- Gobi Partners-MDEC curated competition targets early-stage startups
- Rigorous process by Gobi, taking into account 6 factors to fix seedings
In a live unveiling session on July 24, Gobi Partners announced its top 64 picks for Stage I of the SuperSeed II Championship. The uniquely structured competition began accepting entries on May 14 and saw over 200 applicants registering for a chance to win the prizes offered, which include funding of up to US$3.5 million (RM15 million) (subject to due diligence), an opportunity to join one of Alibaba Business School’s exclusive entrepreneurship programs, a wild card entry into Sunway Group’s iLabs Accelerator Programme, as well as Alibaba Cloud credits and a CXO (Chief Experience Officer) membership.
The SuperSeed II Championship is a single-elimination ala sports style tournament, and is believed to the first in Asia to adopt such a format for a startup pitching contest which will ultimately see four startups anointed the winners.
Thomas G. Tsao (pic), chairman of Gobi Partners, likens the SuperSeed II Tournament to the knockout rounds of the US college basketball season every March that is known as March Madness. And just as that basketball tournament has seedings for the teams, Gobi has divided the teams into four categories and seeded the startups from No1 to 16.
That’s where the similarities end though. No doubt in this case, no supporter of any startup that has made the top 64 will be losing their voice, cheering their team on.
On a more serious note, Tsao observed, “The overall quality of this year’s applicant pool was incredible. The Gobi team put in many days and nights evaluating every submission. We had to make tough decisions because there was an abundance of deserving startups. Many of the entrepreneurs are tackling the world’s intractable problems, and that should give everyone great hope. Purpose driven innovation is thriving in Malaysia!”
The 64 participants come from an amazing variety of backgrounds; new startups, as well as more established companies, all applied in a bid to make a difference, boost their businesses, and recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. 90% of the startups that entered were Malaysian, however, 9 other countries – Bangladesh, Brunei, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates – were also represented.
By industry breakdown, this competition showcases the wide breadth of innovation that is occurring:
• 21% – Lifestyle / E-commerce
• 20% – Smart Cities / IoT
• 15% – Circular Economy
• 14% – FinTech
• 10% – TaqwaTech
• 9% – AgriTech
Women founders also emerged in strong numbers to join the Championship; 16% of the 214 that applied are female-led companies, and of the 64 selected for Stage I, 23% of the startups are helmed by women. To select the 64 and determine the seedings and match-ups, Gobi’s investment team undertook a rigorous process, which took into account six factors: (1) business model; (2) impact of the business; (3) management team; (4) traction; (5) fundraising history; and (6) quality of the pitch deck.
Although these factors helped to determine the initial seedings, how companies advance will depend solely on online public voting for Stage I.
From July 27th – August 2nd, the 64 startups will compete in Stage I. Their company profiles will be displayed on the SuperSeed II website for the voting process and alongside this, the companies will need to execute a marketing campaign to build support. Subsequently, 32 startups will advance to Stage 2 (August 3rd – 9th) which involves shooting a promotion video for their company. From there, the Sweet 16 startups will be selected for Stage 3 (August 10th – 16th), during which they will each face an hour-long interview from the Championship Committee to discuss their business and the products and services they offer. Finally, The Elite 8 will be chosen to proceed to Stage 4 (Wednesday, September 2nd), an online pitching session with judges from Gobi and its partners, MDEC, Mavcap, and Sunway. The Final 4 startups that are picked as the best of the best by said judges will then be crowned Champions.
Here are the 64 companies:
Bracket 1: Smart Cities
Speedhome; Hom; HomeCrowd; Chupspace; Simplify; Tinking; Desight; Gururealiti; Delyva; Legatus; Pomen; GPS Fleet; Moovby; Nakride; WHIP; ACS Pentas.
Bracket 2: Circular Economy
NLY Tech; Tuppy; Grubcycle; Degrosery; Erth; Safari Tech; Circlepac; Maeko; Goloco; Engage; Lokein; Tradly; Ezipod; Interior Hub; Klean; Vechnology.
Bracket 3: FinTech
MyCashOnline; Mercury Pay; Fatehub; Vsure.life; HeyAlfred; Finology; MyMy; Senang Insurance; Kryptopos; Bukku; ReGov; Global PCK; GA Alliance; Currenseek; Motionscloud; Agiliux.
Bracket 4: Lifestyle
Memori; MindAppz; StudentQR; Anak2U; Bountie; Chaintope; TalentCloud; Qwork; Kravve; Mum’s Kulfi; Stixfresh; Table2Own; MyGroser; Bruita; Ento; Babylon Farm.
For a downloadable version of the bracket, please visit here.