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  • Writer's pictureKelly Alica Liman

Top 19 Startup Accelerators & Incubators in Malaysia

Aiming to attract 5,000 start-ups by 2030, Malaysia is one of the first ASEAN countries to invest in the digital economy with the establishment of the Malaysian Digital Economy Blueprint. Aside from its strategic location, the connectivity, infrastructure, policies, talent, and strong government support makes Malaysia an ideal environment for startups to sprout - and for accelerators and incubators to nurture.

This article contains a comprehensive list of Malaysia's startup incubators and accelerators. They have been subdivided into applicability for startups in their 'ideation', 'launch', or 'growth' stages, so you can find a program that is suitable for you!


➡️ Click on the link to download ​the FULL LIST of Accelerators & Incubators including over 800+ listings with contact links!




accelerators and incubators in Malaysia
accelerators and incubators in Malaysia

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WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A STARTUP INCUBATOR AND AN ACCELERATOR


With the same goal to help startups grow, accelerators and incubators offer support in the form of mentorship, funding, and networks; which makes it difficult to distinguish between the two. We will shortly discuss the differences so you can have a better idea of which one you should go for.


Coming from the word incubator which describes the device that hatches eggs or cares for premature babies, a startup incubator works to nurture companies at their early stages. The incubators provide coaching, mentoring, and infrastructure to help founders with an idea and business development, and sometimes even personal and entrepreneurial development. As such, incubators tend to focus more on the individual needs of the startup and make it their mission to connect these new founders with other supporters in their network.


Whereas, as the word accelerator indicates, the purpose of a startup accelerator is to boost a startup's growth within a shorter period of time. As such, typically the programs are shorter and more intense, targeted at startups that are slightly later in the stage and have more rounded-out ideas. To get them ready for commercialization and investment, the accelerators are also likely to provide financial support at the cost of equity. The programs usually culminate in a Demo Day whereby startups have the chance to pitch and secure funding from investors.





FULL LIST OF STARTUP INCUBATORS AND ACCELERATORS IN MALAYSIA


Ideation Stage Startup Incubators in Malaysia


Full list of ideation stage startup incubators in Malaysia:





Nexea

  • Who is it for: Aspiring entrepreneurs with an idea and seeking cofounder

  • Need to have an idea: No

  • Focus: Technology

  • Duration: -

  • Application Link


Nexea runs multiple startup development programs including a venture builder/startup incubator, startup accelerator, venture capitalist, angel investors, and entrepreneurship program which encompasses the whole cycle of a startup journey. Their startup incubator will take you from startup formation, and piloting, to growth.


First up, you'll receive help in developing small ideas into stronger ones. If you have entrepreneurial skills and drive but don't have a particular idea yet, you can also make use of their repository of ideas to build a startup. Next, you'll go through idea, market, and growth validation to see if your business can survive. If it passed, then you'll get some pilot funding to launch your product. Finally, they'll help your company to continuously grow through mentoring by seasoned investors in various stages.




StartupJohor

  • Who is it for: Aspiring entrepreneurs with an idea and seeking cofounder

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Sector Agnostic

  • Duration: 3 months

  • Application Link


Startup Johor runs an incubation program to help founders move their startups from ideas to viable products/services. They run a training curriculum using a project-based learning approach, helping entrepreneurs learn the first principles of entrepreneurship by testing out their projects and validating their core hypotheses. You'll receive mentorship throughout the program and equity-free funding to help move ideas forward.





25 Startups

  • Who is it for: Aspiring entrepreneurs with an idea and seeking cofounder

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Blockchain-based Services, AgriTech, FinTech, HealthTech, EdTech, PropTech, HalalTech, InsurTech

  • Duration: -

  • Application Link


Old problem + new technology + big idea = innovation. That's the formula that 25 startups uphold. Their incubators help startups drive innovation starting from the foundation of business down to market research and development. They scout and support the development of IoT and Blockchain projects which in turn fuel the exploration of new products, services, and business models. Aside from providing access to a network of experienced mentors, coaches, and educational programming, 25 Startups also offers a physical, structured environment to help founders innovate, experiment, and develop their businesses.


Fintec Global Berhad

  • Who is it for: Early startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: FinTech, Renewable Technology, Food and Beverage, Precision Engineering, Multimedia Solutions

  • Duration: -

  • Application Link


Established in 2007, Fintec Global Berhad was previously run under the name Asia Bioenergy Technologies Berhad, which focused particularly on startups in the local bioenergy arena. Since then, they have developed to incubate a list of diversified entities in Malaysia across a wide range of sectors, such as engineering, financial technology, food and beverage, and more.


The name "Fintec" which they go by now stands for "financials before technology", meaning that they focus first on existing or potential financial performance in companies before other merits such as technology, business nature, business plan, and others. As such, they don't necessarily care to reinvent the wheel, but to add spokes to what already works.





Launch Stage Startup Incubators and Accelerators in Malaysia


Full list of launch stage startup incubators and accelerators in Malaysia:





Alpha Startups by 1337 Ventures

  • Who is it for: Early startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Technology

  • Duration: 6 weeks

  • Application Link


Organized by 1337 Ventures, a Malaysian early-stage venture capitalist firm, Alpha Startups run accelerator programs that guide early-stage startups to start and run their businesses. For startups in the idea and MVP stage, you can apply to the Alpha Startups Digital Accelerator program to work together with developers and designers to test and validate your ideas and find product-market fit.


It is an intensive bootcamp with expected daily deliverables, but the program is free of charge and you'll get mentorship and priority admission into funding programs by 1337 Ventures. To join, you'll have to be a technology or innovation-enabled business based in Malaysia or serve the Malaysian market, or otherwise have at least one Malaysian co-founder regardless of the market served or geographic location.




Huawei Spark

  • Who is it for: Early startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Technology

  • Duration: 2 months

  • Application Link


Huawei Spark Ignite is a startup competition held by Huawei, a multinational technology corporation, in collaboration with the accelerator Nexea. Through the challenge, selected top 30 startups will get support, mentoring, and workshops from experts, the top 10 will get to present their product live to a Huawei Jury Panel, and the top 3 startups will get a chance to participate in the Huawei Spark global competition.


Some of the perks of joining are getting the business development, networking, fundraising support, and go-to-market support in China and Southeast Asia, plus potential investments by Nexea of RM250,000, and potential follow-on funding of RM1,000,000. To apply, you'll have to be a tech startup that is MVP-ready, have the in-house capacity to make adjustments to your product/service, and is based in Malaysia.





WatchTower and Friends

  • Who is it for: Early startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Technology

  • Duration: 4 months

  • Application Link


With the tagline "We Start Things", WatchTower and Friends runs an accelerator program by people who are passionate about growing exceptional entrepreneurs, having been one themselves. As such, they emphasize finding founders with a strong entrepreneurship DNA. Aside from that, they are also looking for tech companies that have a good chance of growing quickly within and beyond Malaysia.


The program entails mentorship, advisory, services, space, and a Demo Day opportunity. In exchange for participation in the program and up to RM50,000 seed capital, WatchTower and Friends requires an 8% stake in the startup.




FinTech ePayment Accelerator by PayNet

  • Who is it for: Early startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: FinTech

  • Duration: 6 months

  • Application Link


FinTech ePayment Accelerator is organized by Payments Network Malaysia Sdn Bhd (PayNet), the national payments network and shared central infrastructure in Malaysia's financial markets. With the mission to promote accessible payments for all, they are looking for safe, reliable, and efficient digital innovations by FinTech companies.


In particular, they look for companies working towards the adoption of ePayments, improvement of existing products, and introduction of new business solutions, with the end goal of accelerating the adoption of electronic payments (ePayments) in the country. The selected proposal will be incentivized with funds up to RM 500,000 to support the execution of the Proof of Concept (POC) in collaboration with PayNet's Participants to commercialize the idea.





Bio-based Accelerator Program

  • Who is it for: Early startup with a team, Mature startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Biotechnology

  • Duration: -

  • Application Link


The Bio-based Accelerator program is designed to help bio-based startups promote innovation and increase business performance by infusing science, technology, and automation into their companies. You'll receive guidance and participate in tailored development programs that will help you identify gaps in skills, technology adoption, and financial, regulatory, and product marketability.


At the end of the program, your startup should have the technology and commercial readiness capable of applying for but not limited to GMP, HACCP, MESTI, and Halal certification. Approved companies that incorporate specific biotechnology elements in their production processes can then apply for the BioNexus Status which comes with tax incentives for up to 10 years.


To qualify, your company needs to be a legal entity that undertakes biotechnology or bio-based activities (products/services) in Malaysia, has a minimum paid-up capital of RM50,000 or an annual sales of RM80,000, and has or plans to adopt technology in its production and employs full-time employees.




Selangor Accelerator Program

  • Who is it for: Early startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Agritech, Greentech, Smart City, FinTech, HealthTech

  • Duration: 3 months

  • Application Link


The Selangor Accelerator Programme is a structured 3-month program that will take startups in the early stage to become investment-ready. Since 2018, they have nurtured 120 startups through four cohorts with a record of 41 SAP alumni having successfully raised funds. Following the program, you'll not only develop your product and business, but you would also polish your core team and soft skills through the workshops and mentoring.


The program culminates in a Demo Day, where the top 5 startups will stand a chance to win a cash prize pool of RM50,000. The program takes no equity and charges zero fees, with the criterion being: early-stage Malaysian tech startup (pre-seed/seed), registered with Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia (SSM), and able to field an MVP or a beta version of their product or services.





Cyberview Living Lab

  • Who is it for: Early startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: FinTech, Internet-of-Things (IoT), Robotics & Artificial Intelligence, Retail Tech

  • Duration: 5 months

  • Application Link


Cyberview Living Lab Accelerator program empowers promising startups by providing real-life settings for proof-of-concept testing in the Cyberview Living Lab, a smart city that works as a testbed for innovations. It is part of Cyberview, a government-owned company under the Ministry of Finance, mandated by the Malaysian Government to spearhead the development of Cyberjaya to create a Global Tech Hub. Within the smart city, you can leverage and maximize the infrastructure and facilities to experiment, validate, pilot, and launch your solutions before launching into the real world.




Sunway iLabs Super Accelerator

  • Who is it for: Early startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: EduTech, Smart City, Digital Health, AgrifoodTech, Retail Tech, FinTech

  • Duration: 4 months

  • Application Link


Sunway iLabs is a not-for-profit initiative by Sunway University, Sunway Group, and Sunway Ventures with the goal to foster entrepreneurship and stimulate market-driven innovations. Their accelerator program involves shortlisting the top 20 startups for a 1-month pre-accelerator, of which the top 5 startups will go through to the next 3-months accelerator, culminating in a Demo Day.


Aside from access to market, mentors, and money, Sunway iLabs will provide support, network opportunities, and a testbed environment through Sunway's group resources and partners. To join, your startup needs to have a market-ready MVP or commercialized product and service, market growth potential, synergy with Sunway Group and is registered SDN BHD (based and operates in Malaysia).





HLB Launchpad

  • Who is it for: Early startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Sector Agnostic

  • Duration: 6 months

  • Application Link


HLB Launchpad is an acceleration program organized by Hong Leong Bank, a major publicly listed banking group in Malaysia. Through the program, they are seeking and supporting innovative ideas to deliver banking experiences that are fair, simple, personalized, and proactive. However, they are not fin-tech focused and will partner with startups from any sector that is able to contribute to helping the customers, community, and bank across their 5 HLB sustainability themes.


To qualify, your startup needs to have an MVP, are in operation for >1 year with sales generated, and have a presence in Malaysia. Ten shortlisted startups will present their final pitch to HLB C-suite on Demo Day, in which 3 winners will receive mentorship sessions with their C-suite, Business Heads, and Partners as well as a 6-month pilot project with the bank.




Penang Startup Accelerator Program

  • Who is it for: Early startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Sector Agnostic

  • Duration: 6 months

  • Application Link


Penang Startup Accelerator Program is a collaboration between Penang Youth Development Corporation (PYDC), Vincaps Capital, and Big Domain. The accelerator program is geared toward getting founders and entrepreneurs ready for the market and investors and increase their competitive advantage.


Through the program, you'll get access to fully-funded local and overseas corporate field trips, pitching clinics, upskilling sessions, and pitch opportunities. At the end of the program, it is expected that the startup will be ready throughout all key business elements - business, founder, market, and investor. The program is open to all early and mid-stage startups by Malaysians between the age of 18 – 35.





Founder Institute

  • Who is it for: Aspiring entrepreneurs with an idea and seeking cofounder, Early startup with a team, Mature startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Sector Agnostic

  • Duration: 4 months

  • Application Link


Founder Institute runs a renowned global acceleration program, including one in Kuala Lumpur. They have a highly structured program that covers various stages of the venture journey. Starting from the Core program, founders at the idea and pre-seed stages are guided and supported to reach their own unique milestones needed for investment and sustained growth.


At the end of the program, graduated startups should be on track for either launch or growth. The program is unique as it implements learning by doing with real-world business-building sprints, highly-structured growth sprints with weekly deliverables, and weekly feedback sessions, office hours, and working groups to ensure that you're constantly working towards your startup's development. There is a one-time Entrance Fee to start the FI Core Program, but it is 100% refundable before the 3rd session of the program.



MYStartup Accelerator

  • Who is it for: Early startup with a team, Mature startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Technology

  • Duration: 6 months

  • Application Link


The MYStartup Accelerator is aimed at early to growth-stage startups and scale-ups located in Malaysia that are MVP or revenue-generating and looking to expand regionally and globally. Their program masterclasses involve topics such as market expansion, digital marketing, financial modelling and valuation, corporate engagement, growth marketing, and VC engagement series.


Aside from the masterclasses and mentorship, startups also have the potential to receive RM 50,000 to RM 250,000, and RM 1,000,000 investments and grants up to RM 600,000 per startup. Beyond that, you'll also get the opportunity to pilot projects with the 80+ corporate partners in the program, who might be interested to be your customer, your partner, or your investors.





Cradle

  • Who is it for: Early startup with a team, Mature startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Technology

  • Duration: -

  • Application Link

Cradle is an agency under the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation that is formed to create an ecosystem supporting technology entrepreneurs and innovators. Whilst they do not explicitly act as an accelerator, they run various programs that involve monetary aid, commercialization support, and other value-added services. For instance, CIP Spark and Spring provide a grant of up to RM150,000 and RM600,000 respectively for the development, pre-commercialization, and commercialization of technology start-ups.


Upon receiving the fund, the recipients are supported with business networking opportunities and other value-add services to prepare them for business model development, market validation, and market access. They also offer a Coach & Grow Programme that brings together key players in the entrepreneurial ecosystem to provide entrepreneurs with the tools and 'show-how' to implement strategies and plans during the commercialization and growth stages.




Growth Stage Startup Accelerators in Malaysia


Full list of growth stage startup accelerators in Malaysia:





ScaleUp Malaysia

  • Who is it for: Mature startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Technology

  • Duration: 3 months

  • Application Link


ScaleUp Malaysia runs an accelerator program that will take your business from startup to scaleup. Using a Pegasus model, their philosophy is in building businesses that have high revenue growth and a path to profitability. Their focus goes beyond just helping companies raise their next round, but also developing the right strategy and model for growth and regional expansion. They will act as your invisible management team, partner, and potential investors. Some of the companies that they have assisted are Agiliux, Vireserve, Open Academy, and Guruinovatif.id.




MRANTI Global Accelerator Program

  • Who is it for: Mature startup with a team

  • Need to have an idea: Yes

  • Focus: Sector Agnostic

  • Duration: 2 months

  • Application Link

MRANTI Global Accelerator program focuses on accelerating your startup to be commercialization and investment-ready. They have different accelerator themes which will guide companies to adopt new technologies catering to the specific industry. As part of the program, you'll learn three core modules: investment readiness, market expansion, and technology commercialization.


Aside from that, you'll gain access to potential capital from MRANTI ecosystem, learning access to MRANTI’s Digital Business Academy, National Technology & Innovation Sandbox (NTIS) testbed environment, and potential partnerships and collaboration with global and regional corporates. To join, your company needs to fit into the listed thematic industry, incorporated as Sdn. Bhd. / Ptd Ltd. and in operation for more than 1 year.





Closing Thoughts on Startup Incubators and Accelerators in Malaysia


In this list, we have introduced you to 19 startup incubators and accelerators available in Malaysia. Although it may seem like plenty of choices, not all of them are suitable for every startup. You should pick an accelerator based on what your startup needs and lacks. For instance, you'll find that some accelerators may have more capacities in some areas than others.


So, depending if you need more mentoring, networking, workshops, or funding, some accelerators might be more suitable for you than others. Lastly, the number of companies is not an indicator of a good accelerator, but the quality and traction of their companies are, so make sure you do thorough research before joining any accelerator.








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