(From left) TeAM programme manager Erika Forsell, president Fadzli Shah Annuar, deal flow manager Justin Tung and VC partner Izwan Ismail


STARTUPS that want to take their business to new markets generally have it tough. However, the Technopreneurs Association of Malaysia (TeAM) hopes to make that process less painful with their newly launched Asean Connect programme.

Due to the lack of market intelligence among startups, it is difficult for them to enter new markets in Asean. TeAM hopes to reduce the risk for startups that are expanding into new countries while helping to connect them with relevant investors and potential partners.

Targeting startups that want to expand to markets around Asean, TeAM said it is organising Plugged-in Tours across the Asean region with the objective of connecting all the different communities and ecosystems together.

“We are working with both investors and relevant ecosystem players such as accelerators, incubators, venture builders, co-working spaces and startups themselves in different countries in Asia,” said TeAM president Fadzli Shah Anuar.

Interestingly, Korea and Japan, are also included in TeAM’s Plugged-in Tours though both are mature markets as many investors there are interested in connecting with startups in the Asean region.

The programme is open not just to Malaysian startups but to those from around the region. TeAM said it has received 45 applicants from Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia.

According to TeAM, the first Plugged-in Tour will take startups to Indonesia due to its size and the interest expressed by Malaysian startups to enter it.

TeAM said it is working closely with its local partners in Indonesia that include ANGIN, Grupara Ventures and Freeware Spaces. It adds that it has also engaged with celebrities and influencers who are interested in being brand ambassadors for the startups.

TeAM hopes to keep the Plugged-in Tours at an affordable price for startups to participate in the four day and three night programme with prices starting at RM3,700.

Apart from being a cultural experience, TeAM says the Plugged-in Tour will be an eye-opening experience for startups to learn about the local business environment in Indonesia.

TeAM said it will even get some skin in the game by investing in some of the participating startups.

“We want to show that we also believe in the startups that we recommend and are willing to put money on the table to help fund their expansion,” said Fadzli, sharing that it is planning to launch a US$50 million (RM216 million) venture fund.

Upon selecting the 10 startups, TeAM said it will take them through a refinement process where they will polish them up to make them investment ready. During the process, they will look through the startup’s finances, pitches and coach them on their pitching techniques.

TeAM said it plans to organise several more Plugged-in tours to Jakarta and will also explore other tours to Bangkok and Manila.

“Ultimately, the aim is not to build transactions or investments within the first day. It is all about building relationships and that’s what we are focusing on,” he added.



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