers in Cyberjaya already. “We managed to showcase our sales automation solution to several interested potential clients,” he added.
For SERV, Arief shared that CLLA definitely checked the boxes on their wish lists, especially regarding expanding their pool of potential clients. “Throughout the duration, we have also gained better tractions in terms of customer acquisition,” he stated.
Identifying the right target market and pitching to potential clients were Internspoon’s biggest challenges, and the CLLA had swooped in to guide them on this.
“They even go the extra mile by organising separate one-on-one sessions to ensure that we can benefit to the fullest,” Yinxie described the efforts of the CLLA team.
Uncovering Hidden Opportunities During The Pandemic
In an example of how CLLA helped a startup discover a new way of scaling up, Creative Sandbox shared that they quickly extended their services into conducting virtual classes.
“The hidden advantage we have discovered is that we could replicate and scale our business by hiring more trainers who could remotely conduct virtual classes from the comfort of their own homes,” Nur Atiqah said.
“This is even more beneficial from the job creation perspective.”
Tips To Surviving CLLA
Nur Atiqah shared that it is best to clearly produce a solid MVP for your case, if you wish to join the CLLA. “This will accelerate your progress in the CLLA so your entire journey in the programme will be more worthwhile.”
Being open to receiving and accepting mentorship was Stephen of NEXPlatform’s advice for us. “The advice could help you grow and sustain your business, even if you need to pivot your startup or change your business model.”
Confidence is key, but Arief of SERV shared some wise tips: “Build a solution that matters. Even if you have the right market fit, the right product or services, keep going back to your ‘canvas’ and reassess it.”
“Identify if you’re too focused on one thing or have spread yourself too thin. Strike the right balance between the two. And I can’t emphasise this more, but always listen to your customers’ feedback.”
- To find out more about the Cyberview Living Lab Accelerator, click here.
- Read up what we’ve written about Cyberview in the past here.
Featured Image Credit: Creative Sandbox, Internspoon, ITXOTIC, NEXPlatform, SERV