Cutting-edge, fast-paced and advanced – that’s the typical perception of what a company should be. But today, startups have redefined the industry. Startups are emerging companies with a small but very agile and dynamic structure, the result of groundbreaking ideas with which entrepreneurs want to change the world. To date, Malaysia estimates around 3,000 startups mushrooming in every industry possible. The trend is an upward one and many have yet to flex their muscles.
In the startup ecosystem, the narrative is evolving into a more positive one aside from profits. Malaysian startups are including impact as their bottom line. While profit is fundamental, these startups are also committed to improving lives and the environment.
#1: Boom Grow
For 8 years, BoomGrow has been changing the course of farming through a controlled environment for farming. This is possible through the use of technology, the ‘Machine Farm’. To adopt a sustainable approach, the nutritional greens are harvested with 95% less water and land, without added chemicals.
Our systems detect how various inputs such as light, water, and pH impact the quality and taste of our plants. We call this our plant recipes. We then rely on machine learning and data analytics to tailor each input to the respective plant, producing greens that are tastier. – Shan, Founder of BoomGrow 
What’s even more mind-blowing is that these greens are delivered on the same day they’re harvested! Simply browse through their online store for a wide range of fresh vegetables and support Boom Grow’s sustainable move!
Launched in 2021, GuruLab is a startup driven by education – particularly the English language. Technology is a crucial asset for Gururlab, as data analytics are applied to understand feedback from students in hopes of serving them better.
Gurulab is better known as a digital platform which allows for personalised and affordable English learning. The organisation hires highly skilled English teachers, and the impact on students has been amazing, especially those sitting for SPM and PT3 examinations.
This desire to give back to society runs deep within the company with many of our team members being passionate about helping Malaysian students.This was especially after witnessing first hand the various opportunities that a good education can bring. – Eer Kai Song, GuruLab co-founder 
1 in 3 Malaysians has mental health issues, and many Malaysian organisations are adopting new practices to improve the mental health of their employees and stakeholders.
Naluri is among those that have stepped in since 2017 through digital means. This startup combines human-led expertise fused with technology to increase engagement for better health outcomes. This applies to both mental and physical health. The platform also caters to patients who are seeking emotional support from qualified therapists while undergoing treatment.
Naluri is about creating a digital service for health psychology, which is a specific sub-field of psychology that uses psychotherapy, counselling and coaching techniques to help users. – Azran Osman-Rani, Naluri co-founder 
Over the years, Malaysians would purchase cooking gas by going to the nearest kedai runcit. With the advancement of technology and digital means, we find ourselves conforming to the lifestyle of never having to leave our homes. Local Malaysian startup BeliGas – a gas delivery business, has made this possible. The company encourages consumers to recycle cooking oil in exchange for lower-cost cooking gas.
What we do is, for every litre of used cooking oil they provide, we offset RM0.80 cents from the price; then our gas tanks can even go as low as RM18 per tank. – Suthan Mookaiah, BeliGas Founder and managing director
Among their sustainable initiatives, BeliGas also provided employment opportunities for the B40 communities.
When I started BeliGas, I made it a point that wherever I can, I’ll support the B40 communities, especially ex-convicts, who also deserve a second chance. – Suthan Mookaiah, BeliGas Founder and managing director
Suthan saw the need to bridge the gap between employment, sustainability and long-term solutions during the pandemic. BeliGas has clocked in revenue of over RM3 million and has changed over 70 lives through employment.
Visiting the doctor’s office can be unnerving. For some, the thought of stepping into a medical centre shoots anxiety levels through the roof. But today, we have the pleasure of seeking medical assistance from the comforts of our own homes.
In 2016, Malaysia’s first online medical video consultation platform was founded. Together with the expertise of high-skilled doctors, DoctorOnCall provides affordable and quality healthcare. This enables immediate care at any time of the day, made possible with our smart devices. Medications are also delivered to a patient’s doorstep and physical check-ups are available based on severity.
What we plan to do is to create a mobile clinic that can be brought to various locations that would serve as an intermediary between a Klinik Kesihatan and a digital health solution. – Maran Virumandi, DoctorOnCall co-founder
PepperLabs was founded to empower marginalized communities through long-term economic empowerment and inclusive growth. Since 2015, their skills and development training program (STDP), has trained over 500 people from the B40 community. The said training is to equip the B40 community for economic opportunities, in hopes of improving their livelihoods. Pepper Labs operates a cloud kitchen, a platform for budding or experienced cooks to level up their careers. To date, the organisation has also impacted over 350 beneficiaries through the means of employment, food security and a future.
The B40 community is still very much underprivileged and vulnerable so we are focusing on creating more opportunities for them to be empowered and to sustain themselves. – Kuhan Pathy,Pepper Labs co-founder
PepperLabs oversees a few impact-driven organisations – and Masala Wheels is one. It’s Malaysia’s first food truck business with the aim of serving marginalised communities. More than a delicious food joint, Masala Wheels provides training in the F&B sector, management and operation of the food truck, along with professional catering services.
Some of our employees are youths from juvenile detention centres or former drug addicts. It began when we found out one of the boys had gotten involved in a gang fight and we wanted to help him get back on the road of transformation. – Kuhan Pathy, Masala Wheels co-founder
Masala Wheels have transformed over 350 lives from marginalised communities and served over 250 thousand meals to the hungry and needy.
In recent years, the call to gravitate toward living a meat-free lifestyle is rampant. But do we know why? It’s because the use of animals to produce food accounts for 57% of food production emissions, damaging our environment and resulting in the climate crisis.
KindKones is already paving the way through their frozen desserts. The brand maintains its flavour and is free from refined sugar, dairy and other artificial additives. Since 2017, KindKones has been serving healthy alternatives with its dessert, reminding us that navigating towards a vegan lifestyle is possible.
Our ice creams are creamy without being loaded with sugar, cholesterol and artificial ingredients. – Serina S. Bajaj, Founder of KindKones
Explore our sources:
- The Rakyat Post. (2019). Only 0.25% of Malaysian companies are startups, industry potential untapped. Link.
- Vulcan Post. (2021). It took this M’sian smart farm 5 years to find an ideal method to grow pesticide-free veg. Link.
- The Star. (2022). Seizing the data on education. Link.
- Vulcan Post. (2017). From TV To Healthcare—Ex-iflix CEO Azran Osman Rani Shares His Plans For 2018. Link.
- AugustMan. (2021). #StartupOfTheMonth: BeliGas Gets You LPG Cooking Gas More Efficiently. Link.
- CodeBlue. (2021). How Digital Health Can Bridge The Gap In Villages. Link.
- The Malaysian Reserve. (2022). Pepper Labs to empower, sustain B40 communities . Link.
- The Malaysian Reserve. (2020). Food truck turns saviour. Link.
- The Sun Daily. (2022). We all scream for ice cream. Link.