Startups are a critical component of the economy. In 2018, there were significant changes in industries like insurance, property, and travel. In 2019, we can expect more change in these industries, as well as in food delivery, and in the “shared economy.” Here are some of the hottest industries to look out for in 2019.


Real estate technology–or PropTech–is one of the fastest-growing investment sectors in the world, with venture capital funding tripling the market size between 2016 and 2018. And real estate technology accelerator MetaProp NYC research shows that 96% of PropTech investors plan to invest equally as much in the coming year.

Initially, PropTech was focused on residential real estate but its reach has extended to include commercial investors, landlords, property managers, builders, and developers. PropTech has also changed the way people perceive homeownership by changing how we buy, sell, and finance homes. Notably, homeowners are selling shares in their home equity, providing new investment opportunities and generating disposable income.

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Since its launch in 2007, PropertyGuru has revolutionised the Singapore property market by taking it online and making property information available and transparent for everyone from individual investors to property developers and city administrators. PropertyGuru has online rental and sales listings of more than two million homes across Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Look for more disruption of the property industry as new players like Bit Of Property join established startups to shake up the industry.

Food Delivery

One of the hottest startup markets globally, food delivery on demand enjoyed strong growth in 2018. According to the online portal Statistica, earnings in food delivery services in 2018 reached more than $82 billion USD, with projections to surpass $95 billion next year, and (according to Forbes) reach $365 billion worldwide in 2030.

Food delivery is outpacing annual transportation revenue but the big players in ridesharing have not missed out on the opportunity. Platforms like Grab–with GrabFood–and Go-Jek, with Go-Food–have sought to convert customers from their transportation platforms to their food delivery services. Intense demand for food delivery services means that strong players like Deliveroo, Foodpanda, and local players like Malaysia-based Dahmakan, and SmartBite, and Singapore-based Porterfetch will be forced to defend their territory.

Here are the top food delivery startups in Southeast Asia


Insurtech (insurance technology) startups made a big impact on the insurance industry in 2018. Singapore-based PolicyPal, PolicyStreet, and Jakarta-based PasarPolis, are top names in InsurTech, forging a path to millions of uninsured and underinsured people in Southeast Asia by building a network of providers on a single platform where consumers can compare and purchase policies, and file claims all in the one place. Home to 650 million people with a growing middle class, Southeast Asia will see continued expansion of InsurTech in 2019.

Here are the top InsurTech startups in Southeast Asia

The Travel Industry

The travel industry is in the middle of an innovation boom which is creating more opportunities for startups in 2019. Airlines and hotels are investing heavily in startups, wanting to ensure they are a part of the change sweeping their industry. Innovators are not confined to major platforms like OTAs (Online Travel Agents) such as Agoda and, but can be relatively simple business models that fill a gap in the market. 

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TripZilla from Singapore or Trip Dixi in Indonesia are local examples of startups taking on the established players in the market.

The Sharing Economy

The sharing economy promises to evolve into a massive global industry, as a new mindset emerges, mostly instigated by “time-starved and convenience-seeking consumers.” Where once, prestige and status were measured by one’s’ possessions, many are favouring the freedom that comes from sharing, rather than owning certain assets–from ridesharing (cars), fashion rental, and even shared kitchen spaces and home equity. There is an enormous potential for this sector of the economy to grow.


Startups specialising in last-mile transportation–the short distance between a commuting stop and the workplace or home–will continue to grow in 2019. Uber believes that battery-powered scooter sharing is an attractive transportation choice in cities, which is why they invested in Lime and their international network of scooters. While scooters have created safety issues in some cities, they’ve filled a gap in the market. 

Southeast Asia scooter sharing services like Beam and Neuron Mobility are growing their presence from home-base Singapore outwards into new markets.

We look at how ride-sharing evolved in Southeast Asia

Fashion technology

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Watch as the shared economy evolves into sectors like fashion rental. With 100 billion items of clothing being produced annually by an industry with a huge environmental footprint, startups like Singapore-based Style Theory offer women access to an “infinite fashion collection” without the hassle of having to purchase a single item. Web-based fashion rental services provide yet another strong new growth opportunity in 2019.

Here are the top 5 fashion startups in Southeast Asia

Opportunities to disrupt will drive the change

Whether it’s through convenience and cost savings, opportunities to optimise the use of shared assets, or fill “gaps” in established industries, look for continued disruption in 2019.

Look for other unmet needs to identify where other new startups will occur in 2019. Their innovations, along with the continued expansion of existing startups, will provide the hottest industries in 2019.