What these M’sians have achieved and what are they 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 nominated by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) which also selected the former CEO of MaGIC, Dzuleira Abu Bakar, to head this department.

Officially launched in April 2014 by former Prime Minister Najib Razak and former US President Barack Obama, MaGIC has played a significant role in the growth of the startup ecosystem in Malaysia.

To this day, MaGIC is often considered a great support system for budding startups in and out of Malaysia. So, we decided to take a look back at who its leaders were, 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 kicked out of a head for driving the USD $ 30 million (according to his LinkedIn) government-funded innovation programs.

Cheryl herself is a Malaysian entrepreneur who launched a startup, Reclip.It in New York. The platform paired users’ shopping lists with digital coupons and eventually made it to Silicon Valley, leading to a acquisition by Walmart Labs, the investment arm of the US retail giant.

As CEO of MaGIC, Cheryl played a role in creating all of the agency’s programs from the ground up, building a team of 75 full-time employees and 25 interns within 2 years. Cheryl’s leadership was also born MaGIC global acceleration program (GAP), which has continued to date and is now raising its fifth cohort.

He also drove Distro dojo with 500 startups, a growth phase accelerator that funds startups with USD $ 100-250K.

Cheryl has also created educational and networking programs to build the community of angels and VCs in Malaysia. This was able to help the local startup ecosystem bring in funds and investors from China, Japan, Singapore and Australia.

Cheryl resigned in January 2016 after the end of her contractual term with MaGIC. However, his departure from the agency was also rumored to have come after months of increasing pressure on MaGIC to reach out to entrepreneurs of all kinds, not just tech-based ones, he reported. Asia digital news.

Post-MaGIC career

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

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

Returning to the United States, she became Chief Marketing Officer at Hack Reactor, a programming bootcamp based in San Francisco, between June 2016 and March 2017. The company was subsequently acquired by Galvanize, a software engineering education platform, partially funded by his US $ 32 million Series C funding round in 2018.

At the same time, Cheryl worked as an independent and non-executive director from 2016 to 2018 in Flexiroam Limited, an Australian-based telecommunications company.

In 2017, Cheryl spoke of his sexual assault by the founding partner of 500 startups, Dave McClure. Her speaking courage was recognized and she was listed at number 13 in TIME’s “Person of the Year 2017” as one of 61 women featured in “Silence Breakers” magazine. The list highlighted women who have spoken out against sexual harassment in the workplace.

After her account was released, Cheryl established the #MovingForward public directory in March 2018. # MovingForward is an open source directory with the goal of helping founders learn about their rights and have a clear way to report harassment and discrimination.

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

What does it do today

Cheryl is currently a resident entrepreneur at Silicon Valley Bank and co-founder of healthtech startup, TinyHealth. It offers microbiome tests that provide insights into a pregnant mother and her baby’s gut health during conception to prevent chronic health risks later on.

He is also a consultant to various startups, including blockchain infrastructure company Tendermint, the team that created Cosmos Network and Kenzie Academy.

Ashran Dato ‘Ghazi (May 2016 – November 2018)

Image credit: Ashran’s 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 position and co-founder JOOT Ventures in 2011. The startup’s social networking site, Joota, managed to raise $ 2.1 million in private investment, with US patents and distribution partners.

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

during his mandate as CEO of MaGIC, Ashran helped expand MaGIC beyond 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 grow entrepreneurship within the immediate community and serve the Kuching startup scene.

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

To combat the under-representation of women in the Malaysian startup ecosystem, she also launched an initiative titled Pre-Accelerator Bootcamp: Female Founders Edition.

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

Post-MaGIC career and what he is doing today

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

Dattel is a consumer intelligence and data analytics company with a mission to democratize data and make good quality data and analytics accessible to the masses. After this move, it appears that Ashran has remained committed to nurturing talent and helping the local startup scene.

To help organizations capture and analyze data in a better way, Dattel has launched a global consumer intelligence challenge called IDEAHACK. It was a competition aimed at engaging interdisciplinary talent to find new perspectives, ideas and technology-based solutions.

Noting entrepreneurs grappling with the abrupt change in consumer behavior due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Dattel launched UPLIFT Malaysia. It was an initiative to provide 10,000 businesses with actionable information on the latest consumer behavior through a RM 50 million data fund.

Dzuleira Abu Bakar (April 2019 – April 2021)

Image credit: Dzuleira’s Facebook page

Just like its predecessors, Dzuleira is no stranger to the entrepreneurial ecosystem. As an experienced VC, he was once the CEO of Cradle Seed Enterprises (Cradle), a growing venture capital fund.

Dzuleira what? nominated for the role of the CEO of MaGIC in April 2019. Her case is a bit out of the ordinary because technically she is a former CEO of MaGIC, but due to the consolidation of TPM and MaGIC, she has returned to the latter’s board of directors.

While running MaGIC as the agency’s CEO in 2019, she managed to achieve important milestones. In just 2 years under his leadership, the organization achieved RM760 million in total value creation, impacted 26,327 participants across its various programs, and secured 5 international partnerships, to name a few.

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

NTIS is the national solutions coordination center that allows innovators and startups to test their business models and delivery mechanisms in a safe and active environment. This is possible because NTIS allows for some loosening from all or certain regulatory requirements.

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

The grant aimed 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 Merger of MagIC with TPM to found the Silicon Valley of Malaysia. This move is part of the government’s larger efforts to restructure and consolidate its agencies to ensure they are well positioned to run the MySTIE Structure 10-10.

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In its years of operation, MaGIC achieved a value creation of RM 409 million, organized 294 programs, accelerated 189 startups and created 690 jobs, according to a report in 2020.

Recently, the agency also launched The Malaysian Research Accelerator for Technology and Innovation, (MRANTI). Formed through the consolidation of MaGIC-TPM, the soft launch of the new MOSTI agency combines the hardware and software needed to accelerate Malaysian innovation to commercialization.

With the country poised to develop startups to drive Malaysia from its current production-based economy to a knowledge-intensive economy, building the right ecosystem to grow and nurture innovations will be a strategic move to achieve this.

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

  • You can read more articles we wrote on MaGIC here.
  • You can read Malaysian startup stories here.

Featured image credit: Cheryl Yeoh Sew Hoy / Ashran Dato ‘Ghazi / Dzuleira Abu Bakar


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