It is often a great challenge for new businesses and ventures to secure funding for their projects, as an obstacle they face is the difficulty of connecting to and capturing the attention of potential investors.
However, alternative fundraising methods such as equity crowdfunding (ECF) platforms provide a more entrepreneur-friendly way for startups to get funds for their ventures.
We decided to look back at ECF platforms registered with the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) and came up with this non-exhaustive list of Malaysian startups that have raised more than RM1 million through ECF in 2023 so far.
1. Kejap Food
Kejap Food is Malaysia’s first drive-thru service that offers local foods. In an interview with Vulcan Post, its owner, Betty Ting, shared how it was inspired after she noticed a lack of drive-thrus offering local cuisine.
Through its campaign this year on the ECF platform MyStartr, Kejap Food was able to procure funding of RM4.1 million via 390 investors.
Apart from securing funds from investors through MyStartr, in March 2022, it was announced that the frozen food brand Kawan Food had taken a 32.5% stake in Kejap Food, making it the second largest shareholder.
With the funds from their recent ECF round, the F&B brand aims to open more outlets and increase working capital.
The brand has three drive-thrus attached to petrol stations, and dine-in locations in the Klang Valley and one in Penang.
2. Meet Mee
Meet Mee was founded in 2016 after its founder, Clement Lin, had to give up his career in 3D animation due to an eye condition in 2003.
With his medical compensation, Lin started his own business and opened a noodle restaurant near a university business area which proved to be a hit.
Although the pandemic meant he had to close up his shops, Lin brought his pan mee to the online world by selling instant pan mee, and it took off.
According to them, in 2022, they achieved RM6.04 million in revenue and were the top-selling pan mee product on Shopee. In fact, they even managed to set a record in the Malaysia Book of Records for selling 42,601 packs of noodles in one hour.
In their ECF round through MyStartr, which concluded earlier this month, Meet Mee managed to secure RM4.6 million from 330 investors, which they plan to use to broaden their products’ reach to capture a larger portion of the market.
In an ECF funding round on MyStartr which concluded in April 2023, Johor-based healthtech company EZON raised RM2.3 million.
According to the campaign page, EZON offers biotechnology, nanotechnology, and their proprietary Light Activated Energy (LAE) technology, and aims to use all these to solve the pain points of human health.
The company plans to bring cutting-edge health technology to everyone by establishing an EZON Healthtech Lifestyle Center.
They plan to use the funds for renovation, equipment purchase, human resources, advertising, and marketing.
NCTech is a company that aims to build a wireless innovation system to equip the F&B industry with technology.
They shared that they pioneered the creation of the wireless calling system in the form of the red call button used in multiple restaurants across Malaysia.
Now, the company wants to introduce its NC-BOTs and ice-making machines and implement other systems to help the F&B industry, which its funds of RM1.6 million raised through MyStartr will go to.
Entomal Biotech is a Malaysia-based biotechnology company focusing on biowaste treatment and organic by-product upcycling. This is done by utilising the larvae of the Black Soldier Fly (BSF), an insect species well-known for its bioconversion capabilities to produce environmentally friendly products.
To scale, Entomal Biotech is building Malaysia’s first-ever mobile waste recycling solution, a container that can be placed anywhere organic waste is generated, such as hotels, F&B outlets, shopping malls, and farms.
After the waste has been collected, BSF larva, specially bred by Entomal Biotech, are placed into the waste to let them “consume” it.
Once the process is complete, the result will be animal protein (e.g., whole dried larvae) and frass, which can be used as animal feed and soil fertiliser.
The company secured RM1.7 million in funds via MyStartr and aims to launch eight units of its waste recycling solutions in Malaysia and worldwide by the end of 2023.
For those unfamiliar, The Original Beverage is the company behind honeyB, a Malaysian brand of halal sparkling honey canned drinks made using natural honey from Australia.
In an interview with us, co-founders Jen Lun and Wei Sheng shared that after noticing that the consumer trend was moving towards healthier lifestyles, they identified an opportunity to provide a real and healthy alternative in the soft drinks market.
They established The Original Beverage in 2016 and started with honeyB, their first and only product for six years, until they finally added a new product, the honeyB Black Tea with BOH, last year.
On the ECF platform iPivot, it was revealed that The Original Beverage had secured RM1.5 million in funds.
In the long term, Wei Sheng told us, “We want to ensure honeyB is accessible to anyone, anywhere, anytime, and become a real and natural beverage category leader on its own.”
7. Qmed Asia
Qmed Asia (formerly QueueMed) is a homegrown healthcare technology startup founded in 2019 by a group of doctors and engineers to assist healthcare providers with digital health.
The idea was born as a solution to tackle long queues in hospitals, which their founder, Dr Kev Lim, experienced himself when he brought his daughter for a follow-up.
Since implementing their online appointment system and mobile queue solutions in clinics and hospitals, they have received overflowing support and positive feedback from the public and healthcare providers.
Their website also offers various services for patients, such as helping them locate clinics and hospitals nearby and booking home care and virtual care services.
The startup garnered RM5.1 million through the ECF platform Leet Capital, and they plan to use the funds to expand their market share into regional countries like Indonesia, Singapore, and Vietnam.
As the electric vehicle (EV) industry continues to become more prominent here, heightened focus has been placed on solutions surrounding it, such as EV charging networks.
ChargeSini is a local EV charging solutions startup that recently raised RM5.5 million through an ECF round on pitchIN.
Beyond providing a range of EV chargers nationwide, ChargeSini also has an app that lets drivers conveniently locate and use its charging stations.
Nick Leong, the co-founder of ChargeSini, shared with Vulcan Post that the funds will be used to procure more EV chargers for the company.
According to its website, BayaPay is leading the way forward in fuel and fleet expense management, offering better controls and savings.
This is achieved with BayaFuel, a payment card that enables businesses to seamlessly make secure payments within set limits and controls across all fleet-related expense management, such as fuel, travel, lodging, repairs, maintenance, road tax, insurance, tolls, and parking.
The BayaFuel Payment Card is designed to help businesses cut costs and save money.
On its campaign page on pitchIN, it was revealed that BayaPay raised RM1.2 million through 36 investors in an ECF round.
The funds raised will predominantly be used to complete and launch the go-to-market payment card, build market traction, and structure credit funding.
Since its inception in 2014, TheLorry has become a platform connecting individuals and corporate clients to truck, lorry, and van owners across Southeast Asia.
The local startup is no stranger to multiple funding rounds, as back in 2016, it raised US$1.5 million in its Series A round, close to RM24 million in its Series B funding round in 2019, and most recently, RM4.1 million through ECF on pitchIN.
In a video shared by TheLorry, they explained that with the funds, they hope to expand their operations in Indonesia and expand revenue streams by introducing new products and services.
Another local startup with its fair share of history is SPEEDHOME.
Formerly known as Speedrent, the business focuses on a platform that aims to eliminate the middleman, in this case, the property agents, by bringing landlords and tenants together.
In 2021, SPEEDHOME raised RM7 million in Series A funding backed by Allianz Malaysia Berhad (Allianz) and Gobi Partners (Gobi).
They recently secured ECF of RM2.03 million through pitchIN. This wasn’t the first time they had secured funds via an ECF platform, as they previously raised RM2.5 million on two occasions in 2020 too.
Although raising significant amounts of money through ECF is not the be-all indicator that a startup is doing well or has potential, it’s worth keeping an eye on these startups as they have undoubtedly managed to capture the attention of investors.
With Merdeka coming up soon, we thought we’d take this opportunity to wish these Malaysian startups hearty congratulations on their massive ECF rounds!
We look forward to seeing which other Malaysian startups will announce monumental ECF rounds in the months to come.
- Read other articles we’ve written about Malaysian startups here.
Featured Image Credit: SPEEDHOME, Meet Mee, ChargeSini, TheLorry, The Original Beverage, Entomal Biotech