The startup industry was shaken, rattled and rolled this year. New entrants to the region, a few companies losing the battle and a record year in funding, has made 2017 a year to remember for startups.

However, we believe this is just the beginning, as funding is projected to rise again in 2018, as well as a bullish outlook for most industries, it is likely next year’s recap will be more of the same.

Read more: 2017 was a weird year for startups in Southeast Asia and What does 2018 have in store for the SEA startup ecosystem.

Startups in Malaysa
Malaysia had a relatively quiet year for startups

Sexual Harassment reared its ugly head

You might have missed it if you live in a bunker with no access to the news. The darkness of sexual harassment and gender-bias reared its ugly head in Southeast Asia. Now, we’re not the most gullible folks in the world, we know this isn’t something new. However, the extent and the profile of the abusers were a cause for more concern than usual.

Cheryl Yeoh, entrepreneur and former CEO of Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Center (MaGIC), shared her story publicly and was instrumental in the downfall of Dave McClure. Once seen as the saviour of startups and a beacon of hope for many, Dave’s misconduct was brought to light and was the starting point for many other stories that plagued (and still plagues) the startup industry in the region.

This actually preceded the Harvey Weinstein saga and the eventual takedown of some major Hollywood stars.

We shared our thoughts on this topic earlier.


Amazon enters Southeast Asia to disrupt the eCommerce startup scene

The king of eCommerce, Amazon entered Singapore with the plan to dominate the region like it has been doing all around the world. It didn’t quite go to plan.

However, the initial buzz and the reaction from some of the other major players in the region was enough to get the entire startup industry to the edge of their seats. One of the most interesting reactions and consumer-friendly was the alliance between Uber, Redmart, Lazada, Taobao, and Netflix, to introduce an Amazon Prime competitor called LiveUP. Free delivery, free rides and more, helped them keep pace with the beast that is Amazon.

We also had our thoughts on Amazon and you read our article here.

Grab shook the startup world
Grab’s mobile app

All hail Grab, king of Southeast Asian startups

Grab’s US$2B funding this year basically broke the internet for VCs and entrepreneurs. Now valued at an insane US$6B and easily the largest startup in the region, Grab is on the warpath to further their dominance in the region.

This fight isn’t over yet, as Uber is still in the region and making deals to combat the local force that Grab has become.

What this means for consumers is cheaper rides and a turbulent market that will see many changes in the months to come.

Fintech and payment startups took off
Razer e-payment joined the payment game

Payment and fintech startups really took off

I think it would be easier to name the companies that aren’t fintech or payments related nowadays. We’ve seen an influx of larger players enter the crowded market with no sign of this slowing down.

From Razer to SoCash to Grab to Alipay and so on, we are seeing a desperate play to grab market share in the region, which has the fastest growing cashless population (thanks to Indonesia) and one of the lowest penetration rates for established cashless services.

In the midst of this, we’ll be remiss not to mention Go Jek. They have cornered the Indonesian market and are in the process of expanding outwards.


There is no real conclusion to this because as we mentioned, this is just the beginning. The startup industry will continue to grow with analysts sharing a bullish outlook. Growth industries like healthtech, eCommerce, and fintech will remain strong. Newer sub-industries have a chance to sneak in the door when no one is looking.

Look out for new disruptive players in industries like PR, sneakers, fashion and so on. We’re in the age of disruption without boundaries, so nothing in this startup world is sacred.

From all of us at Tech Collective, we are excited to see what comes next. We look forward to sharing analysis, trends and expert opinions on these topics. We thank you for joining us on this journey.

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