SDG Energy+ : Offering A Cooler Option

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 7th Startup is SDG Energy+, led by Kalidasan Balasubramaniam, Prof Adarsh Kumar Pandey and Muhammad Hazim who shares with Disruptr on their development of thermal regulating technology. 

How did the idea behind the startup come about? Was it through personal experiences?

  • The idea stems from our doctoral research that we are currently pursuing. Thermal regulation of climatic condition in a sustainable way with focus on greener technology is of utmost urge.
  • Hence, we believe by commercialising our research into market viable product will be beneficial to society, as we deal with passive, cleaner, sustainable, long lasting and eco-friendly materials. Also, our previous experience in Make It Challenge 2022 encouraged us to expand ourselves into LaunchX this year.

What problem statements are you hoping to solve in the coming year?

  • We are hoping to make a remarkable contribution towards Sustainable Development Goals of a) Good health and wellbeing (SDG-03); b) affordable and clean energy (SDG-07); c) Sustainable cities and communities (SDG-11) and d) Climate action (SGD-13). We hope that our product will predominantly resolve problems related to thermal regulation such as buildings, human body during work and sleep, batteries & electronic gadgets and also for thermal energy storage overcoming the intermittent nature of solar power.
  • One of the developed product is Cooling Vest for workers working under sun (construction workers; traffic police; bikers, those doing outdoor activities such as cyclists, joggers and runners) especially during the hot weather condition that has been happening recently.

Why should investors look your way?

  • Our products are unique, particularly in the local market with no other local company producing phase change materials (PCMs)-based products. Also, the product has a huge potential with a wide range of applications such as cooling vest, building cooling; battery thermal management, photovoltaic thermal systems, thermal regulation of electronic gadgets; food delivery bags and much more. Allowing us to have tonnes of expansion potential and customers.

How will investment expand your business model?

  • Investments would allow us to launch our products into market as well as enhance the production number. Besides, the wide range of application of the products could see us expand ourselves in B2B to extend our potential within the reach of B2C market.

Who are your target market and demographic of users?

  • Our initial target market would be to the construction, waste management and other companies that are dealing with large number of workers working under the sun or heat. Other than that, motorcyclists – casual, delivery riders, traffic police as well as people doing outdoor activities such as cyclists, joggers and runners are also some of our target demographics.
  • Not only the above, our product has greater potential to be used for building cooling in a passive manner, thermal regulation of cars parked under sun, and electronic gadgets.

What challenges do you face in getting your offering to the market and how do you plan on overcoming these challenges?

  • Our product is of a new kind in the market, as it is an emerging research and advanced technology that’s been not commercialised before in the country. Henceforth, creating awareness and exhibiting the benefits of our products requires lots of marketing.
  • By highlighting the benefits and outcomes of our products as well as the lack of other efficient alternatives, we hope to be able to convey our products effectively. Also, offering certain discounts or perks for bulk purchases are also some other alternatives we are looking into.

Can you share your experience in founding a startup in university and lessons learnt through this programme?

  • It has been an eye-opening experience for ourselves and it is also interesting to dabble into something we might not have been looking at.

If there’s one startup you would want to work with to expand your offering, which one would it be and why?

  • A startup that are within the same type of business or at least model as us would be appreciated and we could probably cooperate with. Otherwise, maybe startups with experience and expertise in business marketing could also be helpful for our own startups as well.

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