- Eighteen winners will represent Malaysia at the Asean awards in December
- Dropee wins two awards – founder of the year and best newcomer
“LAST year we were worried that there was a startup slowdown in Malaysia. But we see a jump in this year’s numbers,” shared Lilyana Abdul Latiff, the chief executive officer (CEO) of New Entrepreneurs Foundation (MyNEF), at the Malaysia Rice Bowl Startup Awards 2018 on Sept 28.
This year’s Malaysian Rice Bowl Startup Awards received 120 company submissions and expanded to 18 categories. The winner of the Startup of the Year category was Carsome while Founder of the Year went to Lennise Ng of Dropee, which was also awarded Best Newcomer.
“I find this incredibly momentous as I never thought I would receive this acknowledgement at such a young age, but this experience shows me that as long as I focus on honing my leadership skills and developing more value-add for customers, people will eventually take notice,” shared 26 year-old Ng.
As for Carsome, the founder Eric Cheng believes more people are taking heed of its value proposition – many of the judges also had experienced selling their cars via Carsome.
Talking about the win, Cheng says, “We have demonstrated the ability to replicate the business and scale beyond Malaysia to Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore which we believe gave us an edge over the other nominees.”
Presenting the main awards for the night was Gobind Singh Deo, the Minister of Communications and Multimedia. In his speech, Gobind highlighted the importance of the tech industry as a key economic pillar.
He explained the Ministry’s commitment to improving the telecommunications and content infrastructure of Malaysia, “Only with fast and efficient internet, networks and cloud infrastructure – can new industries and tech-driven communities be created.”
Some other notable wins were Hyperlab (Best AI/ Machine Learning Startup), Jom Parking (Best IoT Startup) and Vidi (Best Life Helper). Winners in each of the 18 categories will compete at the four-day finale Asean Rice Bowl Startup Awards 2018 in Bali, Indonesia this December.
Beyond the awards ceremony, MyNEF also took the opportunity to pay tribute to the Malaysian tech industry by exhibiting a simple timeline of growth from 1996 to 2018, and to the late CEO of Cradle, Nazrin Hassan.
The gallery set-up of the Malaysian tech industry featured key milestones such as the introduction of the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) in 1996, the formation Cradle fund in 2003, the establishment of Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC) in 2014 and Grab’s acquisition of Uber’s Southeast Asian operations in 2018.
Some notable figures highlighted were Dr Mohammad Awang Lah, the CEO of Jaring and Cheryl Yeoh, the founding CEO of MaGIC.
Meanwhile, as the founder and past president of the Technopreneurs Association of Malaysia (TeAM), Dr. V. Sivapalan shared his experience of working with Nazrin. “He came up with the concept of grants to fund the ecosystem and he pushed it all the way by presenting to then and current prime minister, Tun Mahathir,” he said to demonstrate Nazrin’s drive and determination.