(Digital News Asia, May 2022) The funding options for Malaysian SMEs and growth-stage businesses have now evolved beyond bank loans, grants, schemes, angel investors and venture capitalists. Equity Crowdfunding (ECF) is gaining popularity as a new and viable way for businesses to raise funds.
To wit, Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) Annual Report 2021 showed total ECF funds raised last year increased to US$50.4 million (RM221.63 million) from US$29 million (RM127.73 million) in 2020.
To tap its full potential, 1337 Ventures, together with Leet Capital introduced the ECF Accelerator Programme, a fundraising bootcamp with the goal of cultivating business founders to be well prepared and well rounded to raise funds via ECF. This is believed to be the first such accelerator in SEA.
This first ever programme is supported by Crowe Malaysia, Zico Law, Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA), Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and Supernewsroom. Among the topics covered during the four-week programme were how to conduct a business valuation, the types of legal instruments required for an ECF raise, the types of grants currently available, what constitutes a good media story, and more.
The bootcamp recently concluded with its inaugural Demo Day, during which participants pitched to judges from prominent investment firms such as The Hive SEA, Tenggara Capital, Gobi Partners, Malaysia Debt Ventures, Kairous Capital, and Rosewood Capital, as well as Suresh Thiru, former CEO of SEEK Asia and seasoned angel investor.
The top two winners were Unearth Sdn Bhd and QueueMed Sdn Bhd. “Through the ECF Accelerator Programme, we managed to gain the attention of some of the most reputed venture capitalists in Malaysia. Doing it alone would have been impossible!” shared Johnson Goh Han Swee, CEO of Unearth.