S’wak startups urged to be more open to non-IPO options for successful corporate-startup relationships

Ng speaking during the interactive panel session at BCIS 2022 at Tegas Digital Village today (Oct 13, 2022).

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By Ling Hui

KUCHING, Oct 13: Startups in Sarawak looking to be acquired by corporations must be more open and adaptive to the latter’s ‘flavour’ or preferences.

This advice was given by Cahya Mata Sarawak head of innovation and commercialisation Dr Ng Sing Kwei when he urged local startups not to obsess over the Initial Public Offering (IPO) exit strategy.

“Recently, we’re very interested in one startup company, very interested because we like their product, the way things are being done.

“However, there were two things that we struggled with. First, their valuation was sky high. Second, they were so into IPO as the only way out,” he shared.

He said adding on that corporations such as Cahya Mata, as a listed company, would not be looking to be listed again.

Rather, they would focus more on strategic investment in rising companies that can accommodate the needs of the acquiring organisation into their exit strategy.

Meanwhile, Ng said Cahya Mata will be structurally revealing and opening up opportunities or platforms for local startups to propose their solutions for problems that the corporation is facing.

Ng was speaking in an interactive panel session and responding to a question from the floor asking whether Cahya Mata requires the help of local startups to solve corporate problems.

The session titled ‘Redefining Corporate Innovation — Build or Acquire’ was one of three interactive panel sessions during the Borneo Corporate Innovation Summit (BCIS) 2022 at Tegas Digital Village here today.

From left: Foo, Ng, Ramskay, and Pan sharing their views during an interactive panel session titled ‘Redefining Corporate Innovation — Build or Acquire’.

Ng was joined by Sunway Innovation Labs iLabs Ventures head Dr Melissa Foo, Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd Strategic Planning Unit head Adam Ramskay, and International Innovation Hub & Centres of Excellence Mranti Malaysia general manager Peter Pan.

The four were among the 15 visionary leaders in the Sarawak and Malaysia corporate scene invited to BCIS 2022 to share their insights and experiences in their respective fields. — DayakDaily