[This is a sponsored article with Cradle.]
A few months ago, Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd (Cradle) awarded a total of RM8.24 million to 28 tech companies under the first batch of its CIP Spark and CIP Sprint programmes.
These conditional grants can support, nurture, and prepare startups with their prototype or business model development, market validation, market access, and commercialisation activities.
Here are six tech companies that bagged a sum between RM90,000 to RM500,000 for their ideas and products.
CIP Spark is a pre-seed grant open to startups that are less than five years, and groups of individuals. It offers grants of up to RM150,000 to startups for product development and market validation.
Launched on Earth Day (April 22, 2022), Beebag was born from a university assignment by twin brothers, Joshua and Joel Lim.
Beebag can be likened to a membership card that earns you points whenever you shop from partner vendors. It’s a reusable shopping bag equipped with a QR code and NFC chip (called Beetag) that can be linked to the Beebag app.
When users get their Beetag scanned while shopping from partner vendors, they can earn Bee points to exchange for discount vouchers and other rewards.
Beebag incentivises customers to go green while shopping. Assuming shoppers remember to use the bag, they won’t have to worry about losing their membership cards from multiple shops that have partnered with the brand.
The brand is still growing its pool of partners, including a zero-waste bulk store, The Hive, and women’s fashion brand, LILIT.
“Not only is Beebag able to help vendors enhance their sustainability and marketing efforts, but our solution can also help them enhance customer engagement from the gamified shopping experience,” Joshua said about the brand’s market potential.
He believes this venture received RM90,000 from Cradle’s CIP Spark grant due to Beebag’s innovative approach to tackle Malaysia’s plastic pollution issue.
The twins will be using Cradle’s grant to develop Beebag’s app further, adding new features and improving user experience. Now associated with Cradle, the entrepreneurs are confident that this will give their business an immediate credibility boost for future investment opportunities.
Syahrir Suib developed GreenQR after witnessing his friends struggle to maintain the workforce in their retail stores during the pandemic. Though self-checkout kiosks were an alternative, they were pricey.
“GreenQR replaces self-checkout kiosks found at retailers like Lotus’s, IKEA, and Decathlon, into a more affordable alternative by making a customer’s phone the self-checkout system,” he described in layman’s terms.
Smaller retailers can also adopt self-checkout system at a fraction of the cost. This way, SMEs can benefit from increasing their business’s efficiency, while reducing manpower and operational expenses.
GreenQR will be free for consumers to use, as it monetises by charging merchants RM1 per month or RM12 per year, plus a 3% commission per transaction.
With RM100,000 awarded from Cradle’s CIP Spark, Syahrir will use the funds to finish developing GreenQR’s web app, which he intends to launch in Q1 2023.
He believes the main factor that got him Cradle’s grant was his solution coming in at the right time, just as Malaysia increased the minimum wage in May 2022.
While GreenQR has yet to partner with notable brands, Syahrir stated that he’s currently in talks with an association connected to several small retailers.
Launched in May 2021, CoKeeps acts as a safe box for digital assets such as cryptocurrencies and their exchanges, hedge funds, and banks. The startup’s solution is called a third-party custodial service, which protects private keys used to access digital assets.
Did you know: Private keys are usually made up of a random set of alphanumerics, and act as a user’s secret password that provides them access to their wallet. They’re extremely difficult to remember, but can still be stolen or hacked.– Vulcan Post, Investopedia
CoKeeps’ co-founder, Suhanna Husein, cited that over US$2 billion (about RM8.8 billion at the time of writing) has been lost due to an alarming increase in crypto thefts in 2022.
“Companies regulated by the Securities Commission and required to use third-party custodial services for digital assets could certainly benefit from CoKeeps services,” Suhanna explained the startup’s primary target market.
With RM150,000 from Cradle’s CIP Spark, CoKeeps intends to use the grant solely to enhance the software.
The service will be improved by incorporating feedback from existing clients, which includes one of the five licensed digital asset exchanges in Malaysia.
CIP Sprint is a grant awarding up to RM600,000 to help startups scale.
It is open to universities and research institutions’ spin-off companies, as long as the companies are registered as Sdn Bhd. This grant is also open to foreign-owned companies, where the majority of their employees are Malaysian.
Companies that apply must be less than seven years old with revenue of less than RM5 million, and hold intellectual property (IP) rights for their solutions.
De Eco SR Hygiene: RM370,000
Incorporated in 2020, De Eco SR Hygiene (SR Hygiene) is a deeptech spin-off company formed in Penang by Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM).
It provides businesses with professional cleaning services via photocatalysts, a sanitisation method using the chemical reaction of light to get rid of indoor contaminants.
Photocatalysts can be used in services like deodorisation, sterilisation, air purification, wastewater treatment, and more.
Created to overcome the spread of contagious diseases, one of SR Hygiene’s products, EcoDifesa, was made to kill various bacteria and notorious viruses on surfaces and in the air.
Thus far, SR Hygiene has serviced notable clients, which include Kanzen International, Ecoat Resources, and Sinar Global.
Having been awarded RM370,000 from the CIP Sprint grant, SR Hygiene’s team believes that the driving factors in being awarded were the strength of their technology and intellectual property.
To further its commercialisation, SR Hygiene intends to expand its sales and marketing efforts. The team will also use the funds to register their products with the Ministry of Health’s (MoH) National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA).
What do you get when you cross streaming and theatre?
CloudJoi. It’s a digital venue for performing arts founded by Dennis, William, and Kevin, who each has a background in such areas.
Here, viewers from around the world can tune in to livestreamed or pre-recorded shows to share in the experience, as shows are all played at predetermined times.
It was initially developed in May 2020 to help performing arts practitioners sell tickets, and perform live over the internet amidst global lockdowns. As an indication of CloudJoi’s relevance in the industry, the Malaysian platform has partnered with Broadway On-Demand. Doing so brought over 20 Broadway and West End shows to Malaysian and Taiwanese audiences.
Instead of charging a subscription fee, CloudJoi takes commissions between 5% to 30% from ticket sales and its on-demand services.
Kevin believes CloudJoi’s passion and commitment to the performing arts industry, and innovating a platform for people to appreciate and engage in arts and culture, are key factors to bagging RM 400,000 from Cradle’s CIP Sprint.
Ittihad Maju Jaya: RM500,000
Ittihad Maju Jaya was established in 2020 to provide an alternative clean water source for those living in rural areas, and water-stressed areas (where there’s not enough clean water supply for the people).
Instead of depending on water from rivers, Itthad Maju Jaya looks for underground sources, using mapping and drilling techniques to extract clean water.
However, underground water tends to be contaminated with heavy metals such as iron and manganese. So, the company created a mobile and easy-to-install water filtration system that follows the MoH’s standards.
Awarded RM500,000 from Cradle’s CIP Sprint, Ittihad Maju Jaya’s Managing Director, Dr. Zaini believes this grant will benefit the startup in helping rural communities get their needs met.
The company will use the funds to create more units of its water filtration systems to speed up its delivery process.
“Ittihad Maju Jaya is optimistic that in two to three years, we would be able to market the product to our neighbouring countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia, as clean water access is not only Malaysia’s problem,” Dr. Zaini told Vulcan Post.
Judging from the few names highlighted here, it can be said that an opportune industry Cradle is currently eyeing has to do with exciting innovations in technological advances and digitalisation services for SMEs.
The high cost of running a startup is always on the rise. With operational and personnel costs getting more demanding on lean businesses, digital solutions that can help create efficiencies and automate workflows are always welcomed.
Cradle is now accepting new applications for its CIP Spark and CIP Sprint programmes, and you can submit one for your business on its website.
- Startups looking to partner with Cradle can learn more here.
- Read more funding-related articles here.
Featured Image Credit: Cradle Fund