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Startup ideas malaysia

3 Amazing Examples To Inspire Your Next Startup Business In Malaysia

Time to start a business in Malaysia

A recent press release from the Malaysian Ministry of Finance reported a 5.6% uptick in the Malaysian economy in Q1 2023, and projected continued growth throughout the year.

Additionally, there was a drop in unemployment levels from last year combined with rising domestic demand and private expenditure. All this strongly suggests that consumers and companies in Malaysia are gaining confidence to spend and invest. 

Anwar Ibrahim portrait
Thanks, boss!

As markets open up, Budget 2023 also saw several new SME-friendly policies, including:

  • RM20 billion in SME loans
  • RM2 billion to support sustainable technology startups
  • RM5,000 to encourage SMEs to use business apps

There’s more, but we hope by now you’re convinced that this is as good a time as any to found a small business or startup company in Malaysia. 

Startup vs Small Business: what’s the difference?

Both start small, but a successful small business will always stay small.

A successful startup will go massive, potentially employing up to hundreds and changing the way we live. 

If your goal is to create the most profitable business in Malaysia that you possibly can, then a startup business idea is what you need. Bear in mind that startups are not necessarily tech-focused, but always heavily combine technology with traditional industries to disrupt the status quo.

To inspire you, here are three noteworthy examples in Malaysia across different industries.

1. Kenangan Coffee

kenangan coffee homepage

Industry: F&B

Just FYI, achieving ‘unicorn’ status in the startup space is no mean feat – it means a $1 billion valuation.

This coffee chain was founded in Indonesia way back in 2017 and currently has over 850 outlets in their home country. In addition to excellent products at competitive prices, the brand has embraced technology with an app on Google and Apple stores where customers can pre-order drinks, try exclusive new recipes, and collect / redeem loyalty points.

kenangan coffee usp

Last year, they began their international expansion starting in Malaysia, with plans to open 100 locations in 2024 after a new round of funding.

2. MyStartr

mystartr hojmepage

Industry: Equity Crowdfunding (ECF)

If you thought 2017 was a long time ago, MyStartr was founded in 2012 as a digital platform for local businesses to raise capital through ECF. MyStartr empowers everyday people to own a piece of businesses they believe in, and of course it’s a great way for said businesses to raise awareness and funds simultaneously. 

mystartr usp
More like kejap five million Ringgit!

So far, they’ve helped raise RM64 million, and their ultimate goal is to raise a total crowdfunding amount of RM4 billion in five years.

3. Swipey

swipey homepage

Industry: Fintech

No startup list would be complete without a fintech entry, and Swipey was founded in 2021 as Malaysia’s first corporate payment solution with integrated banking. It provides SMEs with a bird’s eye view of company finances and easy payment and expense management solutions. One of their most valuable products is a virtual prepaid company credit card to prevent SME owners from using personal cards.

swipey usp

In a recent news article, it was reported that Swipey closed its first financial year with RM442,000 in revenue and hopes to raise an additional RM6.61 million by the end of Q2 2023.

Unique challenges of startups 

As profitable and impactful as they can be, startups come with two unique risks and challenges that entrepreneurs must prepare for.

1. Startups are more prone to fail

Though the specific figure changes slightly from year to year, Google ‘startup failure rates and you’ll find most agree on a 90% failure rate. Ten percent of all startups fail within their first year, 70% fail within the second and fifth years, and the remaining 10% fail sometime later.

It takes a special kind of tenacity to found and run a startup, and many successful founders have a few failed projects in the closet! 

2. Startups require (multiple rounds of) funding

If you’ve ever seen shows like Shark Tank or Dragon’s Den, you’ll know what we mean. 

Startup founders often need to raise capital from investors in several rounds, including:

  • Angel round: when there is no company yet
  • Seed round: when the startup is in its infancy
  • Series A, B, and C rounds: once the business is ready for long term growth and scale plans

To do this, founders offer part ownership of the company, something only possible through shares and with enough public confidence. 

To protect yourself as an entrepreneur, it all starts with the perfect business structure.

Sdn Bhd: The perfect startup structure

1. Limited liability protection

A Sendirian Berhad (Sdn Bhd) is recognised as a separate legal entity responsible for its own business decisions and therefore any debt or obligations borne by the company is kept separate from the personal responsibilities of its owners. 

If your startup fails, your personal assets are 100% safe as long as there is no proof you have acted dishonestly and against the best interests of the business and investors. 

2. Ease of securing funding

Because a Sdn Bhd is subjected to strict compliance requirements by Malaysian authorities, there is an air of credibility that absolutely will help secure investments. All the startups we’ve mentioned are Sdn Bhds, and it is by far the most common business structure in Malaysia. 

Incorporate your startup with MISHU

HOBD Adrian

Incorporating a Sdn Bhd involves preparing many documents and filing them with the relevant authorities. If you’re about to found a startup, your hands are going to be full!

MISHU has resources and partnerships in many key areas and would love to help you incorporate your next startup or small business! Get in touch with us today.

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