Dash is the founder of StartupMalaysia.org. A graduate from the University of Cambridge, Dash has a natural aptitude and passion for entrepreneurship. He is a serial entrepreneur who has successfully started and sold several businesses. His talents and passion for business and entrepreneurship is well noted as he has been leading the Global Entrepreneur Week movement in Malaysia consecutively as its host for the past 3 years and he is a fellow of the U.S. government’s prestigious International Visitor Leadership Program. Recently, Dash has been appointed the director of the Founder Institute, the world’s largest accelerator group.
Dash speaks to us today about the work he does at StartupMalaysia and his insights on entrepreneurship, a field in which he has gained notoriety in.
Dash tell us about StartupMalaysia and what you guys do.
We are a kind of a launchpad or a ‘accelerator plus” comprising of a community of like minded people/organizations who come together to find exciting ways to inspire people to launch and grow scalable startups that are truly meaningful and enduring.
Our ultimate ‘customer’ is a person who says, I want to startup or take my startup to the next level, where do I go and what should I do?
Our right partner is someone who has the idea, resources they are willing to commit to this end – the creation of a fundable startup.
What led you to create StartupMalaysia?
I am personally inspired to help entrepreneurs succeed, achieve their vision and be awesome. So I wanted to build a platform to connect Malaysian entrepreneurs to international entrepreneurs.I wanted to build this bridge. So I founded StartupMalaysia.
On that note, how do you find the entrepreneurial scene in Malaysia?
It is very vibrant and the number of quality startups are slowly increasing. We need more but it be something that will happen over time not over night. The Malaysian government is extremely supportive of entrepreneurs and we may be one of the only few countries where the government takes an interest in funding the seed stage . Cradle Fund is tasked to fund seed stage tech startups. Other organizations like MDEC and SME are also supporting startups in their own ways.
Would you say that startups are more prevalent in Malaysia in recent years?
Startups are definitely growing in numbers in Malaysia. Young people are becoming more and more entrepreneurial these days. With the 4 billionth person going online, the cost of starting a startup dropping exponentially, this is the best time to be a startup.
So tell us about the process of launching StartupMalaysia.
StartupMalaysia.org is itself a startup. The process of setting up a startup is to find customer validation to define clearly the problem we can solve for our customers, who are in this case startup entrepreneurs. The next challenge is to find a business model to remain sustainable. I believe we have surmounted both.
What are some interesting startups you have encountered in your work?
Well I run an accelerator in Australia and work with startups all over the world. The most interesting things I have seen are not just the startup themselves but the energy of the founders behind these startups. They are full of enthusiasm and believe that they can change the world. This is what amazes me.
What do you think are the common challenges Malaysian entrepreneurs face?
The biggest challenge is to come up with an awesome idea that is not ‘me too’. The second challenge is to find a co-founder who can compliment your skills to help you build your startup. The third challenge is to build a sustainable mode, obtain customer validation and then to convince the funders to invest in you and finally to scale the venture. All these are common challenges to any entrepreneur anywhere. The unique challenge in Malaysia maybe for entrepreneurs to think big enough.
In your opinion, what is needed to achieve success as an entrepreneur?
I think its a combination of factors. An open mind, the willingness to dream big and to work hard and push oneself to the limit. Also the ability to build a team, to be savvy enough not to run out of money, ability to raise funding and probably most importantly a mind that is capable of shifting gears.
Are you working on anything exciting at the moment?
Yes. I have another startup called D-Code.Co. It is a venture that helps kids learn how to code. That is quite exciting. Other than that, I am working on StartupMalaysia, working on creating a large community backed back many entrepreneurs who can support on another.
Should we be excited about any particular industry or sector at the moment?
Well I am not in other industries, so I can’t advise generally. However, I am quite aware of the tech sector and to me this sector is going to be exciting no matter what the economic situation is going to be. The young ones involved in this sector are redefining entrepreneurship and turning economic concepts on its head.
Connect with Dash and StartupMalaysia today:
Email: [email protected]