My friend once said, "Only rich kids would start a startup instead of working in the corporate sector." Well, I beg to differ. For me and my co-founder, when we started Petotum, we know that there is a need to solve the problem we've seen during our time running our cat hotel as well as in the pet care industry.
During the Selangor Accelerator Programme, we had the opportunity to meet JomParking's founder, Nasir Habizar who happened to be one of the alumni for Magic's GAP Cohort 1. He shared his experience and startup's growth during and after GAP. We asked for his opinion to apply for the next batch of GAP and we glad we did it.
On 10th June 2019, we received an acceptance email for our Magic's GAP Cohort 3 application. Frankly, it was very competitive even to get selected for the second stage. Cohort 3 received over 1171 applications from 68 countries around the world.
We just finished with the Selangor Accelerator Programme in July and we started GAP in August. It was indeed a very good transition from one accelerator to another accelerator.
There are few founders asked me, it is very necessary to join any accelerator? Well, I would say it is entirely up to you as the founder of the startup but again, if you are very successful in what you are doing, we wouldn't have this conversation, do we? (pun intended).
The 25 startups graduated from Magic's GAP Cohort 3 are:
- Aplikasi (Malaysia)
- Appsally (Malaysia)
- Appsaya (Malaysia)
- ClicknCare (Malaysia)
- CurrenSeek (Malaysia)
- Ejen2u (Malaysia)
- Ethnic Brand (Kenya)
- Footbot (Russia)
- GA Alliance (Malaysia)
- Game Hauz (Malaysia)
- iFull (Malaysia)
- Koppa (Malaysia)
- Lapangbola (Indonesia)
- Nakride (Malaysia)
- Paytomat (Ukraine)
- Petotum (Malaysia)
- Pickiddo (Malaysia)
- Prime Commerce (Vietnam)
- Procmart (India)
- Recyglo (Myanmar)
- Arteca (Malaysia)
- SlingApp (Malaysia)
- StamptIt (India)
- Telebort (Malaysia)
- Vechnology (Malaysia)
During the program, there are 3 key main takeaways that I will always remember, thanks to GAP.
1. Agile work culture
I would say this one is the toughest so far that I had learned during the program. As an early-stage startup, we can't afford to have our team members on board with us as full-timers. So, we learned to adapt and practice an agile work culture. We still need to run our business as usual but it doesn't stop us to learn as many as possible.
I am still considered lucky as I can still concentrate on the classes and our team is local here in Malaysia while the other non-Malaysian startups had struggles such as geographical and time zone factors.
Being flexible and being able to distribute responsibilities are the keys that I hold throughout the program. Whatever that I have learned during the program, I'll share with my co-founder and the team to improve Petotum, continuously.
2. Always grab the opportunity and never waste it
Never waste any opportunity. Magic is one of the ecosystem builders in Malaysia and I would say in ASEAN as well. The continuous support provided by Magic even after the program is really helpful to make sure that we strive for the best for our startup. So, always grab the opportunity, make use of it and make it better.
3. Wisest advice for any startup (especially as a CEO) - "You should focus on these 3 things. 1, set the direction/objective for your startup, 2, always recruiting, and 3, never ever ever run out of money!
This is the quote that I always remember, thanks to Magic for bringing Brett Martin all the way from New York. Sessions with him are worth it! I even signed up with a follow-up video call with him to seek for advice. If you are planning to join the next cohort, most probably you'll see him too!
I am glad that we are able to be part of Magic's family and to meet with other great startups, mentors, and corporates. Thank you, Magic for the opportunity!
Do you want to apply for the next cohort for GAP, they are open for application! Click here to apply to be part of Magic's GAP Cohort 4 2020!
Scroll down for more info! Best of luck!