Sunway iLabs, Carsome to launch Malaysia’s first auto ecosystem accelerator

Sunway Innovation Labs (iLabs), the innovation arm of Malaysia conglomerate Sunway Group announced on Friday a joint partnership with Carsome, Southeast Asia’s largest integrated car e-commerce platform to launch an accelerator program.

Launching in the third quarter of 2022, the so-called Carsome Mobility Lab will be the first auto ecosystem focused accelerator in Malaysia looking to support global tech startups to deliver sustainable solutions in Carsome’s existing markets, the companies said in a joint statement.

The program will provide a holistic platform for startups in the auto ecosystem to scale by providing mentorship, opportunities for funding and access to partnership opportunities through Sunway and Carsome’s network of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, corporates and industry experts.

“We are truly excited over this partnership with Sunway iLabs, as this is the first-of-its-kind accelerator in the Southeast Asian region to identify, partner and scale innovative start-ups,” Carsome Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Eric Cheng said.

Selected startups will be offered the opportunity to connect with Sunway’s 13 business divisions and Sunway City Kuala Lumpur’s ecosystem as well as the group’s funding funnel and ecosystem comprising Orbit Malaysia, SunSEA Capital, Gobi Partners and The HIVE SEA for further funding and investment opportunities.

This is in line with Sunway’s vision to position Sunway City Kuala Lumpur as a living laboratory bringing in experts to generate sustainable, real-world solutions for the future urban spaces towards the betterment of our environment and humankind.

“We are really pleased to see how our partnership with Carsome has grown into a broad-spectrum innovation platform covering R&D, tech talent development, and now also a startup accelerator program,” Sunway Group Chief Innovation Officer and Director of Sunway iLabs Matt van Leeuwen said.

“Sunway Group has invested over MYR200 million ($47 million) in startups and venture building over the last few years and we remain committed to equipping and enabling businesses in developing greater local innovations as part of our commitment to nation-building and advancing the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” Sunway Group CEO of Digital and Strategic Investment Evan Cheah said.

Launched in 2017, Sunway iLabs aims to foster entrepreneurship and stimulate market-driven innovations, to help entrepreneurs become more competitive in this rapidly changing environment. It is structured as a unique, non-profit, smart partnership between Sunway Group, Sunway Ventures/SunSea Capital, the corporate venture arm of the group and Sunway University.

Carsome becomes Malaysia’s first tech unicorn last year. Founded in 2015, Carsome provides end-to-end solutions to consumers and used car dealers, from car inspection to ownership transfer to financing, promising a service that is trusted, convenient and efficient. It transacts more than 100,000 cars on an annualized basis, which translates to around $1 billion in revenue. It has expanded into Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore.

In March, Carsome announced the acquisition of 51 percent stake in Singapore integrated automotive firm CarTimes Automobile Pte Ltd (CarTimes).

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