What these M’sians achieved & what they’re doing now

In April of this year, the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Center (MaGIC) and Technology Park Malaysia (TPM) were consolidated into a technology commercialization agency.

This initiative was appointed by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) who also chose the former CEO of MaGIC, Dzuleira Abu Bakar, to lead this department.

Officially launched in April 2014 by former Prime Minister Najib Razak and former US President Barack Obama, MaGIC has played an important role in growing the startup ecosystem in Malaysia.

Until today, MaGIC is often regarded as a great support system for budding startups inside and outside Malaysia. So, we decided to look back on who its leaders have been, what they did as CEO of MaGIC and what they are doing now.

Cheryl Yeoh Sew Hoy (April 2014 – January 2016)

Image Credit: Cheryl’s Facebook page

Founding CEO Cheryl Yeoh Sew Hoy was sought to lead the government-funded $ 30 million (according to her LinkedIn) innovation program.

Cheryl herself is a Malaysian entrepreneur who started a startup, Reclip.It in New York City. The platform matched user shopping lists with digital coupons and ultimately made it to Silicon Valley, leading to an acquisition by Walmart Labs, the investment arm of the US retail giant. .

As CEO of MaGIC, Cheryl has been instrumental in creating all of the agency’s programs from scratch, building a team of 75 full-time staff and 25 interns over 2 years. Cheryl’s leadership also spawned MaGIC’s Global Accelerator Program (GAP), which has continued to this day and is now growing its 5th cohort.

She also led Distro Dojo with 500Startups, a growth stage accelerator that funds startups with $ 100 to $ 250,000.

Educational and networking programs have also been created by Cheryl to build the Angel Investor and VC community in Malaysia. This has helped the local startup ecosystem attract funds and investors from China, Japan, Singapore and Australia.

Cheryl resigned in January 2016 following the end of her contract period with MaGIC. However, it has also been said that his departure from the agency came after months of increasing pressure on MaGIC to reach out to entrepreneurs of all types, not just those based on technology, Digital News Asia reported. .

Post-MaGIC career

Despite this, the same source also pointed out that Cheryl accomplished what she set out to do: put Malaysian startups on the world map.

Since then, she hasn’t slowed down her impact on the growing communities and entrepreneurs around her.

Returning to the United States, she became Director of Marketing at Hack Reactor, a San Francisco-based coding boot camp, between June 2016 and March 2017. The company was later acquired by Galvanize, a platform for software engineering training, partially funded by its US $ 32 million series. C round of table in 2018.

Concurrently, Cheryl was an independent, non-executive director from 2016 to 2018 at Flexiroam Limited, an Australia-based telecommunications company.

In 2017, Cheryl opened up about her sexual assault by founding partner of 500 startups, Dave McClure. Her courage to speak out was recognized and she was ranked 13th in TIME’s “Person of the Year 2017” category, among 61 women featured in the magazine’s “Silence Breakers”. The list highlighted women who spoke out against sexual harassment in the workplace.

Following the publication of her account, Cheryl created the #MovingForward public directory in March 2018. #MovingForward is an open source directory aimed at helping founders know their rights and have a clear way to report harassment. and discrimination.

By October 2020, it had grown to 175 companies in 24 countries participating in this movement.

What she does today

Cheryl is currently Entrepreneur in Residence at Silicon Valley Bank and co-founder of healthcare technology startup TinyHealth. It offers microbiome tests that provide insight into the gut health of a pregnant mother and her baby during conception to prevent chronic health risks later.

She is also an advisor to various startups including blockchain infrastructure company Tendermint, the team that built Cosmos Network and Kenzie Academy.

Ashran Dato ‘Ghazi (May 2016 – November 2018)

Image Credit: Ashran Facebook page

Ashran Dato ‘Ghazi was selected as the new CEO of MaGIC in May 2016 to succeed Cheryl Yeoh.

He had also been an entrepreneur prior to this role and co-founded JOOT Ventures in 2011. The startup’s social networking site, Joota, managed to raise private investments of US $ 2.1 million, with partners from patents and distribution in the United States.

In addition, he was a member of the advisory board of the Malaysian SME Development Academy as well as a member of the board of directors of SME Corp.

During his tenure as CEO of MaGIC, Ashran helped expand MaGIC outside of the Klang Valley to involve Sarawak as well. The agency built a co-working facility in Kuching and named it Borneo 744. Its main goal was to develop entrepreneurship within the immediate community and to serve the Kuching startup scene.

Ashran has also helped bring GAP to the global stage with the inclusion of more foreign startups.

To tackle the under-representation of women in the startup ecosystem in Malaysia, it has also launched an initiative called Pre-Accelerator Bootcamp: Female Founders Edition.

In July 2017, he launched MaGIC’s Impact Driven Enterprise Accreditation (IDEA) initiative. IDEA was created to recognize and promote companies that have created a positive impact within their respective communities.

Post-MaGIC career and what it does today

Since stepping down as CEO of MaGIC in November 2018, Ashran has focused on consumer intelligence company Dattel Asia Group (Dattel) as CEO from January 2019 to present.

Dattel is a consumer intelligence and data analytics company whose mission is to democratize data and make good quality data and analytics accessible to as many people as possible. Since that move, it seems Ashran has always remained committed to developing talent and helping the local startup scene.

To help organizations better capture and analyze data, Dattel launched a global consumer intelligence challenge called IDEAHACK. It was a competition to attract interdisciplinary talent to find new perspectives, ideas and technological solutions.

Noticing entrepreneurs struggling with the abrupt change in consumer behavior due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Dattel launched UPLIFT Malaysia. This was an initiative to give 10,000 companies actionable insights into the latest consumer behavior through a RM50 million data base.

Dzuleira Abu Bakar (April 2019 – April 2021)

Image credit: Dzuleira Facebook page

Like his predecessors, Dzuleira is no stranger to the entrepreneurship ecosystem. As a seasoned VC, she was formerly CEO of Cradle Seed Ventures (Cradle), a growing venture capital fund.

Dzuleira was appointed CEO of MaGIC in April 2019. Her case is a bit unusual as she is technically a former CEO of MaGIC, but due to the consolidation of TPM and MaGIC she is back on the board of directors. of the last.

While leading MaGIC as the agency’s CEO in 2019, she managed to take some important steps. In just 2 years under his leadership, the organization achieved 760 million RM of total value creation, reached 26,327 participants through its various programs and entered into 5 international partnerships, to name a few examples.

Through Dzuleira’s leadership, MaGIC has played an important role in coordinating the implementation of the National Sandbox for Technology and Innovation (NTIS).

NTIS is the national solutions coordination center that enables innovators and startups to test their business models and delivery mechanisms in a secure, live environment. This is possible because the NTIS allows for some relaxation of all or some of the regulatory requirements.

As part of the PENJANA 2020 initiative to help boost Malaysia’s economic recovery from the pandemic, Dzuleira led the creation of the MaGIC Social Impact Matching Grant (SIM Grant).

The grant was intended to help social innovators support their initiatives and programs through a 1-to-1 grant matching mechanism for successful crowdfunding initiatives.

In April 2021, Dzuleira was appointed by MOSTI to lead the merger of MaGIC with TPM to create Malaysia’s Silicon Valley. The move is part of the government’s broader efforts to restructure and consolidate its agencies to ensure they are well placed to execute the MySTIE 10-10 framework.

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During its years of operation, MaGIC achieved RM409 million in value creation, ran 294 programs, accelerated 189 startups and created 690 jobs, according to a 2020 report.

With the country poised to develop startups to take Malaysia from its current production-based economy to a knowledge-intensive economy, building the right ecosystem to thrive and cultivate innovations will be a strategic step to achieve. this goal.

Seeing that the MaGIC-TPM merger is intended to do just that, all eyes will be on Dzuleira as she leads the government agency in achieving the goals set on the MyDIGITAL plan.

  • You can read more articles that we have written on MaGIC here.
  • You can read stories from Malaysian startups here.

Featured Image Credit: Cheryl Yeoh Sew Hoy / Ashran Dato ‘Ghazi / Dzuleira Abu Bakar

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