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A Giant Leap for Innovation

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Published: Monday May 15, 2017
By: THEEDGE MALAYSIA

Pockets of innovation can exist anywhere and a revolutionary company with high growth potential can attract investors and customers from across the country. So, is it important that a technology entrepreneur who is getting started or a tech company that is trying to grow establishes a connection to a certain location?

Undoubtedly, yes, say those who have successfully transformed audacious ideas into sustainable operations. A global technology hub with a focus on the creation of new technology, i.e. a capital of creation, such as Cyberjaya is able to support, connect and inspire the tech community while improving the chances of a company succeeding in the fast-changing tech industry.

Successful tech start-ups and companies with a connection to Cyberjaya share their experiences of how they have leveraged their presence in the cyber city. There is a common thread to their stories: a world of opportunities exists for start-ups and companies that are eager to develop digital and creative tech solutions.

ANIMONSTA STUDIOS SDN BHD

Animonsta Cyberjaya Stories
 
Tech companies would probably say the most attractive aspect of Cyberjaya is its talent pool of creative and skilled workers, says Mohd Nizam Abd Razak, managing director at Animonsta Studios Sdn Bhd.

As creative tech-based businesses rely on employees to drive innovation, good talent is a crucial aspect of ongoing success. But fi nding and retaining skilled talent is not an easy feat as demand frequently outstrips supply.

Good talent is said to look for companies with directive leadership, a collaborative work culture and opportunities for learning and advancement. Increasingly recognised is the need for companies to be located in a relevant and conducive ecosystem. After all, it is the ecosystem that connects, inspires and nurtures skilled talent by feeding their intellectual curiosity.

“As a creative and technology company, Animonsta relies heavily on creative talents and skilled workers. In Cyberjaya, there are a number of colleges and universities such as Multimedia University, Limkokwing University of Creative Technology and KRU Academy that develop and nurture skilled talent,” says Mohd Nizam.

He was part of this talent pool, having graduated from Multimedia University in 2001. He founded Animonsta, an animation content developer, with three partners eight years later. The company, which is recognised as a home-grown tech hero, has been based in Cyberjaya since 2010. “The complete tech eco-system is found in Cyberjaya. There are government agencies, creative companies, universities and programmes related to the creative and technology industry. A unifi ed and complete eco-system is critical to the growth of this industry,” says Mohd Nizam. “Being in Cyberjaya since the early days gave Animonsta an advantage. We had the opportunity to leverage on the Malaysia Animation and Creative Content Centre, better known as MAC3, in Cyberjaya. “Animonsta benefited from its state-of-the-art facilities and funding. We also connected with other companies through various programmes that were held here and still keep in touch with members of Cyberjaya’s tech community.”

IX TELECOM SDN BHD

IX Telecom Cyberjaya Stories
 
IX Telecom Sdn Bhd is an example of the potential of the tech companies that emerge from Cyberjaya. The company has been based in the cyber city since its inception in 2008 and offers virtual network operator services, including fast and highly secure private networks for communications between multiple locations around the world. It currently serves clients in more than 200 countries.
 “I was in the first batch of students to study at Multimedia University’s campus in Cyberjaya in 1999. This puts me among the first residents of this city,” says CEO Noor Helmi Nong Hadzmi.

“In 2008, my partner, who was my roommate at Multimedia University, and I decided to start a tech business in Cyberjaya after we had gained some work experience in the industry. We decided to base our start-up here because of the vibrant tech ecosystem and work-life balance it offers. We were also attracted by the support provided by Cyberview Sdn Bhd.

“Cyberview, MDEC and the Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC) are start-up-friendly companies. Their support and Cyberjaya’s conducive ecosystem provide the right foundation for a tech company to grow and move forward. They have played a big role in developing IX Telecom.

“Cyberview provides things that are very useful for startups such as affordable office rental rates, internship programmes, immersion programmes in other countries and sharing sessions with other companies in the tech community. As an entrepreneur, it is very important to be surrounded by others with the same mindset and can-do attitude. Cyberjaya offers this environment.”

Noor Helmi says there are many elements that make up an appropriate ecosystem for tech start-ups. Besides supportive agencies, a tech ecosystem should consist of incubators, accelerators, investors, customers, government bodies, global tech companies, multinational corporations and universities that can provide skilled talent.

“A world-class infrastructure is also important. Cyberjaya’s high-speed fibre network, stable electricity supply and reliable data centres have been crucial to our operations. The start-up community in this city has arisen and I believe that tech companies from Cyberjaya will continue to flourish and drive Malaysia’s economic growth,” he says.

“Technology is set to deliver vast economic opportunities in the coming years and start-ups represent an important part of the future economy. As the first cyber city in the country, Cyberjaya has already created a large number of high-value, knowledge-intensive jobs. I believe that the trend will continue.”

THELORRY.COM

TheLorry Cyberjaya Stories
 
Nadhir Ashafi a, co-founder and executive director of TheLorry.com, says a critical factor to the company’s success was access to mentorship, guidance and connections during the initial years of operations. “Before embarking on TheLorry.com, I was involved in a start-up that failed. A key learning point that I took away from this experience is that work cannot be done in a silo. When Goh Chee Hau, co-founder of TheLorry.com, and I decided to start a business offering on-demand cargo transport services in late 2014, I looked for knowledgable and experienced individuals who would be able to advise and guide us,” he says.

Nadhir and Goh got in touch with MaGIC and Watch-Tower and Friends Sdn Bhd, a tech accelerator and programme manager of Cyberview’s Living Lab Accelerator Programme. “We were mentored, supported and met a community of like-minded individuals during this programme. We learnt the process of developing an idea into a commercial enterprise,” says Nadhir.

“I will never forget the fi rst time we pitched our business idea to our mentor. It was such a nerve-wracking experience, it felt like a brick had been thrown at your face.

“But looking back, it was a valuable experience. The advice and feedback that was given by thought leaders pointed us in the right direction and opened our minds to ways of doing things that we had never considered.

BASIS BAY SDN BHD

Basis Bay Cyberjaya Stories
 
Cyberjaya’s state-of-the-art physical infrastructure, which includes a dual-feed power supply, has attracted large multinational corporations such as Basis Bay Sdn Bhd. The 20-year-old sustainable IT infrastructure an managed data service provider with clients from around the world has been operating in the cyber city since 2009.

“One reason for choosing Cyberjaya as a base is that it is the designated hub of MSC Malaysia (previously known as Multimedia Super Corridor). All MSC-status companies in the cyber city benefi t from the MSC Malaysia Bill of Guarantees,” says Basis Bay technical director Thyaga Rajan Serniwassan.

“Furthermore, Cyberjaya is the only location in the country where each plot of land is equipped with a dual-feed power supply. This makes it extremely suitable for data centres.”

The MSC Malaysia Bill of Guarantees is a set of incentives, rights and privileges that reflect the government’s commitment to providing a conducive environment for the development of tech companies and, subsequently, a digital economy.

“Cyberjaya’s mature infrastructure, which is constantly being improved upon, has benefited businesses such as Basis Bay and other local and global tech companies. Such support from such an ecosystem is crucial and very important for us to conduct our business effectively,” says Thyaga.

He adds that good governance and best practices implemented by Cyberjaya’s stakeholders to cater for the needs of multinational corporations in their locality has benefited local companies and contributed to a positive outlook for tech companies, especially those offering data centre and cloud services.

“Although the current economic environment is subdued, due in part to the rising US dollar, the latest outlook for the tech industry indicates steady growth. Emerging trends such as cloud computing, blockchain, digital businesses, artificial intelligence and financial technology (fintech) will eventually change the economic landscape,” says Thyaga.

RENEON TECHNOLOGIES SDN BHD

Rheneon Cyberjaya Stories
 
The team at Cyberview, led by Datuk Faris Yahaya, can be credited for attracting start-ups, multinational corporations and companies to Cyberjaya, says Dinesh Selvamurthy, co-founder and business developer at Reneon Technologies Sdn Bhd.

“Dato Faris and his charismatic team are the enablers of the tech community in Cyberjaya. Through their continuous support, Reneon was able to embark on its pilot project and this was the turning point for
the business,” he says.

Reneon is an engineering company that focuses on energy-conservation solutions. Established in 2014, it received funding from the Enterprise Ignite Accelerator programme of 1337 Ventures, an early-stage venture capital and technology accelerator. The programme gave Reneon the opportunity to pilot its energy monitoring system in the CoPlace buildings in Cyberjaya.

“Cyberview was also part of this programme and it gave us this opportunity. With our pilot system, we had the ideal portfolio and a track record of a successfully implemented solution. This opened the door to more projects and funding,” says Dinesh.

“As part of Cyberjaya’s tech community, we were also given the opportunity to explore synergistic collaborations with multinationals, other start-ups and small and medium enterprises. To date, we have completed more than 50 projects in the country and Cyberjaya remains our gateway to regional and global expansion.”

He adds that the people, partnerships and opportunities found in Cyberjaya set it apart from other cities. “This cyber city has been able to attract innovative and entrepreneurial individuals with a common goal of building technology that can benefit humanity. This is an immense pool of talent for companies such as Reneon to leverage.

“Furthermore, Cyberjaya is home to 500 MSC-status companies. This is a big market of potential partners or end users. All these factors definitely make it a city of opportunities.”

DREAMEDGE SDN BHD

DreamEDGE Cyberjaya Stories
 
Like Cyberjaya, DreamEDGE Sdn Bhd is a decade old this year. The digital engineering and consultancy company was incorporated in March 2007 and started operating from a 2,500 sq ft shop office in the cyber city a year later.

It has since grown to 120 employees with centres across Malaysia while its corporate and research and development centre occupies a 40,000 sq ft office in iTech Tower in Cyberjaya. The company also has a centre of excellence for high-value engineering services in Autoville, also in Cyberjaya, where it focuses on rapid prototyping, reverse engineering, additive manufacturing and low-volume productions

“I was in Japan when the Multimedia Super Corridor programme, aimed at transforming Malaysia into a knowledge-based economy, was launched in 1996. It was exciting news and all the global information and communications technology (ICT) players were excited. I managed to secure funding to start a business in Cyberjaya,” says DreamEDGE founder and CEO Khairil Adri Adnan.

In 20 years, Cyberjaya has evolved from a township with basic infrastructure to attract tech entrepreneurs into a cyber city that is actively working towards becoming a premier global technology hub. “It is a liveable city with amenities such as mosques, schools, public transport, shopping mall, food and beverage outlets, recreational areas, high-speed internet and world-class data centres,” says Khairil Adri.

“The development of Cyberjaya has allowed us to attract and retain talent, which is our most precious asset. As the sustainability of our business relies on the constantly improving tech ecosystem, talent — especially Generation Y — is needed to drive our growth.”

“Cyberjaya is ideal for companies such as DreamEDGE that are passionate about driving innovation and technology. Multinational corporations and other cutting-edge companies based in the city have influenced our growth as we have the opportunity to benchmark, exchange ideas and network,” says Khairil Adri.

“Being part of the growing tech community in Cyberjaya has also pushed us to constantly challenge our value, services and delivery as we strive to become the global provider of choice for innovative technology-driven solutions and services.”