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 10th startup to be featured, Unilah aims to simplify student life and maximize the university experience
How did the idea behind the startup come about? Was it through personal experiences?
The idea behind UniLah stemmed from my personal experiences as a former university student. During my time in university, I noticed the limitations of the existing systems in capturing all the events happening on a global or regional scale. This inspired me to create UniLah, a platform that helps students discover and participate in various events and competitions. I wanted to provide a comprehensive resource that enhances the university experience by offering a centralized hub for event information.
As I delved deeper into gathering event information, I realized that there was also a lack of
centralization for student discounts and career openings. This realization drove me to expand the vision of UniLah beyond event discovery. I envisioned UniLah as a university super app, catering to the diverse needs of students by providing access to not only events and competitions but also student discounts and career opportunities.
By centralizing these resources, UniLah aims to simplify student life and maximize the university experience. We want to save students from the hassle of searching through multiple platforms and websites for relevant information. With UniLah, students can easily discover events, access exclusive discounts, and explore career opportunities all in one convenient place.
Our goal is to create a comprehensive platform that acts as a valuable companion to students throughout their university journey. We want to empower students by providing them with the tools and resources they need to make the most of their time in university. UniLah strives to be the go-to platform for students, offering a user-friendly interface, innovative solutions, and comprehensive features that enhance their university experience.
Through UniLah, we are committed to simplifying student life, helping students discover new opportunities, and fostering a thriving community within the university ecosystem. We believe that by centralising event information, student discounts, and career opportunities, we can make a positive impact and enrich the lives of students.
What problem statements are you hoping to solve in the coming year?
In the coming year, UniLah is determined to address the issue of limited event visibility and
participation for students. Their primary goal is to provide a comprehensive platform that allows students to access all relevant information in one place, eliminating the need to follow numerous social media pages and saving valuable time. By aggregating event listings from various universities and organizers, UniLah ensures that students have easy access to a wide range of events and competitions happening regionally and globally.
By collaborating with brands and businesses, UniLah provides students with exclusive offers and savings across various products and services. These deals are curated specifically for students, allowing them to enjoy discounts on everyday essentials, entertainment, dining, shopping, and more.
UniLah strives to continuously expand its selection of student deals, ensuring that students have access to a wide range of money-saving opportunities. Additionally, UniLah recognizes the importance of supporting students in their transition from university to the workforce.
To facilitate this, they plan to introduce AI-powered job matching capabilities to their platform. By analyzing students’ skill sets and interests, UniLah aims to connect them with job opportunities that align with their strengths and career aspirations. This feature will enhance students’ job search experience, providing them with tailored recommendations and increasing the likelihood of finding fulfilling employment.
Through these expansions into deals and career opportunities, UniLah aims to provide a comprehensive platform that not only enhances students’ university experience through event participation but also supports their financial well-being and career development.
Why should investors look your way?
Investors should consider UniLah due to its potential to address a significant pain point for
university students in Southeast Asia. By providing a comprehensive platform for event
discovery, participation, and job matching, UniLah offers convenience, time savings, and
opportunities for students to enhance their university experience and career prospects.
Positive feedback from users, event organizers, and brands validates the value UniLah brings to the market.
How will investment expand your business model ?
Investment can expand UniLah’s business model by enabling them to further develop and
enhance their platform. It will provide resources to scale their operations, improve user experience, and invest in marketing and partnerships to reach a wider audience.
Additionally, investment can support the expansion of their services, such as AI-powered job matching, and enable them to explore new opportunities for growth and innovation.
Who are your target market and demographic of users?
UniLah’s target market primarily focuses on undergraduate university students in Southeast Asia. They aim to serve a significant number of undergraduate students across the region, with a target user base in the millions. However, UniLah also recognizes the global nature of the education landscape and aims to expand its reach beyond campus and national boundaries.
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 UniLah faces as a platform startup is the classic ‘chicken and egg’ problem. Building a successful platform requires a significant user base and a robust database of events and deals. However, attracting users to the platform initially can be challenging without a comprehensive selection of events and deals. UniLah understands the importance of overcoming this challenge to create value for both users and event organizers/brands.
To address this issue, UniLah is actively working to build partnerships with clubs and societies. Collaborating with these student organizations allows UniLah to tap into their existing networks and leverage their influence to reach a wider audience of students. By partnering with clubs and societies, UniLah can access a broader range of events happening within universities, thereby expanding its database and increasing its value proposition to users.
Can you share your experience in founding a startup in university and lessons learnt through this programme?
Founding a startup in university as a student has been an incredibly thrilling experience for us. As students on campus, we had the opportunity to directly address the challenges and problems that fellow students face on a daily basis. This hands-on approach allowed us to gain a deep understanding of our target audience and their needs, which was invaluable in developing a solution that truly resonated with them.
The LaunchX program played a significant role in our startup journey. It provided us with the opportunity to work closely with students from various universities, as well as collaborate with clubs and societies on campus.
This collaboration not only allowed us to gain further insights into the needs and preferences of our target audience, but also fostered valuable partnerships and support within the student community.
We were fortunate to have access to dedicated spaces like Sunway iLabs, which provided us with a convenient location to work on our startup and enhanced our access to the student population on campus. This proximity enabled us to connect more effectively with our target users and receive guidance from the program mentors.
One of the major advantages of the LaunchX program was the extensive network of partners it connected us with. These partners were specifically interested in reaching the student audience, which greatly accelerated our growth and provided opportunities for collaboration and further support. The program’s network allowed us to expand our reach and tap into resources and expertise that would have otherwise been challenging to access.
If there’s one startup you would want to work with to expand your offering, which one would it be and why?
If there’s one startup we would want to work with to expand our offering, it would be a student-focused platform that complements our services and enhances the overall student experience. By collaborating with a startup in the same space, we can pool our resources, expertise, and technologies to provide even more value to students.
Our ideal partner would be a startup that specializes in areas such as student accommodation, career development, student finance, or educational resources. By combining our platforms, we can create synergies and offer a comprehensive suite of services that address the various needs of students throughout their university journey and beyond.
Working together with a like-minded startup would enable us to leverage each other's
strengths, expand our user base, and provide a more seamless and integrated experience for students.
By joining forces, we can maximize our impact and create a more holistic ecosystem that supports students in their personal, academic, and professional growth.
Ultimately, our goal is to enhance the university experience and empower students to make the most of their time in education. Partnering with a startup that shares our vision and focuses on student-centric solutions would be an exciting opportunity to amplify the value we bring to our users and make a greater impact in the student community.