UK net zero startups keen to tap into Malaysia's tech ecosystem

10 UK net zero startups pitched their technologies for up to $1 million investment and entry into an accelerator programme for green startups.

The UK-Malaysia Digital Innovation Programme Demo Day kicked off in Sunway City, Kuala Lumpur where 10 UK net zero startups pitched their technologies in-person for up to $1 million investment and entry into the Sunway iLabs’ Net Zero Lab, an accelerator programme for green startups. The initiative also saw UK tech companies connecting and exploring opportunities with the wider tech ecosystem including Malaysia government bodies and venture capital funds.

The event was attended by Minister of Economy YB Rafizi Ramli, His Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Asia Pacific Natalie Black, Deputy British High Commissioner David Wallace as well as Sunway Group’s Group Chief Executive Officer of Digital and Strategic Investments Evan Cheah.

The programme is held in partnership with Sunway Innovation Labs (Sunway iLabs), the innovation arm of Sunway Group, MyDigital Corporation and the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation, and delivered by IoT Tribe. Through the programme, UK startups will be able to pilot and scale their innovative solutions alongside Malaysian corporates to digitalise analogue systems, optimise energy use through AI and improve food security. The initiative will also help realise Malaysia’s digital ambitions towards a fully digitalised economy as outlined in the MyDigital Blueprint and the 4IR policy.

YB Rafizi Ramli, Minister of Economy said: "The first step to instilling a culture of innovation is understanding that innovation is simply looking at a day-to-day problem, and asking, ‘How can I make this better?’

"All the best creations in the world start from that simple question. And programmes like the UK-Malaysia Digital Innovation Programme could help shape a society where its people are comfortable with asking that question, and seeing themselves as creators rather than just passive consumers. This is one step forward in mainstreaming the culture of innovation."

David Wallace, Deputy British High Commissioner to Malaysia said: "The UK’s bilateral trade with Malaysia totals £5.9 billion with digital, technology and cyber being the fastest growth sector. By connecting UK digital tech businesses with leading Malaysian corporates, and aggregating complementary strengths and resources, the Programme is a catalyst for commercial partnerships and investments."

Natalie Black, His Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Asia Pacific, said: "With its fast-growing technology sector and strategic location in ASEAN’s booming digital economy, Malaysia is a top destination for cutting-edge tech companies looking to expand and diversify their reach within the region.

"That’s why we’ve brought 10 UK Net Zero tech businesses here for the UK-Malaysia Digital Innovation Programme Demo Day, bringing to fruition the innovative partnership we started with Sunway during last year’s London Tech Week.

"Today’s event marks the final stretch of our inaugural UK-Southeast Asia Tech Week and an exciting new chapter for collaboration between our two tech ecosystems."

Matt van Leeuwen, Chief Innovation Officer of Sunway Group and Director of Sunway iLabs, said: "Sunway is committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions in line with the Malaysian government’s commitment of being carbon-neutral by 2050. This is a really ambitious target, which means we have to think and act differently in order to achieve this.

"In addition to our internal initiatives, Sunway is looking to partner with global startups to co-create solutions that can be tested and validated in our extensive ecosystem, with the ultimate objective to scale these in the Malaysian and wider Southeast Asian market. We launched the Sunway iLabs’ Net Zero Lab, a cross-border investment programme, to source and accelerate climate tech innovations that have a positive and sustainable impact on our communities and the planet."

Sunway iLabs is committed to supporting Malaysia’s green transition. It recently launched the Net Zero Labs and is increasing investments in climate tech solutions, such as carbon storage and utilisation, and large-scale implementation of renewable energy. This programme is supported by Khazanah, Japanese External Trade Organization Kuala Lumpur (JETRO KL), Deep Tech Labs and the Department for Business and Trade.

Through the UK-Malaysia Digital Innovation Programme, Sunway hopes to instigate some of that so they can start investing in some of the solutions they see coming out of the UK, to help them achieve their goals by 2050.

The UK-Malaysia Digital Innovation Programme is part of the wider UK-Southeast Asia Tech Week held across Jakarta, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. The week’s activities brought together cutting-edge UK tech companies and business and government representatives from across the region.

The leading UK start-ups shortlisted to showcase their disruptive technologies in Malaysia include Agave Networks, Filia, Inferrix, Informed Solutions, Permia Sensing, ProtectBox, Singular Intelligence, Voltvision, Voyage Control, Wootzano.

The event was well attended by over 100 stakeholders from across the Malaysian tech ecosystem. Besides senior representatives from Sunway Group, the event attracted other Malaysian corporates, investors and Malaysian government agencies such as MyDigital Corporation and MDEC. The event provided a valuable opportunity for exchange between UK and Malaysia as both countries move forward together towards a net zero future.