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MDEC to provide funding facilitation support to Malaysia-based start-ups

The Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) has launched its two latest Funding Facilitation initiatives for 2021; Founders Grindstone for start-up capacity building and Investor Matching, to match start-ups with Venture Capitals (VCs).

These two initiatives are from MDEC’s Digitally Powered Businesses division and are geared towards opening up opportunities for Malaysian-based start-ups and tech companies as well as elevating the proficiency of start-up founders to successfully navigate the complexities of raising funds and fulfilling the gruelling demands of potential investors.

Founders Grindstone had been introduced in 2020 as a capacity building programme focused on helping local tech entrepreneurs in their fundraising journey. It features a series of intensive workshops with professional partners from venture capitals (VCs), venture builders and legal firms as speakers and mentors, followed by a pitching session at the of the workshops for 20 shortlisted start-ups.

Founders Grindstone also offers participants the opportunity for start-ups to leverage on funding partners featured in the programme, granting Malaysian entrepreneurs’ access to funding opportunities from global investors. Similar to the initiative’s pilot, there will be four batches of workshops, including a brand-new Founders Grindstone+ Tech Bootcamp – an enhanced intensive boot camp focusing on high-potential tech verticals.

Founders Grindstone registered participation from more than 70 start-ups in 2020, with seven of these participants now raising funds via crowdfunding platforms, while 13 others are preparing for their crowdfunding campaigns. This year, the Founders Grindstone initiative will extend its partnership to more legal firms and VCs, and will also be working with the recipients of PENJANA Kapital. Their role would vary as mentors, judges and speakers.

The Investor Matching initiative on the other hand will provide an avenue for Malaysian startups to be matched with MDEC’s pool of more than 50 VCs. It is a continuation of an initiative in 2020, which saw 176 start-ups applying and had 104 VCs and investors participating with a total funding request of US$212 million. The goal this year is to increase the success rate of matching start-ups and investors to 50%, compared to last year’s 37.5%

The Vice President of Digitally Powered Businesses Division stated that both Founders Grindstone and the Investor Matching initiatives will provide a much-needed avenue for many Malaysian-based start-ups to connect with global and local investors, and potentially raise funds during these tough times.

Apart from potential investments, some of the VCs are also open to other types of support, such as mentoring, providing access to their ongoing programmes and strategic partnerships.

Malaysia is well-positioned as a first-mover for start-ups as the start-up ecosystem is valued at US$15 billion and ranked as the 11th emerging start-up ecosystem in the Global Startup Ecosystem Report last year in terms of performance.

As is, MDEC is working hard to position the country as the key and top emerging start-up driver so that Malaysia remains relevant and competitive on the global stage. Founders Grindstone and the Investor Matching initiatives are part of MDEC’s effort to support the growth of local tech start-ups and enhance their contribution to Malaysia’s digital economy.

The digital economy is expected to continue its significant contribution to the country in 2021 based on an estimated 19.1% contribution to GDP in 2019 by the Department of Statistics Malaysia, on the back of a 6.7% economic growth forecast this year by the World Bank.

MDEC, with the full support of the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia (KKMM), will continue to lead the digital economy forward; centred on ensuring shared prosperity for the many and towards realising Malaysia 5.0.

This is focused on three strategic thrusts – empowering Digitally Skilled Malaysians, accelerating Digitally-Powered Businesses and attracting Digital Investments. MDEC is committed to rolling out key digital initiatives announced in Budget 2021 to ensure our society can fully leverage and benefit from Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies and establish Malaysia as the Heart of Digital ASEAN.

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