Excitement filled the air. There were big smiles all around—and a certain sparkle in their eyes. Brimming with enthusiasm, they were all ready to celebrate a milestone—it’s graduation day.
After months of grueling sessions, the 9th of September 2017 saw the graduation ceremony of its second cohort held at aCAT Penang.
This time around, what started out with 31 applicants testing out their mettle in entrepreneurship has concluded with nine startup founders graduating from the four-month-long Silicon Valley-based incubator program.
The event was also graced by the presence of Penang’s Chief Minister Mr. Lim Guan Eng as well as CEO of Invest Penang Dato’ Loo Lee Lian, General Manager of Penang Hill Corporation Mr. Cheok Lay Leng, Director of aCAT Penang Mr. Howie Chang, Co-Director of Founder Institute Penang Mr. Lee Da Qing and CEO of Exabytes Mr. Chan Kee Siak.
The ceremony ended with the distribution of certificates to the graduating class.
What is Founder Institute?
Founder Institute—a prestigious Silicon Valley-based startup launch program—is known throughout the world for its intensive yet demanding curriculum.
It offers a four-month part-time program, mostly for new and early-stage entrepreneurs (i.e. pre-incorporation and pre-product), that helps them develop business ideas and form a company, with sessions once a week.
Also, largest in the world, there are presently chapters in 80 cities across 40 countries including New York, Spain, Germany, Vietnam—and just last year, Penang.
Backed by local directors Howie Chang, Lee Da Qing and Chan Kee Siak, Founder Institute Penang is facilitated by a network of great mentors too.
Some of the notable mentors of Founder Institute Penang include local directors and CEOs of companies like EasyParcel, Piktochart, Goody Technologies, DeliverEat and more.
Graduating from Founder Institute is indeed, not an easy feat, for you will be asked to leave the program if your scores fall below the acceptable threshold.
At the start of the program in May this year, there were 41 registrants. But it eventually got cut down to 31 applicants— and ultimately, only nine students—representing nine startup ventures— survived the challenging company-building assignments, which covers all areas of business, such as legal, HR, marketing etc— and, not to mention, the intensive mentorship as well.
Who are the Graduates?
Pushtify develops a platform that aims to help property agents save time and money by automating the postings of ads to various property groups via social media and property websites. With that, property agents and the like are able to engage, reply and respond to their customers—all in one platform.
The company has already come out with an MVP to satisfy some of their early adopters and will officially be launching their product soon.
Qdino (Q Innotech Sdn Bhd) is a mobile application that allows their users to know where they need to queue or wait for parking prior to heading to a place.
Their android app has been launched and they are currently targeting their first 1,000 users.
Larin is a mobile application that connects drivers to auto shops for reliable emergency repairs and quality auto maintenance services.
The team is now finishing up an MVP to thoroughly gain validation from the market. Larin is also looking to raise $300k for the development of the full-blown application and to onboard prestigious auto shop partners all around Southeast Asia.
SurgeTopia is a platform that provides you with graphic designs that will best reflect your business identity. Their goal is to provide you with designs of the highest quality and standard that will grab your client’s attention.
Venca Pocket is a rewards app that provides a better loyalty and membership program for both users and merchants.
The team is currently in midst of developing an MVP.
Rent-A-Space (ADD Space Venture Sdn Bhd) is a community e-marketplace for people to discover short-term retail and event spaces. Gone are the days where you have to go through the hassle of looking for event spaces or burden yourself with a high commitment for traditional retail spaces. Rent A Space offers convenience, confidence and a professional team of concierge to help you launch your idea and tell your story to the world.
FeedMe (FeedMe Asia Sdn Bhd) is a food search engine specifically designed for Southeast Asian countries, which aims to solve that problem by utilizing the technologies of today to build detailed databases of restaurants, hotels and entertainment spots—helping you experience your surroundings like a local.
Kikia (Alot Technology Sdn Bhd) helps and connects DIY group travelers to book a private chartered car with a more reliable and convenient way.
Kikia plans to expand to prominent cities in Southeast Asia, specifically those with airports.
uPackr is a world-class packaging and shipping supplies for E-commerce brands which streamlines the packaging supply chain from sourcing to delivery by providing world-class packaging at unbeatable prices.
The company has gathered a few real potential buyers and is working on the price negotiation with the suppliers while building up their website.
Above it all, the entrepreneurial journey was no doubt a tough one.
So, kudos to the graduating class and also, props to the directors for bringing the Founder Institute to Penang!
Stay tuned for more information regarding our next admission for the next cohort.