By Kiran Kaur Sidhu April 1, 2020
Digital News Asia

  • Help Malaysians with new startups or interested in venturing into entrepreneurship
  • Encouraged to solve COVID-19 issues like agile workflow, logistics, medical software

The Alpha Startups Digital Accelerator (ASDA) by 1337 Ventures may just be the silver-lining for entrepreneurs during this trying time. The provider of Malaysia’s first and oldest accelerator has opened its signature Alpha Startups Digital Accelerator for registration.

“We’re glad to be able to co-organise this programme together with Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC). We started our very first Alpha Startups programme together with MDEC back in 2014 as a means to make entrepreneurship accessible, and now, 25 batches later, we’re able to co-organise Malaysia’s first Online Accelerator programme, to help Malaysians navigate during these troubled times,” says Bikesh Lakhmichand, CEO of 1337 Ventures.

In its 26th cohort, the accelerator is open to all Malaysians to take part in, and in compliance with the Movement Control Order, will be fully online. Co-organised with MDEC, ASDA features supporting partners like Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity centre (MaGIC), Kumpulan Modal Perdana, AltHR, Digi Telecommunications, Found8 and iTrain.

The digital accelerator is an initiative to help up-and-coming new startups, as well as those unsure about financial or job stability and would like to take charge of their own fate via entrepreneurship. The programme will help equip participants with the skills needed to successfully run their own business. Rather than being restless within the confines of home, individuals can seize the opportunity and raise their productivity.

“Alpha Startups Digital Accelerator will take you through ideation, validation, marketing, and prototyping; leaving you with a working prototype, pitch deck ready for fundraising and more than US$10,000 (RM43,100) worth of support systems. The Top 3 teams will also be funded up to RM20,000 (RM4,633) per team, together with a 6-month mentorship, go-to-market partners, and further funding to take their idea to the next level,” says Bikesh.

The mentoring will be carried out fully via video conferencing. “We’ll have office hours throughout the programme, where teams can jump in our Zoom rooms anytime they have questions for the 1337 team or partners.”

In total, the programme comprises of 9 hours of self-paced learning, 23 hours of live webinar and 26 hours of available office hours. The live webinars (i.e classrooms) happen two days a week, while Mentor Rooms (i.e office hours and coaching) are flexible for participants to join. “Self-paced learning sessions can be done at the convenience of the participant, as our videos and interactive teaching materials are online on our Leet Academy portal.”

Other than being run fully-online, this digital edition also has the most flexible program structure in comparison to the past programmes. “While participants must still commit to the key outcomes of the program, the way in which they can accomplish this is flexible. This is also a batch which doesn’t have any industry limitation, that is to say, anyone with or without an idea can join to develop a solution for any market or niche.”

Bikesh adds: “We do however, want to encourage Malaysians who are keen on solving some of the issues brought to light by the COVID-19 outbreak, like logistics, agile workflows, medical software or hardware, and more. We also want to welcome Malaysians to consider more impact driven enterprises, as many Malaysians right now have been adversely affected by the Movement Control Order restrictions, despite it being necessary to ensure we minimize the outbreak.”

This programme is also less stringent on its requirements and screening in hopes that it is better able to serve Malaysians who always wanted to venture into entrepreneurship.

“We have tracks for people who truly want funding and to start, and for those who are still exploring and just want to learn. We’re able to accommodate a bigger batch size due to it being online, flexible, and injection of more mentors via our partners like MDEC, Accenture, MaGIC, KPMG, Digi, Found8, and more,” he explains.

The 10 day program, spaced over 5 weeks, consists of 1337 Ventures’ tried-and-tested methodologies that have resulted in the success of startups like Parkeasy, Eatcaketoday, Gigfairy, Funding Societies and more. Participants can expect Design Thinking and Lean Startup methodologies that will allow them to create a startup quickly to scale and remain resilient even in unprecedented times like what COVID-19 has brought upon the world.

In keeping with the theme of being a digital accelerator and maintaining social distancing after the restriction lifts, the Demo Day will be held online where investors, media and potential collaborators will tune in. “However, sometime later in the year when the COVID-19 situation has stabilized, we will have physical networking sessions and value-add sessions like Introduction to Design Thinking workshops for our participants to join free of charge,” he adds.

For those interested but without ideas, 1337 Ventures will guide them through an ideation process in a pre-engagement session. Applications close on April 3 while the programme commences on 6th April. Sign up at 1337.ventures/digital or email info@1337.ventures for more information.