Several “accelerators”, or companies that help, mentor and invest in start-ups have noticed the rise of such online businesses and its potential in the future.
WTF Accelerator co-founder Kashminder Singh says the company has witnessed very encouraging growth of start-ups over the past five years.
“As in other parts of the world, new businesses that leverage on new technologies have arisen.
“No start-up is truly unique, as innovation and creativity is such that there is always another start-up somewhere else in the world trying to tackle similar problems.
“But I do think that after low hanging fruits have been addressed, Malaysian start-ups are now focusing on more niche ideas.
“In other words, they are solving problems that are unique to our times,” he explains.
One of the most interesting online services that the company has helped is The Aqiqah (theaqiqah.com), which solves the niche problem of sourcing for goats to be used for sacrificial animals at religious functions.
1337 Ventures Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Bikesh Lakhmichand concurs that the start-up scene in Malaysia has matured in the last few years.
“There has been a significant decline in ‘me-too’ ideas and hence, the rise of a unique take on certain solutions.
“Malaysia is definitely ready for more online services and apps.
“How many times do you see someone in a physical store checking prices of a product on an online marketplace to ensure they get the best deal?
“SMEs that have not figured out a digital solution for themselves would be losing out on this,” he says.
On his advice to aspiring entrepreneurs, Bikesh asks them to figure out important aspects first.
“Do you know who your customers are? More importantly do you know who would be your earliest adopter?
“What are their biggest pain points in the area you are trying to solve? What are the alternative solutions the customers are currently using that you are going up against?” he points out.
Code Army founder Zafrul Noordin says anyone looking to start their own business should keep three action points in mind.
“Firstly, learn to build the ‘right’ start-up team. Your people can either help you sail or make you sink.
“Secondly, study the market and figure out the best timing for your product or service offer to be released.
“And thirdly, don’t dive head first. Invest money and time to learn start-up skills before launching a start-up,” he advises.
Zafrul says there are noticeable segments of the Malaysian population who are driving demand for mobile apps and online products and services.
“But entrepreneurs should also think of the Asean market from day one. But start small and keep it focused in your local area,” he adds.