ASEAN Tech Challenge

NSW and other Australian startups were put through their paces by leading ASEAN investors this month for a shot at securing key investment into their business and a trip to Malaysia.

The Sydney Startup Hub and Austrade played host to the ASEAN Tech Challenge with NSW startups making 24 of the 38 Australian firms represented.

After a day of intense pitching, 13 NSW startups were selected for a second day of meetings including one on one meetings with investors.

Key investors who participated in the challenge included RedBeat Ventures – AirAsia, the digital business arm of a leading Malaysian budget airline, PETRONAS Technology Venture Capital, the VC arm of Malaysian oil and gas multinational and Kickstart, a wholly-owned corporate venture capital subsidiary of Philippines telco firm, Globe Telecom.

Unlike other pitch events the startups weren’t talking solely about their business but pitched solutions in an attempt to solve key business problems faced by the investors.

Proposed solutions cut across sectors including financial technology, cybersecurity, resources and energy, logistics and supply chain, travel and hospitality, retail and the internet of things.

Successful participants will now proceed to the ‘proof of concept’ stage on their proposed solutions.

As part of the ASEAN Tech Challenge participants also had the opportunity to attend the ASEAN Tech Thought Leadership Forum and learn from experts on engagement in ASEAN in the technology sector.

The leadership forum included Aireen Omar, CEO RedBeat Ventures (AirAsia), Minette Navarrete, President of Kickstart Ventures, Gopi Ganesalingam, Vice President of Enterprise Development at Malaysia Digital Economic Corporation (MDEC), and Mukund Narayanamurti, CEO Asialink Business. The forum was moderated by Vincent Fong, Chief Editor of FinTech News Malaysia.

At the leadership forum Gopi Ganesalingam, Vice President of Enterprise Development at Malaysia Digital Economic Corporation (MDEC) said “In Malaysia, there is a huge startup culture of 'pay it forward'. Companies will work with startups like you, they will mentor startups like you,” Mr Ganesalingam said.

NSW is excited at the prospect of further deepening and strengthening our relationships with ASEAN member countries in existing areas of cooperation, as well as exploring new trade and investment opportunities that will offer mutual benefits.

David Albaiceta, NSW Trade & Investment Director, Kuala Lumpur said that the event was an opportunity for NSW to strengthen ties with key ASEAN countries, Malaysia in particular.

“It’s appropriate that the Sydney Startup Hub played host to this event. NSW is Australia’s Startup State and we are leaders in terms of a thriving startup ecosystem. What’s key is that NSW startups look abroad for investment and expansion and events like this help that process,” Mr Albaiceta said.

“We’ll be looking to leverage this event to forge ever deeper connections into ASEAN markets,” he said.

“We are looking at ways to continue to work with partners in the region as NSW startups are ideally placed to solve the big problems.

The ASEAN region is already NSW’s second-largest trading partner, with almost $20 billion worth of goods moving between NSW and ASEAN member countries each year. And the potential for growth is significant.