By Sulyn Chong
SHAH ALAM, Feb 14 — The Selangor Information Technology and Digital Economy Corporation (Sidec) invites all tech-related startups to join the Pitch Malaysia USA Series 2023, with applications open starting February 20 until March 10.
State executive councillor for investment Dato’ Teng Chang Khim said the programme is the third iteration of Sidec leading a diversified team of ‘Truly Asia Startups’ to explore the United States (US), and an expansion of the two previous moonshot projects in 2020 and 2022 where they organised pitch programmes in Silicon Valley only.
“The Pitch Malaysia USA Series 2023 will witness 10 Malaysian startups (shortlisted from the initial list of applicants) pitching in both the Silicon Valley and in Washington DC.
“It is one of the most ambitious pitching programmes organised by the Malaysian ecosystem enablers in the US. This four-in-one pitch programme aims to highlight our startups, placing them in the spotlight of global investors to scale globally,” he said in his opening remarks during the Sidec and United States Embassy in Malaysia engagement session, and the Launching Ceremony of the Selangor Sandbox Coworking Space in i-City, Shah Alam, earlier today.
Teng said the programme is open to all tech startups, especially those who deem themselves as ‘disruptors’ in whatever field of their choosing.
“We hope the participants will have opportunities to convince investors to invest in their companies. We also hope they will be able to further improve their products in either tangible or intangible forms.
“We hope to help create more unicorn companies by 2025, per the Federal government’s aspirations. I believe that Selangor, through Sidec, will be able to assist in achieving the objective set,” he said.
The Pitch Malaysia USA Series 2023 will select 10 tech startups to represent Malaysia at pitching showcases in the US, with the application period running from February 20 to March 10.
This is a platform for investment-ready local startups to showcase and expand their business potential into the American market. Shortlisted participants will be informed on March 16 and working visits to the USA will begin from April 25 and go on until May 3.
The programme’s selection criteria includes companies that must be incorporated for less than 10 years in Malaysia (on or after January 1, 2023), have raised US$500,000 (RM2.17 million) from a venture capital firm or institutional investor, has generated at least US$1 million (RM4.35 million) in revenue over the last 12 months, and is developing new technology products of services, providing disruptive innovation, and is capable of scaling new markets.
In conjunction with the working visit, participants will also get a chance to join the SelectUSA Tech event from May 1 to May 4 in Maryland, US.
United States Ambassador to Malaysia Brian D. McFeeters said the event is an ideal platform for connecting early-stage and startup technology companies from various countries with prospects in the US.
“International tech companies that invest in the US can benefit in many ways, from our strong protection of intellectual property rights laws, to accessing our large consumer market,” he said.
Meanwhile, Teng, McFeeters and Sidec chief executive officer Yong Kai Ping launched the Selangor Sandbox Coworking Space, which was witnessed by Invest Selangor Berhad chief executive officer Datuk Hasan Azhari Idris.
Teng said the Selangor Sandbox is one of the few vanguard coworking spaces that applies ESG elements in a creative zone, with solar panels soon to be installed in order to to power it.
“All these are part of the efforts to build an ecosystem for collaboration, networking, mentoring and resource sharing, to build something that can make Selangor become the digital hub for Southeast Asia.
“For the past seven years, thousands of small-and-medium enterprise owners, e-commerce merchants, startup founders and students, have found a home here and we are looking forward to Selangor Sandbox scaling to greater heights in the future,” he said.
The Selangor Sandbox Coworking Space was rebranded from Selangor Digital Creative Centre (SDCC) which began operations in 2015. Located at i-City in Shah Alam, the 14,000 square feet space is purpose-built for networking, mentoring, brainstorming, spurring creativity and resource sharing. It also includes a seminar room, multiple meeting rooms, a library, a gym and rest areas.