In collaboration with Sunway iLabs, Disruptr will be featuring 10 startups who have made it to the Top 10 of the LaunchX 2023 programme.
Supported by the Ministry of Higher Education, LaunchX, the first University Startups Accelerator Programme in Malaysia, has recently unveiled the top ten university startups selected from its pre-accelerator phase. This equity-free, no-strings-attached 3+2-month program focuses on empowering budding entrepreneurs to achieve key milestones and take their startups to the next level.
The first of the 10 is Artmeet, a creative designer professional network and job marketplace for designers and recruiters to find and network with one another through a centralised platform.
The platform aims to enable recruiters to connect, search and hire Creatives Designers in a more effective and low-cost manner. On the other hand, designers can also reach out to like-minded connections and showcase their portfolio.
How Did It All Start?
What many might not know that the team behind Artmeet is the same team that started their first company, SenangPrint.com in 2018. Through client engagement, they received queries if they could provide design services as many found it difficult to hire designers at the time.
“We know there is a huge opportunity to solve these problems, but we had to focus on the core of the business, printing,” says Kelvin Tai, Chief Executive Officer of Artmeet.
However, when the Covid-19 pandemic hit and lockdowns ensued, SenangPrint.com was among the many that had their factories shut down. Rather than wait for the print industry to recover, the team decided to launch Artmeet instead.
Today, Artmeet is looking to plug gaps in the industry, faced not only by designers but also companies looking for resources within this ecosystem.
According to Kelvin, with traditional job platforms proving to be a challenge for industry experts, and small and medium sized businesses facing high costs due to low volume, he believes Artmeet will be able to find grounds that can solve these challenges and eventually plug the gaps.
In Malaysia, reports show that the digital content industry is facing tight competition due to a tight talent pool and remote working opportunities provided by studios and agencies beyond Malaysian shores.
Additionally, the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) had reported that demand for talent from the industry is expected to rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.59% per year over the next 3 years.
Getting Investors To Look Their Way
As a team of 4 equipped with strong technological and marketing skills, Kelvin believes Artmeet has only come out stronger than ever since they first started. He claims to have achieved a top spot in the industry with 10x lesser funding and a later start in comparison to his competition.
He is also optimistic that with the industry growing on a upward trajectory consistently, especially with the online recruitment industry growing at a CAGR 15.2% and the gig economy at 33%, Artmeet is ripe to start attracting investors.
“We have 12,000 designers on the platform across Malaysia, Singapore and Philippines. We have also started monetisation in Malaysia and we believe, with investment, we will be able to expand our business to Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam within the next 12 months.
“Our marginal cost is close to zero because of how well-developed and extensive the platform was designed,” Kelvin shares.
The team also keen to collaborate with local startups in order to expand Artmeet’s offering, one of it being, BossBoleh.
Guidance From Sunway LaunchX
“Establishing a startup in University is hard. Having to juggle running the startup and studying is a challenge due to the limited support we had received from family and friends, as many chose to believe that studying comes first followed by finding a job,” says Kelvin.
“However, through the LaunchX programme, we received professional guidance, knowledge and mentorship to steer Artmeet on the right path as we grew the business. We were also fortunate to have received networking opportunities in order to expose what the startup was all about to industry leaders and experts,” he tells Disruptr.