Startups In Malaysia: Successful Startups & Startups to Watch Out For

Last Update: 20 September 2021

This page will include everything you need to know about startups in Malaysia. The page will guide you through the things you need to know about startups from the definition, stages of startups to how to grow and fund startups as well as resources regarding startups. The upcoming startups and successful startups in Malaysia 2021 is also listed below.

5 Startups in Malaysia to Watch in 2021

BOOST

Industry: Fintech

Boost was formed in 2017 as a financial firm. Customers can use e-wallet solutions from the company to make payments, receive payments, and access other financial services.

Website: myboost.com

STOREHUB

Industry: Software

Storehub was established in the year 2013. The company provides technological solutions for retail and F&B enterprises to automate their operations. This idea has had a direct impact on their revenue and client base growth. The company has managed to raise a total of $15 million from a group of seven investors to grow and develop their company.

Website: storehub.com

SOCAR

Industry: Vehicle Rental

SOCAR is a ride-sharing company situated in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which was formed in 2017. Customers can book and rent vehicles using their service to go on trips or do whatever else comes to mind. Despite the fact that similar businesses exist in the country, SOCAR has successfully distinguished itself from its investors. So far, the Malaysian startup has managed to raise $18 million from a pair of investors, with Eugene Private Equity and KH Energy partnering with the Malaysian startup.

Website: socar.my

SERVISHERO

Industry: Consumer Software

ServisHero was launched in 2015 as a consumer software company. Users may connect with local service providers using the company's platform to compare pricing and find the best deals on their services. Community reviews help verify that any service providers on the platform are competent in their field.

Website: servishero.com

LOTTIEFILES

Industry: Multimedia and Web Technology

LottieFiles is an animation, graphic, and web design company that was created in 2017. The company sells a smartphone app that enables designers to collaborate on micro animations, including testing and critiquing them. Their platform includes a number of tools and features aimed at making finding, creating, and implementing animations easier and more efficient. 

Website: lottiefiles.com

5 Startups in Malaysia to Watch in 2020

LAPASAR

Industry: Marketplace, Procurement

Lapasar began as a B2B platform in the corporate sector in 2018. Clients such as Telekom Malaysia, PETRONAS, and Tenaga Nasional Berhad use their platform to purchase products for their everyday operations needs (such as laptops, projectors, and office furniture). In 2020, the B2B platform was expanded to support Mom and Pop shops, allowing them to order goods (such as Milo, Nescafe, Red Bull, and other beverages) using their App/platform. The FMCG Wholesale Segment is now a critical pillar of Lapasar's operations and expansion.

Website: lapasar.com

PLUSH

Industry: Property Management

Plush is a short-term rental management company that aims to provide high-quality homestays for guest and make hosting easier for homeowners. Plush provides everything from interior designing, cleaning, administration to maintenance themselves to ensure the quality they are providing are high-end and premium. The owners has now launched a spin-off company called Kapas Living that focuses on selling bedsheets.

Website: plush.services

PARKIT

Industry: Parking platform

Parkit is a P2P online parking platform which helps you find a free parking spot. Parkit's parking spaces are easy to find and are usually the closest to your desired location. Their parking spots are usually found in residential and commercial buildings that are guarded and secured to ensure the safety of the customer's vehicle. Through their website, you are also able to rent out your private parking spot.

Website: parkitmy.com

ZCOVA

Industry: Diamond, Jewellery

Zcova is a diamond company that provides the opportunity for people to purchase diamonds and jewelleries conveniently and securely at Zcova's website from the comfort of their home. The company was founded in late 2015 by two brothers, Low Ziwei and Low Ziyin.

Website: zcova.com

CURLEC

Industry: Fintech, Direct Debit Payment

Curlec is a venture-backed FinTech startup that makes it simple for businesses of all kinds to collect recurring payments and manage cash flow. This is accomplished by layering technology on top of existing payment infrastructure. Curlec has expanded its products to include card payments, payouts, subscription management, and billing tools, in addition to bank-to-bank payments via Direct Debit. The company was founded in 2018 by Zac Liew and Steve Kucia.

Website: curlec.com

5 Successful Startups in Malaysia 2020

In Malaysia currently, there are no Unicorns yet. However, there are several so-called soonicorns. These companies are now market leaders and have a high chance of becoming a unicorn. The three that have succeeded the most are Iflix, Carsome and Fave.

SETEL

Industry: Mobile Apps, Mobile Payment

Setel is a mobile application that offers an E-wallet which lets you pay for the fuel at PETRONAS petrol stations in Malaysia. It was recently founded in 2018 by PETRONAS. Up to this point, there are more than +500,000 people that have downloaded the app.

Website: setel.my

CARSOME

Industry: E-Commerce Platform, Automotive

Carsome is a platform where people are able to sell there used cars. Today, they have over 55K cars sold with a total of 4,216 dealers. The company was founded in 2015 in Petaling Jaya by Eric Cheng and Tech Juin Ee. Thus far, the company has received USD32M of funding.

Website: carsome.my

FAVE

Industry: Digital Business Services

Fave is an online customer service platform that allows users to buy anything from local food to tickets to a theme park. The company was founded in 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, by Joel Neoh and Chen Chow Yeoh. So far, the company has raised USD32M.

Website: myfave.com

FOODPANDA

Industry: Online Food Ordering

Foodpanda is an online food delivery marketplace that allows users to place orders at their favourite local restaurants through its website or mobile app. The company was founded in 2012 and it is currently operating in 13 countries across the Asia Pacific and Eastern Europe.

Website: foodpanda.my

POP MEALS (Previously Known As DAHMAKAN)

Industry: Food and Beverage, Food Delivery, Artificial Intelligence, Logistics, Robotics

Pop Meals is a Malaysian innovative delivery food service that was founded in 2015. The company uses artificial intelligence in logistics and cooking automation. Currently, the company is operating around Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya and Subang Jaya to Cyberjaya and Putrajaya.

Website: dahmakan.com

What is a Startup?

Startup is a word that you hear very often in the world of business. Whilst you may be more familiar with the very successful startups such as FacebookUberSpaceXAmazon and Lyft, you may be curious about what is a startup fundamentally?

The term "startup" refers to a company in the first stage of its operations. A startup as its name is suggesting has just been started. With one or more a demand in a certain market is spotted. The group or the individual then sets up a business to supply this demand.

Neil Blumenthal, cofounder and co-CEO of Warby Parker view startup as "a company working to solve a problem where the solution is not obvious and success is not guaranteed".

Stages of Startup

When you read about startups nowadays, you may have come across various terms floating around when it comes to startups trying to define their business stage (pre-seed, seed, post-seed, series A, B, C ...). Here is a comprehensive explanation of the stages that you would go through in a startup.

Startup Vs Mature Company

Startup and mature companies are very different by nature. Both companies operate differently and it is important to recognise the distinction between the two. Below are the three main differences between startup and mature company.

How to Get Your Startup Funded?

One of the most popular questions that is being asked by entrepreneurs is, “How do I raise startup capital for my business?” As much as every entrepreneur wants to get their business funded easily, contrary to popular myth, nobody is waiting in the wings to fund your business just because your business idea is innovative and one-of-a-kind. Getting the capital that you need is the one of the main challenges that startups face aside from maintaining their cash flow and making sure that they have a competitive advantage in the current market.

There are several ways of funding for startups. It differs for each startup what type of funding is best suited. For the purpose of this article, we have conducted the five most used ways of funding. 

Venture Capital

Venture capital is similar to angel investment. However, usually, this type of funding is used in a later phase of the startup. Usually, the amount funded is larger and the amount of support is less. As these startups who are funded by a venture capital normally are already up and running.

Accelerator

Accelerator programs are programs where startups get funding and support mostly 4-8 months long. At this time, they meet experts from their sector and get support where needed. At NEXEA, we host a yearly accelerator program in collaboration with bigger corporations. This is a win-win situation as the startups gain knowledge from the big players in their market, the big players can team up with the startups for projects.

Self-funding

This type of funding as the name suggests is funding by the entrepreneur themselves. This is mostly for first-time entrepreneurs who don’t have traction or a clear plan for their success. This self-funding is usually only used in the beginning stage of a startup. Later in the life-time of the business, this is considered a good thing as it shows the determination of the entrepreneur

Angel Investment

Angel investment is a form of funding by an individual or a small group. Angel investment is usually done during the beginning phase of a startup. At NEXEA angel investment is done by experienced business owners and/or C-level professionals. They can provide more than solely funding to a startup. They offer mentorship and support through industry experts and mentors.

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is done through crowdfunding platforms. On this platform, an entrepreneur will post his/her business plan. Then through the platform people can donate money or pre-order the product. The concept is that in this case the funding is given out by many people at the same time instead of a few big investors.

How to Grow A Startup?

Once you have hit it off and found ways to raise capital for your business idea, growing a startup is the next big hurdle that many founders struggle to figure it out.

It all draws down to the number of tactics and strategies that a startup tests in order to determine how they should run their growth and marketing plan.

There are 7 good and important points that entrepreneurs should take note off when growing their startup.

Make a strong business plan

This type of funding as the name suggests is funding by the entrepreneur themselves. This is mostly for first-time entrepreneurs who don’t have traction or a clear plan for their success. This self-funding is usually only used in the beginning stage of a startup. Later in the life-time of the business, this is considered a good thing as it shows the determination of the entrepreneur

Get funded

Crowdfunding is done through crowdfunding platforms. On this platform, an entrepreneur will post his/her business plan. Then through the platform people can donate money or pre-order the product. The concept is that in this case the funding is given out by many people at the same time instead of a few big investors.

Get a good team

Angel investment is a form of funding by an individual or a small group. Angel investment is usually done during the beginning phase of a startup. At NEXEA angel investment is done by experienced business owners and/or C-level professionals. They can provide more than solely funding to a startup. They offer mentorship and support through industry experts and mentors.

Set up a website and find a location

Accelerator programs are programs were startups get funding and support mostly 4-8 months long. In this time, they meet experts from there sector and get support where needed. At NEXEA we host a yearly accelerator program in collaboration with bigger corporations. This is a win-win situation as the startups gain knowledge from the big players in their market, the big players can team up with the startups for projects.

Become or involve a marketing expert

Venture capital is similar to angel investment. However, usually, this type of funding is used in a later phase of the startup. Usually, the amount funded is larger and the amount of support is less. As these startups who are funded by a venture capital normally are already up and running.

Build a customer base

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Expect the unexpected

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Startup Resources

Startups require a lot of different resources in order to succeed. As a starting entrepreneur, you cannot know everything. You may need help in accounting or marketing. This is where free startup resources help. At NEXEA, we have created a page with up to RM 2 Million free benefits for startups. When setting up a business you always run into unforeseen costs. Using the free benefits, we have selected you can drastically lower your cost. 

Moreover, it is important to keep track of the latest useful tools and resources that can help you work more efficiently and productively in your startup. For example, Fatbit Technologies and Hubble has listed down 20 resources that can be beneficial for your startup whereas Medium has over 400 free resources that have been compiled over the years.

Top 5 tech-startup blogs

Vulcan Post

This blog puts a focus on the key players in Asia. As Malaysia is one of the key players we advise entrepreneurs to check out the Vulcan Post.

The Asian Entrepreneur

This blog gives leading insights on entrepreneurship and business in Asia. The Asian Entrepreneur gives insights into strategy, technology, finance.

Digital News Asia

Digital News Asia covers various types of industry issues and news in the ICT ecosystem such as entrepreneurs, startups, movers, and shakers in the industry as well as business trends. The platform provides insightful and analytical insights about the ICT ecosystem in South-East Asia.

Tech In Asia

Tech In Asia is one of the largest tech-blog that focuses primarily on tech within Asia from the latest trends and news to the strongest startups out there.

TechCrunch

TechCrunch is a blog that reports on businesses and news related to tech, profiling startups as well as reviewing new Internet products. If you are looking for a blog that not only covers Asia but also the Silicon Valley, you should definitely check out this website.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a startup?
  • The term "startup" refers to a company in the stage of its operations. A startup as its name is suggesting has just been started. With one or more a demand in a certain market is spotted. The group or the individual then sets up a business to supply this demand.

  • What are the stages of a startup?
  • The stages of startups are Early venture, Series A and Growth. Early venture stage is where entrepreneurs would take a long time to refine their business model in order to provide sufficient evidence of the survivability of the company. Seed funding stage is when the founders would look for investors in order to scale up their business. The growth stage is where the company is fully operating with a proven business plan and has successfully scaled up the business. The company now focuses more on improving parts of the business that are already working.

  • What is the difference between a mature company and a startup company?
  • The main differences between startups and mature companies are defined by the number of risks they take, the scale of the team, their job scope and how much a company innovates.

    Startup companies are high risk-takers, has a small team with a fairly flat chain of command and requires their employees to wear multiple hats. They are a huge advocate of innovation as they are willing to disrupt themselves by reinventing existing product and create a sustainable competitive advantage.

    Mature companies are low risk-takers, has a big team with a vertical chain of command, requires their employees to only focus on their job description and requires less innovation since mature companies' existing businesses are already running, thus there is no need for much change.

  • How do I get funding for my startup?
  • There are 5 options for you to consider to get funding for your startup, which are Venture Capital, Angel Investment, Self-funding, Crowdfunding or enter into Accelerator programs.

    Venture Capital is a type of funding that is used in a later phase of a startup where the amount being funded is larger and requires less support.

    Angel Investment is a form of funding done at the early phase of a startup where mentorship and support through industry experts and mentors are provided.

    Self-funding requires entrepreneurs to fund their businesses by themselves. This usually happens in the beginning stage of a startup.

    Crowdfunding is a form of funding where an entrepreneur will post his/her business plan on a crowdfunding platform where people can view their business model and decide to either donate money to them or pre-order the product from them.

    The accelerator program is a program where startups get funding and support for about 4 to 8 months long. During this period, they will be collaborating with bigger corporations, meet experts from their sector as well as get the support that they need.

  • What are the Malaysia Startups to watch for in 2020?
  • There are 5 upcoming Malaysia startups that everyone needs to keep an eye on in 2020, which are: Lapasar, Plush Services, Parkit Malaysia, Zcova and Curlec.

    Lapasar is a B2B marketplace integrated with the e-procurement system to connect buyers and vendors.

    Plush Services is a short-term rental management company that is designed to manage their client's Airbnb property for them.

    Parkit Malaysia is a P2P online parking platform that helps you find a free parking spot.

    Zcova is a diamond company that allows people to purchase diamonds and jewelleries conveniently from their home.

    Curlec is a fintech company that makes businesses of all sizes to be able to collect recurring payments and control their cash flow.

    References

    1. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/startup.asp

    2. https://medium.com/angularventures/there-are-only-three-stages-for-startups-b8783d6b0f1

    3. https://neilpatel.com/blog/get-startup-off-ground/

    4. https://hackernoon.com/differences-between-a-startup-and-a-big-corporation-and-why-we-need-both-a25d0e9c837e

    5. https://www.profitbooks.net/funding-options-to-raise-startup-capital-for-your-business/

    6. http://ambidextr.media/top-tech-blogs-for-entrepreneurs-in-asia/

    7. https://tracxn.com/d/soonicorn-awards/top-startups-in-malaysia-tech-2020

    8. https://www.startupcommons.org/startup-development-phases.html

    Edited by: Bartel Barning and Marina Kamal

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    Written by Cherylle Phua

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