MaGIC’s GAP focuses on pandemic-impacted start-ups

September 4, 2020

THE Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC) revised its award-winning Global Accelerator Programme’s (GAP) curriculum to virtually cater to start-ups that are impacted by Covid-19.

MaGIC CEO Dzuleira Abu Bakar (picture) said it is focusing on specific leanings such as being more adaptive and sustainable during times of crisis.

“This year we really focus on helping participants build a network within the venture capital space and better position themselves to secure seed funding or other forms of investor commitments,” she said after launching GAP Cohort 4 yesterday.

Dzuleira believed that it is not just about adding more capital into the market, but that entrepreneurs truly get access to investments.

This, she said, is a missing link within Malaysia’s entrepreneurship ecosystem and one that MaGIC is actively working to help bridge.

At the start of the Movement Control Order, MaGIC carried out surveys and found that many start-ups were affected with only 2.9% confident of surviving beyond 12 months under prevailing conditions, while the rest will struggle.

Dzuleira said 31% foresaw a continued decline in sales, 20% foresaw financial stability challenges and 17% foresaw slow economic conditions.

“With 63% of respondents indicating that they need financial aid, it is very clear that we need to change and adapt,” she added.

This year’s GAP will feature 40 of the region’s most promising start-ups in a new all-virtual programme, namely from Malaysia (77.5%), Singapore (7.5%), Indonesia (5%), Hong Kong (2.5%), India, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.

It includes a customised syllabus to empower start-ups in facing a new normal spurred by the ongoing pandemic.

Over three years since its debut, GAP has accelerated a total of 108 start-ups, raising over RM116 million in investments and generating close to RM222 million in total revenue.

Some of the most known GAP graduates include top Malaysian start-ups and social enterprises such as Easy Parcel, Katsana and Biji-Biji Initiatives.

“We found that most of our start-ups will start seeing revenue growth during the first few weeks of the programme itself, maintaining a 30% to 40% week-on-week growth in the programme. Some will also be successful in raising funds during the programme itself,” Dzuleira said.

The newly updated programme focuses on three new interventions.

Firstly, a new initiative, GAP Investment Partners which consists of equity crowdfunding platforms, angel investors and venture capital firms that allow GAP Cohort 4 participants to leverage investment partners’ potential funding opportunities and market access.

Depending on the growth stage of participating start-ups, the range of potential investments is between RM15,000 and RM3,000,000 per deal.

Secondly, the new Intensive Performance Coaching focuses on helping founders upskill in investment, funding and business strategy.

Lastly, GAP will look to funnel graduates to numerous programmes after its conclusion to continue propelling their growth. GAP cohorts will also gain access to over US$500,000 (RM2.07 million) worth of benefits, including distinguished mentors and extensive corporate support by renowned partners such as Amazon Web Services, Macrokiosk, and Stripe.

The three-month rigorous programme will also bring together start-ups from key industry verticals including healthcare, lifestyle, social innovation, smart cities, creative, cloud services, education and finance to exchange ideas and form partnerships.

GAP will conclude in December with the GAP Demo Day, a showcase of the programme’s results, the solutions, business ideas and expansion plans to investors, partners and mentors.