Diabetes device start-up seeks crowd-funding boost

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The company, which last year was awarded an RM150,000 (US$49,140) grant by Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd, has launched a pledge drive on PitchIN, the Malaysian version of Kickstarter, seeking US$18,000 in funds to help it move into the production stage after failing to attract funds from venture capitalists (VCs) or angel investors.   While most of the VCs and angels the company has seen in the past year “loved the idea and were very supportive, they wanted to see revenue generated first,” said Geob International founder and chief executive officer Geoffrey Tan. “They want market validation before they come in.”   Geob International’s dilemma is perhaps indicative of how much harder it is for an actual technology hardware company to get investors on board, especially in Malaysia.   Unlike with the software or e-commerce play, where the money can dispersed over a period of time to pay salaries or fund marketing plans – and where said investor can pull out at any time things do not seem to be working out – hardware companies would generally need a lump sum to get started. 

Tan and his co-founder Brandon Beh, also the company’s chief technology officer, approached Cradle about a year ago. “When they shared their vision with us, we were impressed and got fully behind it,” said Johnathan Lee, vice president of commercialization and ventures at Cradle.

Geob International was awarded the grant of RM150,000 and also participated in Cradle’s Coach and Grow Program (CGP), an entrepreneur training and mentorship initiative. Cradle is the venture capital arm of Malaysia’s Ministry of Finance. Geob International’s dilemma is perhaps indicative of how much harder it is for an actual technology hardware company to get investors on board, especially in Malaysia.   Unlike with the software or e-commerce play, where the money can dispersed over a period of time to pay salaries or fund marketing plans – and where said investor can pull out at any time things do not seem to be working out – hardware companies would generally need a lump sum to get started.


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