The Southeast Asian startup scene is burgeoning. From Singapore to Indonesia, from Thailand to Malaysia, innovative new technology and eCommerce businesses are making profits and headlines. These companies are tapping into a region where 3.8 million users access the internet every month. These new customers are fuelling the digital economy, which is expected to be worth nearly $200 billion by 2025 — that’s over six times bigger than it was in 2015.
The likes of ride-hailing services such as Grab and Go-Jek are among a select few startups you may know about. They’re just two fledgling businesses, yet there are many startups in the region, collectively raising a staggering $7.8 billion USD in funding during 2017.
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Rather than tell you about those much-talked-about tech companies, we’re going to focus on a couple of lesser-known eCommerce startups. Here are three Southeast Asian players you need to know. Each is growing quickly in a region that’s projected to have 480 million internet users by 2020, 90% of which are smartphone users.
Shopback from Singapore
Singapore-based eCommerce startup ShopBack was founded in 2014 by Henry Chan and Joel Leong. Currently affiliated with over 1,300 retailers around the world, ShopBack returns customers a portion of their money when they make online purchases.
The startup’s potential hasn’t gone unnoticed. The founding team, consisting of important figures formerly from Rocket Internet, won Vulcan Post’s ‘Most Promising Startup To Look Out For In 2015’. The team also picked up the most prestigious prize at the Global Mobile Challenge held in Barcelona in March 2017—the first Southeast Asian company to do so—just eight months after the service launched.
In that time, the service saw a 35% increase in mobile transactions, as well as gaining 560,000 users in Malaysia alone. The user-friendly application has been a hit it seems and is available on both iOS and Android platforms (download using the links below).
Investments from Accel-X and East Ventures now total $26.1 million USD. That deal was the second-biggest investment in a Southeast Asia eCommerce startup behind China’s JD.com which has raised $19 million CNY. Both deals were sealed in late 2017.
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Sale Stock Indonesia from Indonesia
Sale Stock Indonesia, founded in 2014 and launched on the Google Play Store in October 2015, provides customers with affordable fashion and a seamless mobile-only shopping experience. Forget clothing items marked up way beyond the manufacturing price. The rapidly -growing business was founded by a husband and wife team—Lingga Madu and Aria Novianti.
The “No Discount” model ensures prices are fixed, meaning there’s no waiting for sales season. The lack of delivery fees and the option for customers to pay on delivery are popular. There is a 30-day return policy on purchases, also a hit with customers.
It hasn’t all been plain sailing at Sale Stock. In 2016, it laid off 220 people—mostly from the customer services department—and trimmed its spending on salaries. Since then, however, things have looked up. In August 2017, it raised $27 million USD and has Series B+ backing from Golden Equator and Gobi Partners.
Now in its third year, Sale Stock is set to break even. Perhaps it’ll even make a profit, as it capitalises on the growing Southeast Asian customer base, fuelled by its business-to-consumer (B2C) model.
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aCommerce from Thailand
Started in 2013, by Paul, Tom, and John Srivorakul, Bangkok-based aCommerce helps companies with the logistics of eCommerce, including shipping, logistics, webstore development, and digital marketing. Thus far, the up-and-coming startup client list includes Line, Kiehls, and L’Oreal. They have created a streamlined eCommerce system to solve the poor logistics problem in the region.
Their international team is strong with a staff of 1,400 and are located in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines. They also have 650 thousand inbound units going through their doors a month.
In addition, aCommerce is adding to the infrastructure of the region building 21,100 sqm new fulfillment centers in Thailand and the Philippines. In 2017, they won the Global Premier Partner Awards in Search Innovation and Growing Online Business for the region.
Exciting times ahead
Keep a lookout for ShopBack, Sale Stock and aCommerce. These three eCommerce startups, along with many other impressive Southeast Asian businesses, are taking the tech industry by storm. With an exponential growth in both internet and mobile users across the region, expect to hear more from these three and other revolutionary tech companies in the years to come. Each is seamlessly responding to the needs of consumers who are more connected than ever and reaping the rewards.