Kuala Lumpur-based online mentorship platform and EdTech social enterprise FutureLab has raised $478,000 (RM2 million) in its Pre-Series A funding round led by Sarawak Digital Economy Corporation (SDEC).
The funding round also saw participation from Malaysian-based US investment group Indelible Ventures and Singapore's first EdTech accelerator EduSpaze.
According to a press statement, the company plans to utilize the funds towards scaling up its operations in Malaysia as the company onboards more learning institutions and corporations into its mentoring ecosystem. It added that the investments will also be used to welcome and train an additional 8,000 IR4.0 mentors who will be integrated into schools, universities, and startup accelerators utilizing the FutureLab platform.
Founded in 2015 by Brian Tan, FutureLab allows students to join the community and connect with mentors, answer questions, receive feedback and information about their career advancement. It aims to create a community where people are motivated to share and learn from each other. The platform gives access to a wide range of industry experts and provides a platform where an individual can learn and ask questions to help them improve and possibly land their dream job.
Currently, FutureLab connects students, graduates, job seekers, and aspiring entrepreneurs to over 3,000 industry mentors across Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia through its online platform. The startup also helps learning institutions and corporations design, manage, and track their internal mentoring programs with its Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business model.
Speaking about the platform and the latest funding, Brian Tan, Founder of FutureLab, said,
"FutureLab was founded to help fresh graduates address the disconnect they often experience when transitioning from their studies to joining the workforce. Since then we have grown to offer mentorship opportunities for young working professionals and aspiring entrepreneurs. With the support of our new investors, partners, and team, we aim to make mentorship accessible to everyone."
With the latest funding, FutureLab is also looking to expand its product development efforts, providing users with a more seamless experience, including the launch of a new mobile application that includes multiple languages such as English, Bahasa Malaysia, and Bahasa Indonesia.
Hazwan Razak, Head of innovation and entrepreneurship at Sarawak Digital Economy Corporation, said,
"One of SDEC's responsibilities is to act as a catalyst for the Sarawak Digital and Innovation Ecosystem. The shared goal is to ensure that innovation and digital entrepreneurship opportunities are inclusive and available in every corner of the state. Together with FutureLab, we will be embarking on a journey to inspire and support our youths, innovators, startups, and entrepreneurs to fully realize their growth potential, leveraging on FutureLab's global wealth of expertise."
Some of the brands that currently work with FutureLab include Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation, Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre, Accenture, Selangor Information Technology & Digital Economy Corporation, Tabung Emas Gagasan Anak Sarawak, British Council, Sunway University, and Taylor's University.
FutureLab is named Top 50 innovative EdTech companies in Southeast Asia by HolonIQ in 2020. Per a statement, the company is looking to begin its Series A round in the coming year to expand its mentor marketplace and mentoring ecosystem into Southeast Asia.
FutureLab had raised an undisclosed amount of funding in its seed round led by EduSpaze in February 2020.