Malaysia’s MaGIC, Uber, And Digi Initiate Ideation Lab – ASEAN’s Next Great Idea To Groom Selected Startups

Malaysia's MaGIC, Uber, Digi Kick Off Ideation Lab To Groom Select Startups

Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC), ride-hailing app Uber and Telecom operator Digi have initiated an ideation lab whereby 20 startups throughout Southeast Asia will be groomed to be investment-ready and this does not require any equity from the participants. A few selected ones will also proceed to the next round and be given the chance to meet early stage investors.

The program is a six-day initiative known as “ASEAN’s Next Great Idea” which will conclude on November 30. Mentors at the MaGIC include Chelsey Lepage, Innovation Lead at UNICEF, Prashant Pathmanaban, Head of Technology at Google and Michael Octoman, Partner at Navis Capital, among others.

“During the program, the top 20 startups – shortlisted from a pool of 417 applicants – will learn how to develop three key aspects of their future business which are their customer, product, and market,” MaGIC said in an announcement on Tuesday.

Additionally, the lab will also provide participants with direct access to the best resources in the ecosystem: MaGIC’s expertise in building entrepreneurs, Uber’s real world experiences, and Digi Incub8’s strength in startup strategy. All these will help the entrepreneurs to fine-tune their ideas or concepts and create a working prototype, preparing them for the next stage of seed investment and funding.

Following this, the top 10 participants will present their refined business ideas to key executives from MaGIC, Uber, and Digi at the Global Entrepreneurship Community event on December 8 in Kuala Lumpur. Furthermore, qualified ideas will have the opportunity to meet early stage investors and key players within the entrepreneurship ecosystem in San Francisco, as well as a visit to Uber’s Silicon Valley headquarters.

“I hope with programs such as ASEAN’s Next Great Idea lab, more and more individuals are encouraged to come forward with their ideas and develop them further. The emergence of new ideas is what keeps our entrepreneurship ecosystem growing,” said MaGIC CEO Ashran Dato’ Ghazi.

With this, ASEAN’s startup ecosystem will continue to thrive with ideas that can dramatically shape people’s digital lifestyles with their smart devices. While the role MaGIC plays is through instilling an entrepreneurial mindset where solving a problem is at the heart of any startup.

“The ambition now is to help translate the growth potential of these ideas and startups into creating long-term, sustainable businesses,” Digi’s Chief Digital Officer, Praveen Rajan added.

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By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

China’s HTC Places US$1.5 Billion Investment Fund In Research Center For Virtual Reality

China HTC Invests US$1.5 Billion Investment Fund In Research Center For Virtual Reality

The Virtual Reality hype continues to grow in China as Taiwan-listed smartphone maker HTC Corporation advances its grip in the sector by creating an RMB 10 billion (about US$1.5 billion) investment fund in a VR research center. This is a sector that the company has taken interest this year when it decided to diversify its range of products through expanding to VR devices amid a declining demand for cell phones in the global market.

On a similar vein, HTC Corporation has previously launched HTC Vive, the company’s first VR device that met the market last year in Beijing. Following this, the company now pursue to sign a strategic partnership with Shenzhen municipal government in China, creating a research center that is meant to boost virtual reality developments.

Based on the partnership agreement, Shenzhen municipal will support HTC to form the China VR Research Institute and promote Virtual Reality development together with the establishment of the US$1.5 Billion Shenzhen VR Industry Fund.

The new investment fund targets to attract enterprises involved in the VR industry, and investment from within China and other countries as well. The new partnership is determined to achieve breakthroughs in the core technologies of sensors, display, graphics, data visualization, human-machine interaction, and other related areas.

It will also create an innovation system in which enterprises, universities, research institutes, and investment organizations can all participate and drive the evolution of the ecosystem together. VR technology applications across various industries, such as healthcare, military, engineering, design, and manufacturing, will be highlighted.

Established by HTC and the Shenzhen Industry Guiding Fund, the Shenzhen VR Investment Fund is visioned to become the world’s largest single VR-focused fund, assisting the development of the VR sector as well as accelerating the growth of related startups.

From June to October this year, HTC assisted the Shenzhen Municipal Science and Technology Innovation Committee in creating the Action Plan for Promoting Technological Innovation and Industry Application in Shenzhen’s VR Industry (2016-2020). This cooperation was touted as instrumental in laying a foundation of collaboration for the future development of VR.

Prior to this, the Taiwan-based consumer electronics firm HTC Corp has also admitted eight new members to the Virtual Reality Venture Capital Alliance (VRVCA) which is a consortium of the world’s top VCs who aim to invest and support. The event is supported by 42 investors members.

“Virtual reality will transform the way we interact with the world. We can see enormous business opportunities arising from this disruptive innovation,” Cher Wang, co-founder and CEO of HTC said.

VR is forecast to be a US$30 billion market by 2020, according to tech M&A advisor Digi-Capital. Henceforth, the company US$10 billion investment would be a third of the industry’s total market size in the next four years.

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media