3 Malaysian startups nab funding from 1337 Ventures

By e27.com

Malaysia’s 1337 Ventures has invested in three local startups selected through its Alpha Startups pre-accelerator program, which provides funding and mentoring opportunities for “ideation-stage” concepts.

The three teams are ewallet provider Bayar, home-cooked food ordering and delivery platform Hometaste, and mobile locker laundry collection service Dobybox. Each will receive an investment of US$25,000, along with Amazon Web Services support and mentoring from the 1337 Ventures team.

Andy Sitt, founder of stock photo library 123RF, co-invested with 1337 Ventures in Hometaste. Bayar secured additional funding from angel investors at Seek Asia and Google Japan.

A total of 20 startups and entrepreneurs were accepted into the Alpha Startups bootcamp, which ran between April 17 and 21 in Kuala Lumpur. While a few participants already had prototypes in place, more than half were at ideation stage and yet to develop a minimum viable product (MVP). Eleven startups – including some of those without an MVP – were invited to present their business ideas to attending VC firms, angel investors, and corporates.

“With each batch, the level of applicants is significantly improving,” said Bikesh Lakhmichand, founding partner at 1337 Ventures, in a statement. “We’re seeing more domain experts attempting to launch products to significantly expand their businesses – from the likes of an accountant attempting to build a micro SME-focused tax and accounting system, to a launderette owner attempting to find new ways to scale his existing business.”

The Alpha Startups format is intended to give companies a platform to “test and validate” their ideas at an earlier stage than would be possible with typical accelerator programs.

Alpha Startups’ next bootcamp will run between May 29 and June 4 and focus on game development. It will be held in partnership with Media Prima Labs, the digital arm of Malaysian media giant Media Prima, with support from government-owned Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation and telco Digi. Aspiring game developers are invited to apply by submitting a video application.