Malta’s transition to the 21st century included a welcome diversification of the country’s economy. The passing of new legislation and the subsequent activation of several incentive schemes (for example, tax benefits, governmental assistance and financial subsidies, international networking) gave a strong boost to a variety of local industries. The most tangible results were in the financial sector, ICT, tourism, and iGaming.
In the financial sector, it was thanks to Maltese banks’ risk management approach that Malta dodged most of the ripple effects of the 2008 recession. Meanwhile, success stories in the ICT field include an e-government online system considered one of the most cutting-edge among EU countries. And as the Maltese tourism sector continues to expand; in 2017, it recorded an uptick of around 14-15% compared to the previous year. As for iGaming, Malta now hosts a rapidly growing list of online casinos, game providers, lead generation companies, and more, giving it the status of what some would call an iGaming mecca. And to top it all off, we’re witnessing the spread of blockchain technology in the country.
There’s another area, however, for which Malta deserves mention as fertile ground – startups. True, compared to the industries mentioned above, startup-related entrepreneurship is still in its embryonic stage, in part because people are understandably wary of giving up job security in favor of somewhat risky innovation and experimentation.That said, the country plays host to an ever-growing list of startups, a good number of which are making waves on an international level. In this article, we’ll take a look at a few of them:
Bumalift is a carpooling network that takes its name from the colloquial expression “to bum a lift,” which means “to hitch a ride.” The team behind this initiative took a problem rampant in Malta – a densely populated land with a car-per-person ratio of almost 1:1 – and devised a practical solution. Notably, the solution is rooted in volunteering and cooperation. Also, Transport Malta – the official department of public transport – is backing the project.
The way it works is that you sign up and choose whether you’re looking to share a ride to work, to take your kids to school, or to go to university. Then, you team up with people going in the same direction as you are, and you all use the same vehicle. There’s a point scheme in place, among other benefits, that enables you to earn rewards.
Image Source: Bumalift
Publitory is something we, as a university, are particularly partial to, given that it’s a self-publishing mechanism with which you can shepherd your manuscript from whichever stage of development it has reached all the way to publishing and sales. If you’ve already finished writing the book as a Microsoft Word document or an Open Office one, it will convert it to an EPUB and get you started with sales. Alternatively, if you’re just about to start writing the book, the app provides you with all the tools necessary to help you craft your work from the very first page. This neatly designed and effective medium is a boon to those who want to bypass large-scale publishers such as Amazon.
Image Source: Publitory
ReaQta provides, in its words, “A.I. Powered Endpoint Threat Response” software through a product called RaeQta-Hive. This self-regulating cybersecurity tool offers several layers of detection, tracking, visibility, and protection against different types of cyber-attacks. One feature that sets ReaQta-Hive apart from a lot of the competition is its combination of NanoOS and Artificial Intelligence. As the company puts it, “[a] dynamic behavioural analysis system keeps your devices always safe.”
As unlikely as an electric car-manufacturing company in Malta sounds, Silex Power is just that. The company’s flagship product, still a work in progress, is called Chreos. Details we’ve managed to get hold of about this luxury cruiser include a lightweight carbon fiber body whose speed you can crank up to 100km/hr in a few seconds. It also boasts zero carbon dioxide emissions, and, according to speculation, will feature an interior designed as a top-notch sedan with a slew of impressive amenities.
Silex Power has been active in the fields of sustainable energy solutions and the green economy for around a decade. While Chreos is the culmination of the company’s efforts, other technological achievements it’s known for include high-capacity photovoltaic systems and photonic flux LED lighting systems.
Cetrix offers “mobile computing devices and integrated mobile technologies” as one-stop shop packages for different market verticals such as public safety, energy management, and healthcare, with a particular emphasis on education. Certix designs and develops laptops, smartphones, tablets, and hybrids. At each and every stage of development, the company offers you the opportunity to work closely with its team so as to tailor-make the product to your specifications.
Image Source: Cetrix
Scheduit is a web-based app that facilitates – on several levels – one of the major drivers of business worldwide: networking. By relying on a compatibility algorithm, Scheduit matches your business with others, setting the stage for you to arrange meetings with potential partners. Admittedly, it sounds like a dating app for businesses, but it’s innovative and has the potential to revolutionize corporate connectivity.
Image Source: https://twitter.com/scheduit
VRTRON is an indie video game development company with quite a few years behind it and quite a few projects under its belt. It experiments with new technology, such as VR/AR, to create new and exciting games. The company reached a milestone with the development of the hybrid match-3/spelling game Languinis, which performs very well on both Android and Apple devices, and was ranked best word game in several countries.
Image Source: VRTRON
Here’s another Maltese game development company. What’s different about this one, though, is that while it creates video games, the high point of its success came by way of – would you believe it – a board game. Mighty Box worked hand-in-hand with U.S.-based Mr. B Games to launch Posthuman through crowdfunding on Kickstarter. The original amount they were asking for was $27,000, but the reception was so favorable that they accumulated a whopping $345,000! Mighty Box says that a digital version of the same title is in the works.
Image Source: Mighty Box
The sight of so many budding startups in Malta is truly exciting for a local institution such as AUM. These industry success stories mean that more opportunities will open up for future graduates wanting to pursue careers in the expanding world of startups. Moreover, the phenomenon indicates that the Maltese techno-cultural scene is keeping abreast of, and even contributing to, the latest global industry and market trends.