My experience applying for MaGiC's MAP

In May 2015, I applied to join MAP, an accelerator programme by MaGiC.

A program to accelerate startups to be investment-ready in 4 months, and to build a strong ASEAN startup community by cultivating ASEAN relationships

This was the first time I decided to apply for an accelerator and funding from VCs. We had to post a 90 second elevator pitch on Youtube along with an online submission about our startup. Out of 1047 applicants, 50 were shortlisted for a final interview. Rezkii was one of those shortlisted.

The elevator pitch was something I found challenging. Firstly, I had to make what I do concise yet impactful. Secondly, I'm known to be a long-winded person. Going through an hour and a half of writing and taping my script was tedious. But eventually, I managed to keep it within 90 secs.

Next, I had to deliver a presentation.

Rezkii original slide deck for MaGiC Accelerator May 2015 from Hazrul Azhar Jamari

I flew into KL and took a cab to Cyberjaya. Perhaps I should have Uber-ed instead. I registered my attendance, and waited. Apparently, I was the last to present. It was really stressful waiting so I rehearsed my presentation in my head over and over again.

Once it was my turn, I delivered my presentation. I felt I did well enough presenting with the slides. But the Q&A was probably what killed me. I think I struggled answering questions and this is where I wished my team was around and helped to answer some of these questions.

Examples of such questions and remarks include:

  • There is already Competitor A and Competitor B. Why is yours so different?
  • It seems like you're trying to do too much. I'm not sure about this.
  • You look more like a lifestyle business. It doesn't look like it can scale.

I didn't feel like I convinced the panelists with my poorly thought out answers. I've never been good at responding off the cuff. I'm a thinker and contemplate my answers in the next hour.

Thus, it was best to present to as many people as possible before coming so that we can generate those questions and come out with answers. We would be more prepared.

The problem was, I wasn't prepared for the questions. I did not expect them. And that's probably why I didn't get selected.

When they delivered the news of who made it, I found that there was another applicant from Singapore who had a similar e-commerce idea get selected. I did not see much difference between my product and theirs. Why did they get selected?

I realised that the following rules apply when you are seeking for funding or to join an accelerator programme.

  • Your product must scale. It must be XaaS. (X = software, logistics, marketing etc)
  • You must be able to answer why you are better than your competitors.
  • You must be able to prove demand for your product despite the competition.

These learning points helped us to improve on our decks and presentations. Certainly we're better prepared for questions.

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