CYBERJAYA: The Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) has partnered with KPMG Malaysia to accelerate its Founders Centre of Excellence (FOX) programme, which aims to nurture five Malaysian unicorns by 2025, get 10 of them listed on the exchange, and drive the digital economy in establishing Malaysia as the digital hub of Asean.

KPMG’s involvement in the programme is to provide consulting and advisory support covering areas such as market insights, technology updates, risk management, governance, and regulatory compliance.

KPMG’s management consulting (IT enabled transformation) executive director Alvin Gan Seng Heng said that there is tremendous potential for local startups to grow beyond the country’s borders and make their mark on the global map, starting with an innovative idea introduced at the right time to the right markets.

“Malaysia as a nation has all the right ingredients for technology companies to grow, supported by modern infrastructure, progressive policies for business, and a skilled workforce,” he said at the event today.

Referring to Malaysia’s strong content creation and consumption culture and its proximity to financial hubs like Singapore, he said that these areas have sparked a lot of growth for local startup companies. However, he also noted that talent is still a key challenge for many startups, along with how to scale up and export their services beyond the border.

“From our study in Malaysia, most of the companies with potential come from the fintech and payment space at the moment,” he shared.

MDEC’s digital export senior vice-president Gopi Ganesalingam said that it is looking at nine tech sectors including digital health, digital finance, Islamic digital economy, digital agriculture, digital content, digital trade, digital cities, and digital health, supported by tech enablers mostly from the 4IR technology.

“The promoted sectors are fixed, but the technology enabler is fluid, because technology changes so fast. Any company involved in either the promoted sector or the tech sector would qualify. We have more than 400 to 500 companies that we are watching, and the number is growing fast,” he added.

The FOX programme is an intervention initiative designed to provide support for 20 selected companies that have shown high-speed growth and the potential to become the next unicorn. It is in line with the Malaysia Digital programme, an initiative to accelerate the growth of the nation’s digital economy.

The criteria of the FOX programme include privately held in Malaysia and have demonstrated a strong growth track record measured by having revenue above RM20 million or raised Series A or have a strong 3-year growth track record.