Moving to Kuala Lumpur – A Guide for Startups and Entrepreneurs

YoStartups Team

Here is a quick and definitive guide about the startup ecosystem in Kuala Lumpur. The capital city of Malaysia holds special importance in the region not just for being the capital of this prominent tourist country in the region but also for its fast evolving startup environment. This article has everything you need to know about what drives the startups in the city and which are the notable sectors for which you can move to Kuala Lumpur.

Kuala Lumpur’s primary industries are manufacturing, tourism, technology, and finance. The city plays an important role in making Malaysia the largest centre for Islamic banking. With a GDP of $172 billion and a population of 7.2 million, Kuala Lumpur is an important entrepreneurial hub for startups especially the tech-based ones. Tech professionals from across countries are moving to Kuala Lumpur to be a part of its fast-growing startup ecosystem.

Kuala Lumpur, much like the other cities in Malaysia, is home to people of different ethnicities and origin. The population of Malaysia especially in business hubs like Kuala Lumpur is characterized by communities of Chinese and Indians mainly. However, the city is seeing an increase in expat communities from other countries as well in recent years.

Kuala Lumpur: A Startup Ecosystem with Unlimited Possibilities

The startup ecosystem in Kuala Lumpur has been growing owing to a mix of several factors. The city has more than 300 startups from diverse niches and a tech sector that is performing better than the others in the ecosystem. Let us throw light on some of the favorable conditions which are creating a fertile business environment here.

Move to Kuala Lumpur for Enjoying Unparalleled Government Support

A supportive government is undoubtedly a strong pillar for any startup ecosystem. Startups, entrepreneurs, and startup job seekers planning to move to Kuala Lumpur can now enter the country through the Malaysia Tech Entrepreneur program. The programs are available for new entrepreneurs as well as established ones who get a pass for staying in the country for one year and five years respectively. The application process takes less than two months and has helped several startups in Kuala Lumpur find a strong base in the city.

Startups & Entrepreneurs Enjoy a High Quality of Personal Life by Moving to Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is a versatile city when it comes to offering a healthy social life. From a vibrant nightlife to swoon-worthy beaches and islands, the city has it all. Kuala Lumpur’s ethnically vibrant population has also given rise to several culinary hotspots in the city. From authentic Malay street food to Michelin star restaurants serving intercontinental cuisine, the city does not fail to disappoint foodies.

Residents of the city can be assured of being in good hands when it comes to healthcare as the country is a growing medical tourism hub and Kuala Lumpur is one of the top five cities known for its excellent healthcare facilities.

Startups & Entrepreneur Move to Kuala Lumpur for Accessibility to Singaporean Market

The city’s proximity to another business hub in Malaysia, Singapore, has helped startups in Kuala Lumpur to scale markets in not just the city but outside it as well. Kuala Lumpur and Singapore are well connected, and the ease of shuttling between these two cities has increased since the introduction of low-cost air carriers.

Grow with the Help of Incubators and Accelerator Programs

The city is home to several government and private incubator and accelerator programs that are helping entrepreneurs find the right support for their business, Cyberview Living Lab, and grant financing programs like Cradle Fund are some of the key players in this network of incubator, accelerator, and funding programs that are motivating startups to move to Kuala Lumpur and grow under their wings to penetrate the regional market in a cost-efficient manner.

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Kuala Lumpur’s Dynamic Tech Sector

For a startup ecosystem that is in its activation phase, the tech segment has still managed to perform higher than expectations. Startups moving to Kuala Lumpur can be part of a tech sector that has grown despite all odds and has given the region some of the most notable exit and funding deals. A majority of the successful technology-based startups in Kuala Lumpur belong to the sub-sectors of gaming, e-commerce, big data & analytics, and health tech.

An Evolving Healthtech Segment for Startups & Entrepreneurs

The growth of the medical tourism sector in Malaysia has opened up a vast horizon of opportunities for the health tech sector to grow even more. Most of the products and services introduced by health tech startups in Malaysia have been focused on improving access to medical service providers in several ways. BookDoc which has raised $2 million so far is one among the many others likeTeleme, Getdoc, Healthmetrics, HomeGP and Door2Door Doctor. There were close to 1 million international patients who visited the country in 2017 for its healthcare facilities.

A Stable Foundation for Big Data & Analytics Startups

Big data & analytics has become one of the top sub-sectors in the tech niche, and its success can be attributed highly to the increased investments brought in by its startups. A notable local startup that bloomed in the ecosystem is iMoney which raised $10 million. It is a finance analytics provider and among the top startups in terms of investment received. Other companies that have witnessed significant funding rounds are ad targeting platform Ebizu which raised $3million and the IoT and analytics startup Pipeline Network which has got a funding of $1 million so far.  Big data and analytics professionals moving to Kuala Lumpur and the talent from universities like the University of Malaya and the University of Science, Malaysia are important catalysts for the growth of the sub-sector.

Smart Cities in Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur’s is progressing fast in the areas for smart city developments with collaborations with tech giants and other companies from around the world. The city’s smart traffic systems are a result of its partnership with Alibaba and one of the many important partnerships that are benefiting the development of Smart Cities services. The city has decided to trust world-renowned tech pioneer Jack Ma with its Smart Cities development by making the tech pioneer its digital economy adviser. Kuala Lumpur is the first city after China to use Alibaba Cloud’s City Brain.

 Startups moving to Kuala Lumpur wanting to create a niche for themselves in this segment can always rely on the many incubator and accelerator programs in the city.  Presence of accelerators like IFCA MSC Prop-Tech, Sunway Innovation Labs, and Cyberview Living Lab has helped in offering support to the startups in this sub-sector find the right launch pads for their business.

Other ecosystem partners who are pillars of the startup ecosystem in Kuala Lumpur are:

1337 Ventures

500 Startups

Codearmy

Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation

Maybank

So whether you are a startup, an entrepreneur, or a startup jobseeker, moving to Kuala Lumpur can be a great move for those looking forward to growing with a dynamic startup ecosystem. The city is well connected to the rest of the world and has a startup ecosystem that is listed in prestigious reports.

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This article is from Yostartups, YoStartups is a Pre Accelerator, and it empowers entrepreneurs to propel their business ideas into successful ventures. Yostartups’ core mission is to take the message of entrepreneurship to 1 billion people globally by 2020.

In case you are looking at scaling or launching a venture on similar lines, you can apply for our virtual acceleration program Excelrate on our website, Yostartups.com, Yostartups’ Excelrate program will help you in streamlining and structuring your startup idea. We have limited scholarships and discount packs for deserving business ideas, depending on the strength of your startup ideas, you may qualify for a discount.

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