Technology is rapidly altering people’s lifestyles, particularly in Southeast Asia. With affordable internet access and increasing mobile penetration, people rely more than ever on technology for ease of access and comfort. The Malaysian government recognised the opportunity and challenge presented by the digital economy to serve as a new driver of economic growth and a new source of fiscal revenue. Consequently, the current batch of emerging Malaysia tech startups is thriving in the market as they seek to solve more problems that will benefit the nation.
As businesses shake off the restrictions of the pandemic and move into a new year of commerce, these five Malaysia top tech startups are worth keeping a look at in 2023.
Here are the top 5 Halal startups in Southeast Asia
Fleet fuel expense management fintech startup BayaPay provides an open-loop payment platform called BayaFuel, which enables businesses to make secure payments within specified limits and brings extra controls across all fleet-related expenses. It claims that commercial vehicle operators can save at least 20% on fuel costs by using the platform.
Winacore Capital, an early-stage venture capital fund, has announced an undisclosed financial investment in BayaPay. The company is currently pre-live on pitchIN, intending to raise USD 635,000. It had received pledges exceeding its USD 105,000 minimum fundraising target within a week of the campaign’s launch. The capital raised will be used to complete and launch the go-to-market fleet fuel payment card, which will likely be available in Q1 2023.
Helping shoppers find the best price for products online is at the core of eCommerce startup iPrice. With branches in seven Southeast Asian countries and over 30 million visitors a month, the iPrice website is seen as a one-stop shop for eTail in the region. By offering coupons and finding the best-discounted prices for consumers, the website helps the savvy shopper purchase top-brand goods for a reduced price.
The iPrice Group, with its headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, has had 11 funding rounds over the years, bringing in investments totalling USD 26.3 million. In March 2022, it raised an undisclosed sum, with Global Brain Corporation and ITOCHU Corporation being the most recent VCs to invest.
Aerodyne Group is an agritech startup that employs artificial intelligence (AI) to facilitate large-scale data operations. Its flagship precision agriculture solution is powered by in-house developed AI capabilities, with over 300,000 secured effective hectares for Malaysia’s major industry players.
In December 2019, Aerodyne acquired a controlling stake in Measure UAS, an aerial intelligence company based in the United States. In 2022, it purchased a majority stake in Malaysia-based AI and data analytics firm Synapse Innovation for an undisclosed amount.
It raised USD 30 million in a bridging round led by Petronas Ventures, the corporate VC capital arm of energy Petronas, followed by KWAP. Most of the funds will support the drone company’s expansion into Europe, Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia. A portion of it will also support the organisation’s agricultural scaling efforts and bring the solution to Indonesia and India.
Malaysia’s homegrown startup StoreHub provides an all-in-one platform that enables restaurants and retailers to automate and grow their businesses using a cloud-based POS system, QR-based table ordering, and customer engagement. The startup claims to have processed over 128 million transactions worth over USD 1.5 billion in gross transaction volume (GTV) in the last 12 months, a 40% increase over the previous year.
In a pre-Series B funding round led by 500 Global, the company raised USD 13.5 million. Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia and India, OSK Ventures, and other existing investors also participated in the round. The new funds will help to maintain good cash flow and enhance investment in technological innovation.
A conversational commerce startup, Respond.io is a platform that enables business responses to messages from any channel using one centralised dashboard by teams of all sizes. It also provides flexible automation via workflows whereby users can build chat menus, drip campaigns, internal pipelines, and invoke external actions.
The company has secured USD 7 million in Series A funding, led by the international VC firm Headline, AltaIR Capital, Sterling Oak Group, and Calendula Ventures. Respond.io will use the funding to continue its push into large enterprises by extending its integration capabilities.
Despite emerging Malaysia tech startups continuing to thrive in this new era of digitalisation, much of the country’s population still lacks access to basic online accounts, whether due to a lack of digital devices, nationally recognised forms of identification or socioeconomic barriers. To increase inclusion in the digital economy, the government has a crucial role to play in encouraging online presence if it wishes to boost digital economic growth.