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Deep dive: Why Malaysia's global tech enabler is focusing on fintech and IoT startups

AvantiKumar | Sept. 8, 2017
Global tech hub enabler Cyberview's Mohd Najib Ibrahim on the latest move in the Living Lab Accelerator programme, which is another cog in Cyberjaya's catalytic platform.

Aug2017 - Cyberview Startups Cohort

Photo: (Fourth from right) Mohd Najib Ibrahim, Acting Managing Director of Cyberview Sdn Bhd with the latest cohort of Cyberview Living Lab Accelerator Programme - LuxTag, MHub, Serv, Techcare Innovation and AppCable.


Startups form an essential aspect of the drive to ignite innovation and development by Malaysia's burgeoning smart city Cyberjaya, which has set its sights on becoming a global tech hub during its recent 20th anniversary celebrations.

In an exclusive Computerworld Malaysia 'rapidfire' interview in January this year, (as part of an extensive roundup feature - What's really in store for Malaysia's IT industry in 2017?), smart city and technology hub enabler Cyberview's then chief executive officer Dato' Faris Yahaya said that "all sectors needed to double down on strengthening Malaysia's tech ecosystem to mitigate the headwinds of the global economy."

Faris had added that "collaborative innovation is taking centre-stage in Malaysia's rising digital economy - that no-one player can or should do this alone.  Risk taking (in innovation) can only be bolstered by the reassurance of a safety net of supportive ecosystem partners."

"Players in the tech industry (including government agencies, SMEs, MNCs, etc.) must double-down on strengthening Malaysia's tech ecosystem (particularly policies and initiatives influencing infrastructure and talent development) to mitigate the challenge of persistent headwinds in the global economy," said Faris.

"In addition, one important driver of growth in the digital economy will be primarily domestic in nature," he said, adding that Malaysia "is host to a lot of unrealised talents waiting to be unlocked and unleashed."

"This is the foundation for Cyberview's Living Lab Accelerator programme, which has been given  exposure, guidance, and resources through the collaboration with Finnext Capital as well as through the platform we've created through the setup of the CIC," said Faris.

Such programmes tap into the Financial Technology (Fintech) and Internet of Things (IoT) space.

The 'soft and hard' ecosystem

In July this year, Cyberview also launched a new 'hard and soft infrastructure' platform in Malaysia's Cyberjaya. At the time,  Mahadhir Aziz, who is head of the Technology Hub Development Division of Cyberview, said that there was a need for a platform - called 'Starter Kit' -  to connect individuals with 'movers and shakers' in the technology space.
 The platform, centred in Cyberjaya, adds to its Cyberjaya's transformation into a Global Technology Hub, he said. The city itself is positioned as a testbed for ideas including Smart City solutions to be piloted, validated, and made ready for commercialisation."  (See - Malaysia's Cyberjaya at 'tipping point,' now eyes global tech hub goal.)

Mahadhir added that talent development and engagement "is front and centre in this initiative and falls under the Cyberview Living Lab Talent programme." (See - 2017 Leadership interview: Is 'Smart Innovation' taking centre stage in Malaysia's Digital Economy?)

What will drive this initiative to generate new ideas? He said: "Supporting this proposition is an ecosystem consisting hard and soft infrastructure, talent, incentives, and community. The Starter Kit series will further enrich this ecosystem as we build linkages on a platform built especially for learning and sharing."

Feeding innovation

Acting managing director of Cyberview, Mohd Najib Ibrahim confirmed in August that the current instalment of its accelerator programme is holding to its focus on startups in both the fintech and IoT spaces.

"The previous Cyberview Living Lab Accelerator Programme, which concluded in March, saw the startups gaining a healthy dose of attention from investors during the Demo Day we organised, said Mohd Najib, adding that "discussions are currently on-going with local financial institutions and angel investors. We expect for these to conclude soon."

He explained that the latest accelerator cohort has held to "" a good mix of startups from both fields - three fintech and two IoT startups."

"We recognise that startups play a catalytic role in enriching and amplifying the innovation ecosystem here in the city," added Mohd Najib. "That's why we are constantly on the lookout for brilliant ideas.  "With Cyberview, startups are able to test and tweak their ideas in a real life city setting, and while these solutions will enrich our smart city ecosystem, it is our hope that these solutions will eventually be deployed in other parts of the country so that the nation as a whole is able to benefit from these innovations."

The cohort will again be managed by Finnext Capital, which as programme manager, is tasked to ensure that participants are equipped with sufficient guidance and resources throughout the duration of the programme.

"Similar to the previous instalment of the CLLA, our main aim is for these startups to be pilot-ready after the duration of the programme," said Mahadhir Aziz, adding that the programme prioritises the startups that will add to Cyberjaya's smart city framework.
  The five startups


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