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ScaleUp Malaysia Activates 12-Month Programme To Build The Nation's 'Soonicorns'


Looking to introduce a new race of unicorns, Startup accelerator, ScaleUp Accelerator Sdn Bhd (ScaleUp Malaysia) has allied themselves with Proficeo Consultants Sdn Bhd (Profiiceo) to initiate a program designed to grooms the nation’s next age of unicorns


Done in partnership with Penjana Kapital Sdn Bhd (Penjana Kapital) and Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation Sdn Bhd (MDEC), the 12-month program, dubbed ‘100 Soonicorns’, aims to drive Malaysia towards achieving its goal of creating five unicorns by 2025.


According to Andre Sequerah, Managing Partner at ScaleUp Malaysia, there are more than 2,500 active startups in Malaysia, with the landscape posing enormous potential to build disruptive businesses that are resilient, sustainable, and poised to be the nation’s unicorns of tomorrow.


“This joint programme will enable us to take budding Soonicorns on our radar and mould them into Unicorns through a structured, pragmatic and targeted program. The 100 Soonicorns program will help bolster these startups, providing them with the necessary support from resources as well as peers to steer them as they make their way to the top,” he said.


Coined from the phrase “soon-to-be unicorns”, Soonicorns are generally defined as tech-based startups that display exponential scaling prospects and have the potential to become unicorns with proper funding from an angel investor or venture capitalist.


The programme is an ecosystem-driven catalyst that will prime startups as they navigate their challenge-riddled journey to becoming unicorns.

To participate, invited startups need to have raised at least USD$1 million from a Venture Capital firm or institutional investor; or have generated USD$2 million in revenue over the last 12 months. 100 Soonicorns will be executed in three phases, with the first phase to see the team identifying the top one hundred (100) startups in Malaysia with the propensity to become Unicorns.


The startups will then be nurtured via a founders-supporting-founders syllabus which includes structured problem-solving, capacity development sessions, networking and like-minded peer-to-peer support, in the second phase.


Finally, twenty (20) startups out of the 100 will be selected to go on to receive tailored learning, mentoring, regulatory assistance and funding from investors, government agencies and other ecosystem players.


“We have always believed that developing an ecosystem requires more than just financial capital. 100 Soonicorns is an initiative that provides the right stimulus to help up-and-coming entrepreneurs maximise their potential through a very exclusive programme designed to meet their needs,” said Taufiq Iskandar, Chief Executive Officer of Penjana Kapital.


MDEC Chief Executive Officer Ts. Mahadhir Aziz also added that the organization is committed to the national goal of creating five Unicorns by 2025 and the recent roll-out of the Malaysia Digital (MD) national strategic initiative will further catalyse this effort.


“MD seeks to increase overall ecosystem value, providing targeted assistance and resources that Soonicorns need, in their final push towards Unicorn status. Private-public effective collaborations such as this will be key.”


Two cohorts of the 100 Soonicorns program will kick off in the first quarter of 2023 with 16 startup chief executive officers in each. By the end of 2023, 100 Soonicorns will be running six cohorts and supporting 100 CEOs.

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