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 9th startup to be featured, Athena led by Ng Li Ying, Chai Yueki, Andra Bong and Daphaney Wong is an immersive AR educational mobile game that covers environmental issues and raises awareness regarding endangered and extinct animals in Malaysia
How did the idea behind the startup come about? Was it through personal experiences?
- The idea behind Athena came about from our collective passion for both interactive storytelling and environmental conservation. We wanted to create a mobile game that not only entertained players but also educated them about the impact of pollution on animals in Malaysia. This idea was inspired by personal experiences and observations of the detrimental effects of pollution on the environment
What problem statements are you hoping to solve in the coming year?
- In the coming year, our primary goal is to raise awareness about environmental issues and promote sustainable practices among players. We aim to address problems such as pollution, responsible consumption, and climate change through the immersive gameplay of Athena. By fostering empathy and emotional connections between players and the animal characters, we hope to encourage them to take action and make a positive difference in their own lives and communities.
Why should investors look your way?
- Investors should look our way because Tolong² combines entertainment, education, and environmental impact in a unique and engaging way. Our game has the potential to reach a wide audience, including gamers of all ages and environmental enthusiasts. By aligning with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, we demonstrate a strong commitment to creating a sustainable future. Investing in Athena means supporting an innovative startup that has the potential to make a meaningful difference.
How will investment expand your business model ?
- Investment will be instrumental in expanding our business model. With increased funding, we can further develop the game’s features, including the augmented reality animal interactions, mini-games, and special filters. We can also invest in marketing efforts to reach a larger audience and raise awareness about our mission. Additionally, investment will allow us to collaborate with conservation organizations, further enhancing the game’s educational content and impact.
Who are your target market and demographic of users?
- Our target market and demographic of users are primarily mobile gamers who have an interest in environmental issues and storytelling. However, Athena is designed to be accessible and enjoyable for players of all ages. We aim to engage a diverse audience, including students, families, and individuals who are passionate about sustainability and wildlife conservation.
What challenges do you face in getting your offering to the market and how do you plan on overcoming these challenges?
- One of the challenges we face in getting Tolong² to the market is creating awareness and gaining traction among the highly competitive mobile gaming industry. To overcome this challenge, we plan to implement a comprehensive marketing strategy that leverages social media, influencers, and partnerships with environmental organizations. We will also focus on creating compelling content, fostering community engagement, and continuously improving the gameplay experience based on user feedback.
Can you share your experience in founding a startup in university and lessons learnt through this programme?
- Founding a startup in university has provided us with a unique opportunity to combine our passion for technology, storytelling, and environmental conservation. Through this program, we have learned valuable lessons about teamwork, project management, and the importance of user-centric design.
- We have also gained insights into the challenges and opportunities of the gaming industry. Overall, it has been an invaluable experience that has shaped our vision and prepared us for the journey ahead.
If there’s one startup you would want to work with to expand your offering, which one would it be and why?
- If we had the opportunity to collaborate with one startup to expand our offering, it would be a sustainability-focused organization or a company specializing in environmental conservation. By joining forces with such a startup, we could tap into their expertise, resources, and network to amplify our impact and reach.
- A partnership like this would allow us to leverage their knowledge and collaborate on initiatives that align with our shared goals, ultimately benefiting both the game and the environmental cause we strive to support.