Venture capitalists are looking to inject more funding into Southeast Asian startups with deep tech dominating the list. The deep tech industry was significantly under-invested in but is seeing a tremendous surge in support from both investors, looking for fresh opportunities, and governments wanting to support emerging deep tech trends in Southeast Asia. Deep tech is using substantial scientific discoveries for real-world applications that will impact real-world problems and make advancements in technology.
Southeast Asian startups have been leaders in gaining investors in the consumer tech and e-commerce industries, Grab and Go-Jek each received multi-billion-dollar funding. The region, however, has been a little behind worldwide deep tech developments in healthcare, agriculture, bio-robotics, and energy industries. The startups are working hard to break into the field of experimental technology. The most revolutionary efforts in deep tech trends in Southeast Asia are in the areas of Artificial Intelligence (AI) with biotech, healthtech, and Internet of Things (IoT) also dominating the list.
Up and coming foodtech startups in the region
Deep tech trends in Southeast Asia
In Southeast Asia, emerging technology is being developed as an answer to social problems of overpopulation, a disconnect between its urban and rural populations, lack of education, and a need to move the country forward with cashless payments and e-commerce. The solution to the rapid pace of tech startups in Southeast Asia has it dubbed as the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Despite this Industrial Revolution, industry players are focused on two areas that need further development in the region, deep tech is one of them. The region’s concerns are in agriculture, healthcare for the ageing populations, environmental technology and artificial intelligence (AI). Until recently, these emerging industries have seen a gap in later stage funding (series B funding). Now, some industry leaders who raised money at the onset of their startup from series A investors, are developing deep tech solutions to the region’s problems and receiving series B, A2 or A3 expansion funding. Most deep tech funding is now going to startups in second-stage financing, and early-stage funding is being directed to B2B and consumer tech startups, creating another gap that venture capitalists are trying to bridge.
First and second-round funding, in support of deep tech solutions, has been secured by the following Southeast Asia startup leaders in the biotech, finance, travel, and healthtech industries:
- Singapore-based company RWDC secured $13 million USD in financing round for their biotech ventures
- Thailand’s AnyMind Group raised $21.4 million USD series B funding to strengthen their AI-powered adtech startup
- Red Doorz snagged $70 million USD series C funds for its AI-based streamlined hotel business located throughout Southeast Asia,
- Holmusk secured $9.75 million USD of a pre-series deal to aid their progression towards streamlining mental health issues
- Fintech firm Silot raised $8 million USD in series A funding to add AI to their banking operations
- Umitron, who bagged $11 million USD used IoT technology to help farmers improve farm efficiency, manage environmental risks, and increase business revenues.
Moving forward with building technology in Southeast Asia, there needs to be more entrepreneurs and scientists who can make advances in deep tech sustainability and focus on AI technologies.
AI trends taking Southeast Asia into the future
A glimpse into the future reveals an increase in the use of AI technology in the region. Many of the startup companies obtaining series B investments have some sort of AI incorporated in their expansion.
How Southeast Asian startups are using AI to scale their business
Emerging as an AI leader is Malaysian based startup Glueck. The company develops interactive visual analytics using AI to assess real-time responses to its environment. Glueck helps its clients assess their customers by collecting information on audiences’ facial elements, age, gender, and ethnicity and analysing it so that the company can effectively advertise to its consumers.
Even ride-hailing superstar startup, Grab is using AI in their maps, fraud detection services, and they are working with Microsoft to develop a face recognition system in their cars to target advertisements to passengers based on their age and gender.
Singaporean based ViSenze has found a way to apply AI in e-commerce, creating solutions to enhance shopping experiences. The company is using AI-powered image recognition that analyses the image and shows visually similar items to consumers, offering intelligent recommendations while they make in-store purchases.
Parts of Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam have been dubbed the next “Silicon Valley”. Of the four, Vietnam has one of the most active startup tech scenes. Though Vietnam’s tech growth has mostly been in e-commerce, robotics is emerging as a leading deep tech in Vietnam.
Vietnam’s Robot3T has become one of the region’s leading robotics and automation tech firms. The company designs and builds high-precision robots that are not only easy to operate but highly cost-effective— using state-of-the-art technologies that are accessible to small and medium-sized enterprises.
The leaders in emerging deep tech trends in Southeast Asia have proven that the region is a force to be reckoned with, and investors are starting to take notice. Venture capitalists are reinvesting in mature startups who are advancing in AI technology. This boost to the industry is injecting real-life solutions to the real-world problems into the region.