Photo - Praveen Rajan, Digi's Chief Digital Officer who heads up the telco's innovation lab, Digi-X (fourth from the left), pictured here with Malaysian startups GrabGas, Vase and Local Usher at Digi Accelerates' Demo Day finale in Bangkok.
Three Malaysian startups GrabGas, Local Usher and Vase are to receive more than RM250,000 (more than US$62,000) in equity funding from maiden accelerator programme, Digi Accelerate.
The programme, which closed with a Demo Day held in Bangkok, saw the startups join teams from Myanmar and Thailand in a competitive pitch session to 65 local and international venture capitalists.
The accelerator programme, was recently created by Digi Telecommunications (Digi), will help the three startups to scale up their operations, said Praveen Rajan, Digi's chief digital officer.
Rajan, who heads Digi-X, the telco's innovation lab, said the programme was initially created to explore new digital services to benefit Digi's 12.3 million customers.
"They have done a lot of work in the past four months to validate their business models, and now the real challenge is to be single-minded on building a repeatable, scalable and sustainable business beyond borders," he said.
"The ambition should be to build traction and generate revenue in the first year - then they're on to something potentially big," said Rajan.
He said that Digi-X will continue to provide both funding and hands-on support for these startups:
- Local Usher is a platform to discover and book unique recreational experiences in Malaysia, now looking to expand into ASEAN. Launched in August 2015, the startup has grown tenfold in the last six months.
- GrabGas is a web and smartphone-based on-demand cooking gas delivery service, which was launched in April 2016, it has grown more than twelve-fold with its services currently covering Petaling Jaya, Puchong and Subang Jaya; averaging at 65 orders a day. *
- Vase is a centralised portal for conducting surveys and providing actionable on-demand insights for its clients. The company launched in June 2016 and has grown its total respondent base by eleven-fold in the past three months.
Rajan said the startups will also benefit from commercialisation opportunities with Digi and Telenor, tapping into 200 million potential customers globally.
He added that in the past three months since its inception, Digi-X has been broadening its involvement in the startup ecosystem with Digi Incub8, its pre-accelerator programme, and Digi Accelerate.
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