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[SVC2M] Will Malaysia be the Silicon Valley of Southeast Asia? – Part 1

The entrepreneurial energy and spirit of young Malaysian has never been greater and felt since Silicon Valley came down to Malaysia the last couple of weeks ago, and a simple thank-you isn’t enough for the two icons who, with collaborative effort, brought down great entrepreneurs from the valley straight to Kuala Lumpur, heart of Malaysia – Dash and Rebeca Hwang of Startup Malaysia.

The event, although not as perfect, couldn’t be better with support from Silicon Valley icons, not to mention the great response received from local entrepreneurs.

Silicon Valley Comes to Malaysia (SVC2M) is a two-day conference, an initiative to help shape local entrepreneurs into global icons, attended by over 1000 young start-up entrepreneurs and corporate individuals from the country. 17 icons from Silicon Valley made it to the event, those including start-up superstars to Angel investors and Venture Capitalists, making it one of the biggest event to inspire the local start-ups.

Silicon Valley Comes to Malaysia

SVC2M was held in Kuala Lumpur just a week after TechVenture 2011 in Singapore. There are certainly more investors came to Singapore for TechVenture, but being the first of such event in Malaysia, SVC2M did a wonderful job and we believe the mission is achieved.

SVC2M as a whole is a unique entrepreneurial program to provide entrepreneurs with training and education, global mentorship, incubation and acceleration, a program that should have been organized long before, here in Malaysia. The full program includes two-day conference, one-on-one session with Silicon Valley icons (only limited number of entrepreneurs gets the invite), and StartupExperience Innovation Camp which invites a member of selected startup to experience the Silicon Valley journey to start-up success.

The program also look forward to select a number of local start-up entrepreneurs to experience the real Silicon Valley entrepreneurial culture in the US, with a chance to pitch and showcase ideas and products at an international event.

We are still waiting for the result of the round-trip experience to Silicon Valley. The winner of StartupExperience Innovation Camp can be found here.

One-on-one session with Konstantine Guericke, Co-founder of LinkedIn

Among the speakers at the conference, and advisors at the one-on-one sessions were Jawed Kareem, Co-founder of Youtube (video sharing site), Konstantin Guericke, Co-founder of LinkedIn (social network for professionals) and Naval Ravikant, Angel investor who also founded AngelList (community of startups, connecting entrepreneurs with investors, with traction).

The Silicon Valley of Southeast Asia

“The SVC2M platform has been valuable in giving Malaysians the chance to showcase their startup ideas to leading entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley. This has been definitely a crucial and important primer in transforming our nation’s entrepreneurs into high-growth global icons, as well as gives them the opportunity to shine on the international stage and increases Malaysia’s visibility and relevance as an ICT hub.” – said Datuk Badlisham, CEO of MDeC

If the United States of America has Silicon Valley, Malaysia has Klang Valley (although we still think Cyberjaya is the right answer).

Dash and Rebeca Hwang at the closing of Silicon Valley Comes to Malaysia

Will Klang Valley ever known to the world as a growing city, or a mature city that would be a great place to start a company? Singapore had a high record of new companies registered every year and rated as the best country to start a company again and again, so does Indonesia, and those are the two of our neighboring country we felt so close with. But are we close enough in this competition?

In Beijing, we attended TC Disrupt conference last week to understand the startup scene in China and Asia in general. The world knows it that there are hundreds of copycat business in China (Sarah Lacy of TechCrunch did great, throwing a question to Venture Capitalists at the conference, among them from Sequoia Capital and Accel Ventures), yet hundreds of copycat businesses  still something, when the business are all growing and remain competitive.

Will you label MilkADeal and Groupon.my (formerly groupsmore) as copycat when their business are doing just great, when they get acquired? Do you think bring-in a business that currently not in the local market, as copycat activity? At BFM Enterprise Breakaway conference last September, local Angel investor Swee Yong admit that he once tried to create Twitter model in Malaysia back in the year when it was founded.

Our ideas and analysis about the startup scene in Malaysia will be presented in Part 2 of this article.

Related at Evan Hugh:

  1. [Invitation Updates] Silicon Valley Comes to Malaysia: The excitement is here!
  2. Silicon Valley comes to Malaysia: A call to Malaysian technopreneurs
  3. SVC2M: SocialShout! tapping into social commerce exchange [startup]
  4. BizStart Showcase 2011: Business showcase for Malaysian entrepreneurs
  5. East Ventures Alpha: 100-day Startups Accelerator Program