KUALA LUMPUR, 22 November 2021 - PETRONAS hosted the FutureTech 2.0 Accelerator Digital Demo Day today, wrapping up an intensive 12-week virtual programme that saw Malaysia's brightest startups undergo masterclasses, workshops and coaching by mentors and experts from PETRONAS, Telekom Malaysia (TM), Sime Darby Plantation (SDP) and 500 Global.
At the event, 20 deep tech startups pitched their business solutions virtually to venture capitalists, top executives from Malaysian government agencies and Government-linked companies and key members of the Malaysian and regional start-up ecosystem.
The startups presented solutions related to artificial intelligence (AI), drones, robotics, automation, the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4), digital platforms, AgriTech, FoodTech, renewable energy, and HR tech. They were given the opportunity to work with business mentors to identify potential collaborations for business solutions via proof of concepts (POC) or pilot projects. Following the Demo Day, these startups will be equipped with newly gained resources and insights to accelerate their business solutions in Malaysia and beyond.
The three selected startups from this year's demo day - Boom Grow, Bumi Data Mining and e-Komoditi will take part in a five-day immersion programme hosted by 500 Global in Singapore early next year. The immersion experience aims to strengthen their business development efforts as well as further enable expansion opportunities into new markets.
FutureTech was first launched in 2019 to encourage local innovations and support Malaysian startups to succeed in the global marketplace while serving PETRONAS' business needs.
"Following the success of the 19-strong startup cohort of the inaugural FutureTech Accelerator programme, we are excited to continue expanding the potential of the startup community here in Malaysia. Supported by the commitment from PETRONAS and partners TM, SDP and 500 Global, these startups will drive innovation by leaps and bounds ahead of their peers," said Arni Laily Anwarrudin, Head of PETRONAS Ventures.
"We are at the critical juncture where corporates must rapidly innovate to remain competitive and when immersed with the creative startups that possess agility and innovative ideas, the combined collaboration will is expected to harness immense technological advancement for everyone" Arni added.
Realising the impact from the first programme, PETRONAS recognised bigger prospects towards nation-building and saw collaboration with major technology-driven corporations such as TM and SDP as a way to enrich the ecosystem. Through FutureTech 2.0, TM and SDP are able to leverage on a single platform to engage with the nation's entrepreneurs directly as well as advance their innovation agenda.
TM Chief Strategy Officer, Tengku Muneer Tengku Muzani commented, "TM is driven towards building a Digital Malaysia. As we evolve to become a human-centred technology company, our relationship with participating startups will become even more meaningful to create a thriving technology-driven ecosystem. Together with PETRONAS and SDP, we truly hope to discover Malaysia's next unicorn."
SDP Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer, Dr Shariman Alwani Mohamed said co-innovating with new startups allows the Company to tap into new ideas and synergies that can help resolve its pain points.
"Throughout FutureTech 2.0, our top leaders worked side-by-side with selected startups to assess their proposed solutions via proof-of-concepts, as well as explore pilot study and projects that we can collaborate with them. As a result, we are excited to have identified opportunities in multiple areas, including new product applications as well as efficient solutions for digital monitoring of oil palm estates and mills operations which are valuable in our aim to push towards precision agriculture," he added.
"One thing we often hear from startups is that it can take a week to present their solutions to a corporation, but two years to scope a proof-of-concept," said Ee Ling Lim, Regional Director of Asia Pacific, 500 Global. "We're proud to see FutureTech delivering on its mission of providing an efficient platform for startups to connect with the right decision-makers in the corporate sphere, gain direct access to the industry experts, fast-track the process of collaborative innovation, and turn hypothesised proof-of-concepts into commercial realities."
The first of its kind in Malaysia, the FutureTech Accelerator programme was conceptualised to offer scaling up opportunities to startups in Malaysia's burgeoning deep tech ecosystem. PETRONAS Ventures funded two startups from the first cohort - robotics and automation for agriculture technology startup Braintree Technologies Sdn. Bhd and sustainable energy startup SOLS Energy Sdn. Bhd.