[This is a sponsored article with Cyberview.]
In 2020, the pandemic launched a wrench in the functioning of the world, upsetting global economies. Locally, 89.9% of SMEs there was a drop in sales during the first motion control (MCO) order.
Demand for e-commerce and digital services skyrocketed overnight; the nation prioritized solutions from home, pushing brick and mortar stores to an unfavorable position. And if they didn’t adapt to meet the changing demands of consumers, they would face closure.
To support companies that pivot to focus on demand, accelerators like the Cyberview Living Lab Accelerator (CLLA) were also forced to change.
Note: Cyberview is a developer of Tech Hub, which leads the development of Cyberjaya.
Previously, CLLA worked with a business creation accelerator model, which helped startups be prepared for investment, providing networking opportunities and more. But now they have switched to Demand-driven accelerator model instead.
Do accelerators even have to evolve?
The Cyberview team detailed the change as an upside-down accelerator model, where approved startups address specific issues such as infrastructure, transportation and others in Cyberjaya. Basically, CLLA used to help startups solve problems. They are now recruiting emerging companies that can solve the city’s problems.
This change is part of the new Cyberjaya Master plan, mandated by the government for supplement the development of the smart city in a global technology center.
Shafinaz Salim, head of Cyberview’s technology center development division, said the new accelerator model is a response to ever-changing consumer demands.
Test products in real conditions
Cyberview wants to encourage and create startups that excel in these specific areas: Artificial Intelligence (AI), Fintech, Internet of Things (IoT), Retail Tech, Smart Mobility, Smart Healthcare and Digital Creative.
They expect these startups to come up with harmful technologies that they can bring changes to the industry and drive the growth and development of the sector. The ultimate goal is to improve the digital capacity of the nation and the livelihood of Malaysians.
One of the CLLA students, MedKad, shares the same vision: to create a good quality, affordable and convenient solution for the community. MedKad is a medical benefit management platform that helps entrepreneurs and businesses automate the process.
Ezuan Yaacob, CEO of MedKad, said the community that accepts Cyberjaya is one of the key benefits of the program. Test your solutions in real life situations helped the team gain an invaluable experience, which can then be translated into better end products for the general public.
To date, MedKad has successfully incorporated 90% of Cyberjaya’s medical clinics, which consist of GP clinics, hospitals, dental centers and opticians.
Ezuan shared two key features that demand-driven startups should have: to always be up to date with current market trends and also to seek strategic collaborations.
Go more together
Darween Reza, CEO of My Conceptual Robotics (MyCRO), another CLLA alumnus, also takes collaborations very seriously. MyCRO is a startup focused on R&D solutions, especially deep technology and robotics.
“It’s not always a competition. Even for those who are part of the same industry, it’s not about who can do it better or faster all the time, ”said Darween.
Giving more context, Shafinaz explained that at CLLA they value the power of teamwork and collaboration to meet challenges. After managing 85 startups in 15 cohorts, their programs are designed to prepare and help startups build relevant connections that can help them meet challenges directly.
Through CLLA, MyCRO collaborated with several public universities in Cyberjaya to test one of its projects. They built a cloud-based dashboard that allows the factory owner to track the use of energy, water and more of a building without being physically there.
As a boot chosen by CLLA, MyCRO is also adaptable.
To help Malaysians with their daily routine during the pandemic, they partnered with the University of Malaya to build a IoT smart thermometer which allows users to track body temperature using an app.
Darween shared that the journey to being a demand-driven start-up is difficult, and that they continue to work toward that goal. He believes that a company can thrive if there is demand and support, but what remains the same is that companies need to be agile and adapt to the current situation.
“I like the idea of failing quickly, recovering quickly. A good entrepreneur must always be ready, ”said Darween.
Keep pace with your abilities
A demand-driven startup is not created in a day. Nik Muhammad Amin, the CEO of Moovby, believes that any demand-driven company faces a problem of eggs and chickens. If there is no demand, there is no solution, and vice versa.
He said persistence is key, but first you need to start small. “Overengineering can be poisonous and can even potentially kill a startup.”
As one more player in the smart city, Moovby is a peer-to-peer car-sharing platform with the goal of integrating into the regional transportation system. Nik mentioned some key benefits of car sharing: reducing the environmental impact of commuting, reducing parking demand, and increasing regional economic activity.
CLLA has taught its team to build a product that adapts to the market, to better understand the acquisition strategies and the importance of marketing and branding for a demand-driven startup.
Nik believes startups should not rush into things just because they want to succeed. “It’s not easy to get users. Make sure you create a strong brand presence and gain trust first ”.
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If you are interested in these CLLA alumni exchanges, here are some criteria you must meet to join the program:
- Must have a minimum viable product (MVP),
- Be current, relevant and adaptable to the post-pandemic era,
- Being at a stage that can be sustainable,
- Strong advocates of digitalization and aligns with Cyberview’s new areas of technology focus,
- You have a solid team with strong founders or co-founders.
- For more information about the Cyberview Living Lab Accelerator (CLLA) program, click here.
- Find out what we wrote earlier about Cyberview here.
Featured Image Credit: Nik Muhammad Amin, CEO of Moovby / Darween Reza, CEO of MyCRO and Ezuan Yaacob, CEO of MedKad, Cyberview