From Hiring Services To Fashion Retailing, Here Are The Best Local Startups Of 2015

2015 has been an awesome year for the startup scene in Malaysia.

Cover image via wobb

1. Twenty3: 23-year-old Sherlyn Tan gave up her position as Business Director at Groupon Malaysia to start her own fashion label. The risk to quit a cushy corporate job has paid off as she recently won the Alliance Bank BizSmart SME Innovation Challenge 2015.

Amed with a Bachelor of Business Administration, Finance with Multimedia, the graduate from Multimedia University joined Groupon Malaysia and worked her way up to the Business Development Director position. Having sold second-hand clothes online during her student days, fashion was always something Sherlyn knew she could fall back on.

Beginning with RM5,000, the Penangite says that much of that money was initially wasted on bad website designs and defective stocks. Also, being a new small startup in a highly competitive industry saw few that were willing to fund her cause.

Dreams certainly do come true and home-grown fashion label Twenty3’s CEO and founder Sherlyn Tan can certainly attest to this after bagging the top award at the Alliance Bank BizSmart SME Innovation Challenge 2015.

Twenty3 beat six other Malaysian companies to take home the Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin Entrepreneurship Award, the first prize in the SME Innovation Challenge that comes with a prize money of RM250,000!

Check out Twenty3 here.

2. Kaodim. "Gao Dim" means “take care of it” in Cantonese, which is exactly what the startup does. It serves as a platform to link users with service providers. With hopes of expanding its services across Southeast Asia, it has raised over USD4 million through venture capital.

Image via Kaodim

Kaodim group is the #1 services marketplace in Southeast Asia, providing a faster, more dependable way to hire services you need from plumbers to photographers.

It also is transforming small and medium sized businesses like never before. They receive thousands of requests for their services on their smartphones, tablets and computers everyday, allowing them to make an instant connection with new clients at an unprecedented rate.

Kaodim co-founders Jeffri Cheong (L) and Choong Fui-Yu (R)

Image via TechInAsia

Malaysia-based startup Kaodim today announced it raised a US$4 million series A round of funding led by Venturra Capital. Other participating investors in this round are Beenext, 500 Startups, and East Ventures. The company says it will use this funding to launch in other major cities in Southeast Asia and expand its product offerings to include other services in the home, lifestyle, wellness, education, and business categories, among others.

Check out Kaodim here.

3. Dah Makan. With the goal of delivering affordable and delicious meals to busy working young adults, the startup has gained prominence in the food industry - with over thousands of orders per month.

Dah Makan co-founders Jessica (L), Jonathan (M), Chris (R)

Image via VulcanPost
Image via Jewel Pie

Jessica Li, who used to write for TimeOut magazine as a restaurant writer together with her 2 fellow co-founders Jonathan and Chris, founded Dah Makan, a healthy food delivery startup that brings you healthy and gourmet lunchboxes for you to try at home or at your office desk.
Image via Dah Makan

The venture was self-funded with USD40,000 but they now have an investor whose funds will go into building a bigger central kitchen, developing the logistics and app, and marketing the service.

Check out Dah Makan here.

4. wobb. The startup offers users a peep into working in a new environment. Aside from that, it helps users source out companies with great culture - wobb doesn't stand for 'Working On Bean Bags' for nothing.

Image via wobb

wobb is the attempt to show transparency to the entire deal for jobseekers in Malaysia. The job searching website allows you to have a sneak peek of the interior of the office as well as the people involved.

Don’t be fooled by the unassuming job description on the “Search Jobs” tab. Click on the “See Our Office”, “Hear Our People” or “Experience Our Culture” to experience not only their interior office, but also be able to watch testimonies from the current employees.

Founder of Wobb, Derek Toh.

Image via wobb

Derek Toh, founder of wobb aims to transform the work culture in Malaysia by helping the millennials to find their dream job. Wobb attempts to show transparency for jobseekers which allows them to peek inside the interior of the offices as well as the people involved. The jobseekers will then decide for themselves if they fit into the company before they start working there.

Check out wobb here.

5. The Alphabet Press. Founded earlier this year, The Alphabet Press uses the art of letterpress printing - an old printing method where paper is inked and impressed simultaneously manually.

Image via Behance

The Alphabet Press is a contemporary letterpress company founded in Malaysia a few months ago by best friends and colleagues Zeejay Wong, Cliff Leong, Helios Loo and Fidella Ch’ng.
Letterpress printing is an old printing method where paper is inked and impressed simultaneously manually. The Alphabet Press currently employs the modern letterpress method instead of the older movable type method.

With the movable type method, a lead type is used instead of ink and it is limited to fixed fonts and sizes. You would have to play around with a fixed set of words.
Image via The Malay Mail

The Alphabet Press uses a contemporary method, reproducing digitally designed graphics on photopolymer plates that are then given a thin coat of rubber-based ink before being pressed onto thick paper. Letterpress printing owes its resurgence to Martha Stewart, who began to feature wedding invitations using the technique in the 1990s. This created a wave of demand for the classic, handcrafted style, which has since become a staple for wedding invitations.

Apart from custom wedding invitations, The Alphabet Press also makes business cards.

Check out The Alphabet Press here.

6. EasyParcel. The first web-based courier delivery platform in Southeast Asia aims to help expedite the process of parcel delivery. Some of the partners including Poslaju, Skynet and many others.

Image via EasyParcel

With that first world problem of cutting down queue lines at post offices, EasyParcel - the first web-based courier delivery platform in Southeast Asia aims to help expedite the process of parcel delivery.

Calling itself the for courier services, EasyParcel allows users to check for delivery rates and book services from multiple courier companies

Image via EasyParcel

Their aim is to make every e-commerce merchant’s life easier by providing their online service. In addition, we were told to anticipate more features and integration of them with other multiple e-commerce platform as well as courier partners that will soon provide international delivery, same-day pick up and probably even same-day delivery.

Check out EasyParcel here.

7. The Battery Shop. By breaking away from conventional car battery workshops, the startup provides delivery services within an hour.

The Battery Shop exists for one reason; to get you back on the road quickly and safely. Unlike your average workshop, we use technology and our hearts to deliver exceptional customer service, after sales service, reliability and transparency. And that's because we understand how frustrating it is to have your car broken down

The Battery Shop has fixed over 1,600 cars since it started last year. They are hoping to have a mobile app up and running next year, with hopes to expand to Penang, Johor and Sarawak.

Check out The Battery Shop here.

8. Touristly. This web-based service strays away from tour groups by giving users a chance to plan their own travel intinery.

Image via Touristly

Touristly does not sell any travel packages, rather, it acts as a curator by helping you search through different restaurants, spas or other places of attraction in a particular country of region.

It's trip planner serves as a personal concierge that gives travellers the power to effectively become their own travel agent and create unique itineraries.

Image via Touristly

In December 2014, Touristly secured an investment from Netrove Ventures Group, a regional investment and advisory firm with offices in Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Guangzhou, Bangkok and Hanoi. The investment is testament to Touristly being in the right space and on the right track.

Touristly aims to serve key markets in Asia and Australia and be the definitive trip planner for the region. It currently features over 3,000 deals at more than 35 top destinations in the region and will expand to more destinations by the end of the year.

Check out Touristly here.

9. 100% Project. Through the concept of crowdfunding, this startup is aiming to push Malaysian education forward by giving the public a chance to contribute

Image via 100% Project

100% Project believes that great strides can only be made in education through collective impact. This means that we want to work with everyone - corporations, foundations, start-ups, social enterprises, schools, parents, teachers and individuals to move education forward in Malaysia.

Co-founders Andrew Yong (L), Amelia Tan (M), Karthik Karunanithy (R)

Image via Vulcan Post

Founded by a trio of friends, 100% Project has done so well at its launch that it ran out of projects to fund. The co-founders were surprised and encouraged by how supportive the public has been, so much so that they have ran out of projects for the public to fund!

Since its inception, 100% Project has partnered with other businesses like foodpanda to help market their products.

Check out 100% Project here.

10. Bookdoc. The recently launched app provides users to seek medical attention at any time of the day by 'booking a doctor'. The startup was given the title the title of having raised the highest pre-seed valuation in the Asian tech app history!

Image via BookDoc

For a start, the healthcare app is only available for corporate clients who wish to connect their employees with panel doctors and hospitals. It is also able to link those in need of medical services with healthcare professionals in order to provide timely care and access while reducing waiting time.

Founder Dato' Chevy Beh

Image via SCMP

The platform will only be limited to corporate clients for the time being as they as they just completed their seven-digit pre-seed evaluation (USD) a month ago, giving the company the title of having raised the highest pre-seed valuation in the Asian tech app history.

Check out BookDoc here.

11. KFIT. The startup provides users a one-stop pass to gyms, fitness centres around the South East Asia region. Recently, it landed a $3.25 million funding round led by Sequoia, a venture capital firm in the US.

Image via KFIT

Under the tagline ‘Fitness for everyone’, KFit wants to provide users with access to fitness studios, classes and gyms across a range of cities for one monthly membership price. Interested parties can get on the invite list by heading over to the landing page.

The service are available in markets including Tokyo, Seoul, Sydney, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Taipei, Bangkok, Manila, and more. Classes will be available for the likes of yoga, crossfit, pilates, cycling, zumba, pole dancing, kickboxing, bodybuilding, bootcamp, etc.
Image via KFIT

The startup has landed an impressive $3.25 million funding round led by Sequoia. This new round comes on the back of KFit’s undisclosed seed funding round, which was announced when the service launched in May. The company — which was founded by former Groupon APAC head Joel Neoh — takes its cues from a number of companies in the U.S.

Check out KFIT here.

12. GoGet. The startup connects those who want to get chores done, and those who will do it for them, for a fee. GoGet has been growing faster than the founding team initially projected. By the seventh week, its database of customers had crossed 500, which is really impressive!

Image via GoGet

GoGet’s role is not just to connect the two but also to break down the trust barrier. It does so by vetting the GoGetters who have to prove their identity through three photo IDs, as well as sign a statutory declaration that they have not been involved in criminal activities.

Most of the chores are deliveries, usually of delicate items like lunch boxes, cakes and flowers. Sometimes, GoGetters are asked to queue up to buy things, or to get people to fill up survey forms. A GoGetter has even delivered machinery from Johor Baru to Kuala Lumpur!

Founder Francesca Chia.

Image via The Malay Mail

Former management consultant turned entrepreneur Fran­cesca Chia saw a business opportunity in this. Chia started GoGet after leaving her job as a consultant at Boston Consulting Group. She believes this is the right time for start-ups and a service like GoGet. She also stated that GoGet was in some ways inspired by Yelp, the online urban guide and business review website founded in San Francisco in 2004.

Check out GoGet here.

13. Speedrent. By cutting away the middleman, the startup allows interested landlords to rent out their properties to potential tenants without the help of property agents.

Image via Speedrent

Aside from that, Speedrent constantly puts up discounts for tenants to receive 50% off their first month’s rent. So that's good news for us, Malaysians! The app's flexible and ample features make it easier for tenants to look for a place to stay.

Image via Speedrent

This is the market Speedrent hopes to capture. Currently, the app has gotten over 2,000 listings, and 6,000 users. The target in six months is to reach 50,000 users in Malaysia.

“We are thinking regionally, in ASEAN, there will be a population of 660 million by 2020. Using the same formula, I deduced the number of houses required for rent should stand at close to 25 million," founder Wong Whei Meng said.

Check out Speedrent here.

Meanwhile, catch up on some of the best highlights of 2015:

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