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MaGIC’s GAP grew startup revenue by 74% in 2019, now it’s going virtual and looking beyond growth

Cumulatively, the revenue of 30 startups in GAP’s third cohort grew from USD 6 million to USD 10.6 million.

Dzuleira Abu Bakar, CEO of MaGIC. Courtesy of MaGIC via Vulcan Post. Dzuleira Abu Bakar, CEO of MaGIC. Courtesy of MaGIC via Vulcan Post.

It’s that time of the year again—the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Center (MaGIC) is about to hold its annual mid- to late-stage startup growth program, Global Accelerator Program (GAP).

Last year in 2019, the 30 startups that took part in MaGIC’s GAP Cohort 3 saw a 74% revenue growth during the four-month program. Cumulatively, their revenue grew from USD 6 million to USD 10.6 million.

This year, things are being done a little differently. As you’d expect, even this program wasn’t spared by the pandemic, so Cohort 4 will experience an entirely virtual three-month-long GAP.

A group of 40 startups from Malaysia and the rest of the region have been accepted into Cohort 4, and will undergo a customized syllabus that addresses hardships brought on by COVID-19.

In a recent survey done by MaGIC, the results confirmed that local startups are facing intense pressures to stay afloat during the pandemic.

It’s led to an update of GAP’s curriculum to focus on themes surrounding business resilience, agility, and sustainability, compared to past years’ focus on accelerating business growth.

Updated curriculum for the new normal

That being said, the updated program will kick off with the first curriculum pillar of investments, where startups will focus on sustainability, growth, adaptability, and recovery.

The second pillar is business acumen, which focuses on diving deeper in the essential business elements of each startup.

Communication is the third pillar. It focuses on presentation and pitching skills.

Lastly, there is the tech development pillar, which focuses on building and enhancing the tech aspect of a startup.

At the end of this, startup founders should be able to lead sustainable startups capable of surviving post-acceleration growth and any potential crises.

Curriculum aside, there are three new interventions for GAP Cohort 4.

Representatives from some of the 40 startups of GAP’s Cohort 4 listening to a speech by GAP alumni Yeong Che Fai of DF Automation. Courtesy of MaGIC via Vulcan Post.

Focusing on more than funding

First, it is introducing intensive performance coaching to aid startups in upscaling their skills in investment, funding, and business strategy.

Secondly, there is the National Technology Innovation Sandbox (NTIS) initiative, which provides access to funding, drives talent development, and fast-tracks R&D and commercialization through simplified policies and regulations.

In a speech, MaGIC CEO Dzuleira Abu Bakar said, “We have successfully funneled startups from NTIS to virtual GAP this year, and we foresee our high-performing startups from GAP will have the potential to be funneled into NTIS.”

Lastly, there are GAP’s investment partners, which consist of equity crowdfunding platforms, angel investors, and venture capital firms. It will allow Cohort 4 participants to leverage on investment partners’ potential funding opportunities and market access. Depending on the growth stage of participating startups, the range of potential investments is between MYR 15,000 and MYR 3 million (USD 3,600–241,000) per deal.

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Virtual from start to finish

Throughout the program, cohorts will also gain access to over USD 500,000 worth of benefits, including mentors and extensive corporate support by partners such as Amazon Web Services, Macrokiosk, and Stripe.

Expect to see startups from key industry verticals, including healthcare, lifestyle, social innovation, smart cities, creative, cloud services, education, and finance to come together in this program.

As usual, GAP will conclude in December with a Demo Day, which is a showcase of the program’s results.

Since that will also be virtual, cohorts will pitch their solutions, business ideas, and expansion plans in a livestream, where investors, partners, and mentors will be tuning in.

Over GAP’s past three cohorts, the program has accelerated 108 startups in total, raising over MYR 116 million in investments and generating close to MYR 222 million in total revenue.

Some recognized graduates in the industry include e-commerce and parcel delivery platform EasyParcel, GPS tracking and fleet management system startup Katsana, and social enterprise Biji-Biji Initiative.

This article was originally published by Vulcan Post.