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 4th startup to be featured is Ulalive, a virtual platform aiming to redefine collaboration at workplace and increase efficiency and productivity.
Born out of difficult working experiences that could have been easier otherwise, Ulalive is a virtual platform that hopes to redefine the way we collaborate at workplaces on a day to day basis.
Founder, Fareez Ahfam who previously worked in a job that required him to stay in touch with multiple teams in different countries encountered challenges in the form of poor sleeping patterns.
The challenges persisted when he worked as a commercial pilot and in one instance had to stick around with a computer when clients or teams requested virtual meetings. As a consequence, many opportunities were lost, tasks were not completed and decision-making often delayed due to a lack of energy to join the meetings.
There was also a lack of solutions that enabled teams to stay synchronised while attending meetings from the comfort of their homes and at their own convenience.
“That 1-hour meeting could be cut down to 15-20 minutes, getting to the main points while skipping unnecessary back-and-forth scheduling and Zoom calls and waiting for no-show participants,” says Fareez.
Ulalive hopes to tackle several problem statements and that includes the likes of back and forth scheduling of calls, higher sticky screen time, poor meeting efficiency and low levels of engagements during meetings.
According to Fareez, back-and-forth scheduling is a common problem faced by individuals and teams when trying to coordinate meetings and appointments. The process often involves multiple rounds of communication when checking both sides’ availability, resulting in wasted time and frustration.
Additionally, prolonged exposure to screens during video meetings can negatively impact health, leading to issues such as eye strain, fatigue and decreased overall well-being. He also shares that traditional meetings can be time-consuming, taking up valuable work hours and impacting productivity. Employees may also spend significant time preparing for meetings, attending them and conducting follow-ups thereafter.
So why should investors look their way?
“At Ulalive, we value time and there is an urgent need to redefine video communications and the way we stay connected. The platform is set to transform how businesses and individuals communicate and collaborate via email, addressing the evolving needs of modern remote teams while tackling global mental health issues,” Fareez says,
As remote work becomes more prevalent and global connectivity improves, businesses are seeking efficiency and effective ways to connect and collaborate virtually.
“That is why we are planning to capitalise on this growing market demand and capture a significant share of the market. With a strong go-to marketing strategy and a focus on customer acquisition and retention, Ulalive is poised for rapid scalability,” he adds.
With investment, Fareez believes the team will be able to double down on two key areas, Persona and the Product. This includes implementing marketing strategies to elevate brand awareness among their initial target customers, crafting targeted digital marketing campaigns with relevant influencers, creating informative content to funnel customers to their product and establishing strategic partnerships.
With regards to the product, potential investments can enable the enhancement of features, functionality and user experience. The team hopes to also actively incorporate user feedback, conduct in-depth market research and stay ahead of industry trends to provide a solution that effectively solves customers’ problems.
Ulalive currently targets busy founders and remote teams who rely on productivity tools such as Jira, Slack, Trello and Notion for cloud project management. These individuals, according to Fareez, are involved in numerous meetings, workflows and collaborations each day that require minimal presence.
As part of their expansion plan to test customer profiles, Fareez and his team are including professionals from various industries, including freelancers and product managers.
Not Without Challenges
“Bringing our offering to market comes with several challenges that we are actively addressing. One challenge is creating market awareness, particularly in SEA where SaaS products may be less familiar. To overcome this, we are implementing targeted marketing campaigns, partnering with industry influencers and leveraging social media platforms to educate potential users about the benefits and value of Ulalive,” Fareez tells Disruptr.
Another challenge is user adoption, as introducing a new tool into existing workflows can be met with resistance or hesitation. In order to tackle this, Ulalive is focusing on providing a seamless onboarding experience, including user-friendly interfaces and comprehensive tutorials.
“We offer excellent customer support to address any questions or issues promptly. Additionally, we encourage feedback from early adopters to continuously improve our products and ensure it aligns with user needs and preferences,” he says.
Fareez also believes that with the widespread adoption of AI, particularly ChatGPT, there is increasing awareness and interest in SaaS among individuals and enterprises looking to boost their productivity.
Growing With Guidance
As part of the LaunchX programme, Fareez shares the journey he and his team undertook on navigating with support and learning new skills as entrepreneurs through the programme.
“One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned is the importance of perseverance. Building a startup requires dedication, hard work and a willingness to overcome obstacles. From developing a minimum viable product to marketing it, every step along the way has presented its own set of challenges.
“But through persistence and a strong belief in our vision, my team and I have been able to navigate these hurdles and keep moving forward,” he says.
Fareez further shares that the Launch X accelerator has played a crucial role in supporting Ulalive’s startup journey. The guidance and mentorship provided by experienced entrepreneurs and industry professionals have been instrumental in shaping their business strategy and refining their ideas.
“Their programme has also given us access to workshops and networking events, allowing us to learn from experts and gain exposure to the startup ecosystem in Malaysia,” Fareez says.