Sunway, JETRO select five Japanese tech start-ups for expansion in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 15 (NNN-BERNAMA) — Five Japanese start-ups — Allm Inc., Smart Drive, Value Drivers, BTM Blockchain Technology and Japan Learning — have been selected for expansion in Malaysia after a 10-month accelerator programme by Sunway iLabs, in collaboration with the Japanese External Trade Organisation (JETRO).

Sunway Group chief innovation officer and Sunway iLabs director Matt van Leeuwen said the accelerator programme, which started in November 2019, is to drive the expansion of selected Japanese technology start-ups in Malaysia, leveraging Sunway’s world-class smart and sustainable city and innovative eco-system, Sunway City Kuala Lumpur.

He said Sunway City Kuala Lumpur is also a living laboratory where innovative ideas are generated and incubated to address challenges facing humanity.

“We developed the Sunway iLabs-JETRO Kuala Lumpur accelerator programme and helped facilitate discussions between industry partners and researchers, and connected the Japanese start-ups with the local eco-system, including venture capitalists, angel investors, entrepreneurs and corporates.

“We will look into designing similar programmes in future to attract foreign direct investments into Malaysia,” he said in a statement Thursday.

Two of the selected start-ups — Smart Drive, a Japan-based pioneer in mobility service and data solution and Allm Inc., a technology provider for the healthcare industry — had recently set up their offices in Malaysia at Sunway Future X.

Sunway Future X is a new skills-building and innovation hub focusing on developing technologies around five key verticals — Smart Cities, Agrifoodtech, Edutech, Digital Health and eCommerce.

Meanwhile, JETRO Kuala Lumpur managing director Mai Onozawa said many Japanese firms are increasingly looking to identify new innovations from foreign companies to bring new ideas and technologies to the Japanese market and network of global clients.

“With the right catalysts such as Sunway Group that has opened up its networks and resources to build collaborative efforts, we can intensify partnerships and collaborations between our two countries,” Onozawa said.

Additionally, focusing on knowledge sharing, mentoring sessions and localised skills, the programme enabled start-ups to learn first-hand about the local start-up eco-system, industry landscape, business culture and regulations. 

The start-ups were able to re-strategise to offer the right product at the right time and increase efficiencies by developing localised products to meet customers’ needs at lesser costs and time.

The programme’s finale saw more than 700 participants in a virtual event entitled “Breaking the code of Japanese-Malaysian Partnerships” held on August 13, 2020.