Southeast Asian startups to watch in 2022 – TechCrunch


As somebody who covers Southeast Asia startups and funding tales, the very best phrase I can consider to describe 2021 is “whoa!” This was the yr that world traders not solely began to pay shut consideration to the area’s tech ecosystems, but in addition started placing actual cash into them.

Backed by worldwide LPs, Southeast Asia-focused enterprise corporations like Alpha JWC, AC Ventures and Jungle Ventures raised their largest funds but.

The Ken reported that American corporations like A16z, Valar Ventures, Hedosophia and Goodwater Capital, have been additionally establishing (or planning) regional workplaces as exits like Grab and Sea’s preliminary public choices fueled curiosity in Southeast Asia’s startup ecosystems. A complete report from Golden Gate Ventures additionally forecasted a record number of exits, due in half to a rise in B and C rounds.

I all the time really feel a bit foolish utilizing the time period “Southeast Asia” as a result of the area is so giant and complicated. It’s the simplest choice after I’m attempting to be succinct, however Southeast Asia consists of 11 nations, and clearly there are big variations between, say, Singapore, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia.

As a worldwide monetary heart, one may argue that Singapore’s startup ecosystem is in a category of its own compared to its neighbors. And Indonesia in specific warrants particular consideration, because the fourth-largest financial system in the world and probably the most populated Southeast Asian nation with 273.5 million individuals. Both nations produced a good quantity of unicorns in 2021. In Singapore, as an example, Ninja Van, Carousell, Carro and Nium have been amongst startups that hit unicorn standing.

While Singaporean startups have a tendency to deal with different Southeast Asian nations (or, in Nium’s case, the United States and Latin America), Indonesia-based founders, then again, might need mid- or long-term plans for worldwide growth, however a lot of the ones I talked to plan to deal with increasing in the nation for not less than the subsequent yr or so. Not solely is Indonesia very giant, however additionally it is geographically complicated, with more than 17,000 islands, of which about 6,000 are inhabited. Startups have a tendency to launch in the Greater Jakarta space earlier than increasing into different Tier 1 cities like Bandung and Surabaya however many are eyeing smaller cities, particularly fintech and e-commerce startups.

Here are a number of sectors that took off in 2021, and are price maintaining a tally of in 2022:

Investment apps

A crop of funding apps, many aimed toward millennial and first-time retail traders, raised small early-stage rounds firstly of 2021, solely to shortly choose up a lot bigger follow-on funding a number of months later. Some examples embody Indonesia-based crypto-focused Pintu, robo-advisor Bibit, Ajaib and Pluang, and Singapore-based Syfe.

While charges of retail funding are nonetheless comparatively low in Indonesia, that number is growing due to elevated curiosity in monetary planning throughout the pandemic and the recognition of inventory influencers, regardless of concerns about the legitimacy of some.

Indonesian SME-focused startups dig deeper into fintech

According to authorities figures, there are 62 million SMEs (small to medium-sized enterprises) in Indonesia, however a number of founders informed me that is probably an underestimate, particularly since family-owned companies or solo entrepreneurs have a tendency to be undercounted. Regardless of their actual quantity, SMEs, lots of which use Excel spreadsheets or paper ledgers to deal with their accounting, current a profitable alternative for tech startups.

Most notably, BukuWarung and BukuKas, two competing bookkeeping apps, each raised vital quantities of funding this yr. The two startups are related in that they’re initially targeted on serving to SMEs digitize, however finally plan to develop their product roster into monetary companies like working capital loans, utilizing knowledge customers have already entered into their software program to choose creditworthiness.

Some different startups that focus on SMEs embody earned wage entry and payroll administration platform GajiGesa and Wagely.

Social commerce

People who dwell in Indonesia’s largest cities have a wide selection of e-commerce platforms to selected from, however the choice is way much less in extra distant areas. This is partly due to a fragmented logistics infrastructure (however startups are additionally engaged on that, together with SiCepat, Advoctics, Kargo and Waresix), which implies it’s pricey and time-consuming to obtain items.

That is the place social commerce startups like Super, Evermos and KitaBeli come in, hoping to replicated the success of Pinduoduo in China and Meesho in India. All deal with each day requirements like fast-moving shopper items and meals, and make the most of the social commerce mannequin to make the provision chain extra environment friendly and reasonably priced, since orders are made in batches by individuals who dwell in the identical communities. In that sense, they will also be described as being not less than partially logistics startups.

E-commerce aggregators

Startups that purchase small e-commerce manufacturers, like Thrasio, have been attracting plenty of funding in the United States and Europe for a number of years. But e-commerce aggregators took a short time longer to attain Southeast Asia.

This yr, two e-commerce aggregators formally launched there with enterprise capital funding, and each raised follow-on rounds a number of months later. While many e-commerce aggregators deal with Amazon sellers, Una Brands refers to itself as “sector-agnostic.” There is not any dominant market throughout APAC, so its developed a system to discover manufacturers throughout platforms like Tokopedia, Lazada, Shopee, Rakuten and eBay. On the opposite hand, Rainforest focuses on Asia-based Amazon sellers, however differentiates from different aggregators with its purpose of turning into the net model of shopper items conglomerate Newell Brands. With so many e-commerce sellers primarily based in Asia, count on each Una Brands and Rainforest to develop, and different aggregators to launch.

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