[This is a sponsored article with Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd.]
Though Klang Valley may be home to the biggest startup hub in Malaysia, not every startup with a great idea or solution necessarily emerges from it.
At MYHackathon 2020 organised by Cradle Fund, we saw proof of this. Briefly, MYHackathon is an initiative under the Pelan Jana Semula Ekonomi Negara (PENJANA) with a goal to tackle national challenges in serving citizens.
Under it, startups will pitch their ideas and the winners’ solutions will aid in improving the efficiency of our government services.
Here we’ll be highlighting 5 winners who hail from outside the Klang Valley, showing that they’ve got what it takes to impress the big guns.
Digitalising company secretary services
Corporate governance can be a headache—just ask any business owner. Not understanding how to do it properly can lead to inefficiencies, wasted resources, or even trouble with authorities.
To that end, Penang-based Boss Boleh believes a company secretary could be a solution. But choosing the right one is another headache.
“95% of company secretaries are non-transparent in pricing, [with] hidden costs when you receive invoices, [and] surprise charges at the end of the year,” co-founder Lee Jung Ren said.
Thus, the team drew from their years of experience in this space to come up with their solution. They’ve built up a database of documents, and partnered with trusted technology providers for digital signatures and e-Know Your Customer (eKYC) to streamline digital processes for companies.
Within 1 year of launch, it’s gotten more than 150 users and is poised to grow further with MYHackathon.
There, the team learnt how to pitch effectively, got guidance in working with government agencies, and experienced first-hand how they could aid in the Malaysian government’s digitalisation efforts.
Moving forward, they plan to adopt artificial intelligence (AI) pairing features on their business-to-business-to-consumer (B2B2C) cloud platform.
Improving career growth training
eLancar is a data analytics platform from Kota Kinabalu that aims to help the government more efficiently upskill the nation directly through customised training and improving its agencies’ internal processes.
During our interview, Director Charlie Teh highlighted an interesting point. Growing up, we’re taught that a good education is important to secure a stable job and improve the nation’s economy.
Yet there exists an increasing gap in terms of career education, he noted. The pandemic has now worsened many people’s prospects too, making eLancar’s solution all the more crucial.
The platform has now provided 10,000 hours of training for career growth as well as tailored career paths for its users.
It’s also given 30 million Malaysians the opportunity to attend courses from the top 1% of universities including Harvard, Stanford, Oxford, and more, for free, Charlie added.
These milestones were achieved with the help of MYHackathon’s financial backing via a conditional grant under Cradle Fund, which helped kickstart the business.
Following that, eLancar will utilise the industry mentoring and network exposure it got from the programme to continue deploying its solutions to the public, driving Malaysia towards a high income future.
Advancing Malaysian road maintenance
Sarawak’s vast land is home to a road network that’s challenging to monitor, let alone maintain when any damages occur.
Typically, the process is still manual, with authorities driving around slowly and taking down notes of damages and their location.
Unable to idly sit and do nothing about his hometown’s struggles, Dr. Chai Kok Chin and his team at NEUON AI, an AI solutions company, created RoadPlus.
With it, they’ve taught the AI to detect road damages automatically and then classify them. To add, RoadPlus can also work offline, which means areas without connectivity aren’t an issue either.
All the collected data is then stored in the cloud, able to be easily shared and accessed by the necessary parties. In essence, RoadPlus is a cost-effective solution that’s able to speed up processes, allowing potholes to be detected, tracked, and fixed within 24 hours.
At MYHackathon, NEUON AI was connected to the right agencies, allowing RoadPlus to become a fixture in Public Works Department (JKR) Sarawak’s operations. It also got seed funding for its project’s capital expenditure (CapEx) and operational expenditure (OpEx).
Looking towards the future of RoadPlus, Dr. Chai aims to serve the rest of Sarawak’s road network then expand to the rest of the nation. More than that, his team is also working to have RoadPlus include more road asset management services.
Providing disabled communities with learning opportunities
Noticing that hearing impaired children didn’t have the same access to proper Islamic education the same way their able-bodied peers did, Ruzimi Mohamed knew he had to do something about it.
So, he founded Ozel and created iskanDAR, a series of interactive books and an app based on basic Islamic learning. These tools mean that disabled children can study with the help of augmented reality (AR).
The Johor-founded solution today has seen 62 user downloads within 3 months of launching its app, and its user base includes learners from Malaysia, Germany, Kuwait, India, and Iraq.
But this milestone would have been much harder to achieve without the help of MYHackathon, where Cradle Fund supplied financing that enabled Ozel to hire programmers, animators, buy equipment, and more.
With its current progress, Ozel plans to continue creating educational content on all kinds of Islamic topics and enhance its existing modules.
In the long term, Ruzimi envisions building a virtual international school for the hearing impaired community to provide a global education that’s accessible to all.
Making technical learning fun and interactive
At Penang-based ThinkersLab, the goal is to teach Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) through interactive learning.
This is important to Dr Mohammad Khairul because he noticed that existing teaching methods for the above subjects are typically too difficult to learn. Workshops or additional classes are usually also needed to properly understand them.
But what if an app could solve this problem? Introducing Mat Metro, which aims to do just that in a virtual manner, utilising AR and virtual reality (VR).
Mat Metro enables users to do workshop-like learning without having to pay extra, while providing the younger generation that’s interested in gadgets with interactive learning.
MYHackathon’s role in this project was helping ThinkersLab with its branding so it could gain credibility in getting cooperation from other organisations, and providing mentors and funds.
Now that the project has ended, ThinkersLab is working on an advanced solution using more sophisticated tools at their own expense.
One such example is developing Mat Metro to be compatible with Oculus Quest, a VR headset. Besides that, Dr Mohammad wants to partner with more institutions to drive adoption of the app.
A continuous creation of resilient startups
With MYHackathon 2020 wrapped up, Cradle Fund is already prepared to host MYHackathon 2022.
The goals remain the same: to build and channel high potential startups into the national ecosystem, strengthen public partnerships, and support the overall national STI agenda.
After all, it’s been entrusted with the important role of restoring the economic resilience of startups so they can contribute to the development of Malaysia.
In a way, the above 5 startups have shown that even with less developed startup ecosystems in their respective states, they can remain resilient and rise to the challenge with the support of Cradle Fund.
Now here’s to hoping we’ll see even more winning startups out of Klang Valley at MYHackathon 2022.
- For more information about MYHackathon 2020 or upcoming events, click here.
- You can read more about Cradle Fund here.
Featured Image Credit: Cradle Fund