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Inaugural Digital Tourism Innovation Lab by MDEC and 1337 Ventures kicks off Cohort 1

Kuala Lumpur, 2 February 2024 – Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), in collaboration with 1337 Ventures’ kicked off its first Digital Tourism Innovation Lab cohort on January 16, 2024, to revolutionise tourism technology in Malaysia. Applications for Cohort 2 of the programme are open.

The Digital Tourism Innovation Lab marks a significant stride towards fostering innovation, collaboration, and sustainable growth within the dynamic landscape of the tourism and hospitality industries.

Ts. Mahadhir Aziz, Chief Executive Officer of MDEC said “digital tourism is one of the nine promoted sectors in Malaysia Digital. MDEC is actively working on nurturing and expanding tourism tech companies and products by facilitating these MD companies in terms of funding and export.”

The objective is to create a national-level strategic plan that encourages the development of home-grown tourism tech solutions, addressing the gaps in local tourism operations, products, services, and destinations while catering to the demands of industry players.”

The Digital Tourism Innovation Lab will host three cohorts in 2024. The first cohort, which received 55 applications, is now in session with nine (9) extraordinary startups, delivering a range of solutions in healthcare, e-commerce, media, entertainment, and more.

Cohort 1 startups include Ocean Buddy, MyRehat, DoctorOnCall, Travelwalla, Colorverse, Helolokal , and CariMakan from Malaysia, as well as Singapore’s Filmplace and the United States’ Pigee.

These startups will undergo mentorship and guidance in areas such as product development, go-to-market strategies, and fundraising to ensure they are able to pitch effectively to investors for potential investment and are ready to explore any possible collaborations. There will also be sessions with the tourism industry subject matter experts e.g. Tourism Malaysia and the Malaysia Budget Hotel Association, to name a few for product validation and demand matching purposes.

Bikesh Lakhmichand, CEO and Founding Partner of 1337 Ventures

“Looking back at how excited we were to kick off our first fintech programme with MDEC in 2016, which brought us amazing startups like Xendit and Anypay, I’m really looking forward to what we’re going to see in our new accelerator cohort focusing on tourism.

It reminds me of that same buzz and anticipation. We’re here to find or spark some really cool and innovative ideas in tourism—ideas that could really shake things up. I can’t wait to see what we’ll discover together in this new area”

Bikesh Lakhmichand, CEO and Founding Partner of 1337 Ventures

The accelerator leverages 1337 Ventures’ extensive network of investors, entrepreneurs, and corporate partners to serve as mentors and subject-matter experts for the selected startups. Tourism Malaysia is also supporting the Digital Tourism Innovation Lab.

The eight-week virtual accelerator will culminate in the demo day, where the startups will pitch to a select, invite-only audience of investors and other leaders in the local tourism ecosystem. Registration for Cohort 2 is now open and will begin in May 2024.

Startups in the Travel, Tourism and Hospitality industry interested in participating in Cohort 2 can submit their application at https://1337.ventures/tourism-innovation/

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