After having a successful event in 2017, NTT Communications decided to expand its NTT Com Start-up Challenge to include three countries in Southeast Asia in 2018 – Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam.
In Indonesia, the event was held on 28 August 2018 in Jakarta. In Malaysia, the finale was held on 11 October 2018 in MaGIC, Cyberjaya. In Vietnam, the finale is scheduled to be on 22 November 2018 in Ho Chi Minh City.
The Malaysian chapter was organised efficiently and the finalists gave well-prepared presentations with interesting slides and clear presentations to a full house. The finalists were SmartPeep, MallDash, Tanahmu, Mback, Favoriot, Upal, Glueck, CapitalBay, Wonderland and DoctorOnCall.
There was also a panel discussion on 11 October, moderated by Brendan Lim Rakphongphairoj, CEO of Qontak Pte Ltd. The panellists were Norhizam Abdul Kadir (Vice President of Growth Ecosystem Development Division, MDEC), Audrey Ling (CEO of Next Academy), and Bryan Chung (Director of Investments, Mountain Partners Malaysia).
“While we are worried about jobs disappearing, we need to reskill and upskill. If we don’t, we will be left behind,” said Norhizam Abdul Kadir.
When asked which sectors had the most potential, Audrey Ling said, “Finance and infrastructure have the most potential. There are a lot of legacy systems in finance, and it’s time for them to leapfrog into the future. In terms of infrastructure, there are many property developments popping up, and the projects need good communications and connectivity.”
Bryan Chung advised start-ups, “Treat each investor meeting as your one and only chance. There are a lot of dreams, but not enough depth. You must show facts and figures (traction) to investors. Go out to the market to collect your data.”
The winners for Malaysia were announced on 12 October 2018. The overall winner was DoctorOnCall, while the Best Innovation Award went to MallDash. SmartPeep won the Best Marketing Award, and Mback won the Orange FAB Award.
The NTT Com Start-up Challenge is presented by NTT Communications, Japan’s largest telecom firm, in support of the Asian start-up ecosystem. Start-ups are given an an opportunity to gain funding, access to NTT’s investor network and quality technological infrastructure.
NTT Communications (NTT Com) is one of the world`s largest telecommunications company and wholly owned subsidiary of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT Group). In Malaysia, NTT Communications is represented by NTT MSC Sdn. Bhd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of NTT Communications, established on 2 July 1997 with authorised capital of RM 237 million, and to date has approximately 170 employees based in Cyberjaya.