START Mongolia and StartupJohor, the ecosystem developers in their respective regions, have merged together to form a unified brand​.

Called START, the new entity aims to build a global acceleration hub for startups in Johor region of Malaysia, while at the same time becoming the gateway to global expansion for Mongolian startups.

The merger further expands the existing market reach for both parties. StartupJohor is based in Iskandar Malaysia, the southern economic development region of the Johor province of Malaysia. The city is strategically located beside Singapore and Indonesia that allows companies based within to have an easy access to the market opportunities in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and southeast asian countries.

This strategic location, along with a relatively cost-effective environment compared to Singapore with a ready-built world-class infrastructure in Medini, Iskandar Puteri, will be a gateway for Mongolian startups to expand their operations to overseas market.

Furthermore, Mongolian distinct geographical location, and East European and Asian cultural mixture will be a gateway for Malaysian startups into central Asia. So, Mongolia’s location in between Russia and China will be a gateway to markets beyond Mongolia, eastern region of Russia and Stan countries.

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In the future, START will showcase Mongolian and Malaysian startups to investors, synchronise their operations, best practices of ecosystem building and ​database platform comprises of the two ecosystem​. On the innovation front, START will open tech-driven hubs and expand into corporate innovation programs.

The idea of merger became inevitable to each party when the hubs were promoting their startups overseas. So, given the potential for further ecosystem development and market reach, the new START brand will bring mutual benefits to startups in Mongolia and Malaysia in the area of market reach, product testing, operational synergy, investor and partnership diversification.

StartupJohor, established in 2014 and has dedicated in building startup and entrepreneurial ecosystem in southern region of Malaysia, has multiple signature programmes under its umbrella and incubates its startup companies in its five co-working offices in the southern region of Malaysia, Johor Bahru and Iskandar Puteri.

Similarly, ​START Mongolia, since its establishment in 2011 as Startup Mongolia NGO and WorkCentral Mongolia, is an ecosystem developer with community building programmes in startup community and track record in the corporate world. START Mongolia incubates companies with a global aim in its three co-working offices in Ulaanbaatar, and it has launched first co-working and incubator in Darkhan, the center for the northern region of Mongolia.

“In general, the markets in central asian region have had a limited exposure to the global startup ecosystem. However in Mongolia, the home-grown startups, given the high internet and smartphone usage and culture to adopt new technology, are altering the landscape intensively in this region. Tech and startup arena in Mongolia already have gave birth to home-grown fintech, martech, insurtech and blockchain startups. On the local stock exchange, number of microfinancing fintechs and blockchain tech companies have successfully raised funding through IPO,” said Zolboo Bayarsaikhan, CEO of START Mongolia.

“Many great companies are coming up from Johor Bahru. These companies have been acquired, raised substantial funding and on the path to IPO in the local stock exchange, and we are seeing a clear trend and movement that many best startup may not necessary coming out from first-tier cities such as Kuala Lumpur or Singapore. There is a rising amount of great companies from tier-two cities or even countries as well,” said Feng Lim, CEO of StartupJohor (now START Malaysia).

“Following to this changing landscape, the traditional business are keen to digitise their business operations, but in most industries, the tech solutions, and the corporate culture and structure to deal with the outcome are not readily available. This is where START Mongolia has the team, expertise and community to help them. Now through this merger, START is setting up the channel for the rest of Asia to enter into rapidly changing startup ecosystem and market of Mongolia and Central Asia,” added Bayarsaikhan.