Malaysia-based accelerator and early-stage venture capital firm 1337 Ventures  has announced a new MYR1.2 million ($290,000) 1337 Accelerator Fund I to invest into promising early-stage Malaysian startups.

The new fund is open to seed-stage startups across any industry, from fintech, edtech to healthtech, 1337 Ventures said in a statement.

The fund will be co-funded by seasoned angel investor and venture capitalist Asgari Stephens and former Chief Operating Officer of Suresh Thiru together with 1337 Ventures, it added.

“We are pleased to work with 1337 Ventures because the team gives investors confidence through their successful accelerator programmes. A lack of financial support has always been a challenge in the local startup ecosystem, hence this fund will play an important role to launch new ideas and innovations to the market.,” said Asgari Stephens.

According to the statement, the decision comes after realising that raising seed capital in Malaysia is challenging, as most investors prefer to invest in later-stage startups due several reasons which includes lack of traction in early-stage startups, no market validation and more.

1337 Ventures noted that a consistent flow of early-stage investments is critical to the success of seeing more startups getting funded at a later stage, and this encouraged 1337 Ventures to partner with like-minded investors who were getting early into deals.

“There’s a great synergy between the three of us. Asgari, Suresh and I were keen to not only help new startups through the funding but also help from our networks”, said Bikesh Lakhmichand, Chief Executive Officer and Founding Partner of 1337 Ventures.

“MYR1.2 million ($290,000) is not much, but we know how to make it impactful. It’s more than just the funding, it is also about the steady direction from our team to help startups raise a larger seed round and with Suresh and Asgari being their advisors, these startups are all equipped to scale up their business,” he added.

According to the statement, 1337 Ventures will essentially act as the General Partner (GP) of the fund, and will therefore be responsible for managing all aspects of the fund – all the way from screening the startups, to portfolio management.

Meanwhile, eight potential deals will be signed throughout the year with a maximum funding of up to RM150,000 per deal. These startups will also receive assistance in raising the balance seed round if necessary.

“We are witnessing a rise of Malaysian startups trying to solve various problems – from making our daily lives easier to solving bigger challenges. With this fund, I am looking forward to supporting businesses that will benefit our society and perhaps, go global,” said Suresh Thiru.

Last year, 1337 Ventures concentrated on both early-stage and later seed-stage deals with more than MYR1.3 million ($310,000) invested in early-stage startups.

1337 Ventures said that the plan for 2022 is to delve deeper into a similar strategy while also doubling down on teams who come in through the signature Alpha Startups as well as Pitch Tuesday sessions.

Pitch Tuesday is a platform for early-stage startups to pitch their business, in the hopes of being funded and mentored by 1337 Ventures. This year, 1337 Ventures will also organise monthly accelerator programmes, beginning with Alpha Startups MyFintech Week 2022.

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