SouthEast Asia has had some fascinating developments in the world of e-commerce and roll-ups. Read on and consider the opportunities that all of the venture capital flooding the many startups out in SouthEast Asia might provide.

As someone who covers Southeast Asia startups and funding stories, the best word I can think of to describe 2021 is “whoa!” This was the year that global investors not only started to pay close attention to the region’s tech ecosystems, but also began putting real money into them.

Backed by international LPs, Southeast Asia-focused venture firms like Alpha JWC, AC Ventures and Jungle Ventures raised their largest funds yet.

Alpha JWC, the Jakarta-based venture capital firm, announced today it has closed its third fund at $433 million. The company says this makes it Southeast Asia’s largest VC fund for early-stage startups and that it was oversubscribed, with an initial target of $250 million to $300 million. The third fund’s investors include the World Bank’s … Continue reading

The Ken reported that American firms like a16z, Valar Ventures, Hedosophia and Goodwater Capital were also setting up (or planning) regional offices as exits like Grab and Sea’s initial public offerings fueled interest in Southeast Asia’s startup ecosystems. A comprehensive report from Golden Gate Ventures also forecasted a record number of exits, due in part to an increase in B and C rounds.

Despite the pandemic’s economic impact, Southeast Asia’s startup ecosystem has proven to be very resilient. In fact, a new report from investment firm Golden Gate Ventures predicts a record number of exits will happen in the region over the next couple of years, thanks to factors like a maturing ecosystem, more secondary buyers and the … Continue reading

I always feel a bit silly using the term “Southeast Asia” because the region is so large and complex. It’s the easiest option when I’m trying to be succinct, but Southeast Asia consists of 11 countries, and obviously there are huge differences between, say, Singapore, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia.

Singapore is home to fewer than six million people, making it one of the smallest ASEAN countries, in terms of population. It is a young country as well — having gained independence in 1963.

As a global financial center, one could argue that Singapore’s startup ecosystem is in a category of its own when compared to its neighbors. And Indonesia in particular warrants special attention, as the fourth-largest economy in the world and the most populated Southeast Asian country with 273.5 million people. Both countries produced a fair amount of unicorns in 2021. In Singapore, for instance, Ninja Van, Carousell, Carro and Nium were among startups that hit unicorn status.

While Singaporean startups tend to focus on other Southeast Asian countries (or, in Nium’s case, the United States and Latin America), Indonesia-based founders, on the other hand, might have mid- or long-term plans for international expansion, but most of the ones I talked to plan to focus on expanding in the country for at least the next year or so. Not only is Indonesia very large, but it is also geographically complex, with more than 17,000 islands, of which about 6,000 are inhabited. Startups tend to launch in the Greater Jakarta area before expanding into other Tier 1 cities like Bandung and Surabaya, but many are eyeing smaller cities, especially fintech and e-commerce startups.

Here are a few sectors that took off in 2021, and are worth keeping an eye on in 2022:

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