The COVID-19 pandemic hit big businesses and startups in Singapore hard. With funding for the region’s tech sector beginning to slow down in 2019, runways became shorter, and Singapore startups relying on investment began to suffer from the decline in available funds and opportunities. The numbers started to dwindle in Southeast Asia’s ‘Silicon Valley’ before the pandemic hit, and the global health crisis doesn’t help the situation. Still, it is not all bad news for the startup scene. 

A report published by PwC is forecasting a strong comeback for tech companies that have made it through the pandemic. The Coronavirus may have caused a decline in funding, but it has also given startups the opportunity to address the new post-COVID problems that are emerging.

New opportunities in a new world

Prior to the pandemic, tech companies had a different focus than they do now. The same issues didn’t exist. Innovation in sectors such as healthcare, fintech, and eCommerce are now soaring to the highest peaks of the tech landscape as they attempt to address these new issues. When it comes to virtually-driven business, opportunities for tech startups to bring about real change in sustainable ways to save the economy are vast. 

How COVID-19 changed the startup ecosystem in Southeast Asia

Resiliency is the name of the game if the tech scene in Singapore is going to benefit from the boost of funding likely to happen soon. Leading this surge is the urban solutions and sustainability sector with a specific focus on transport and logistics.

World trends strong in Singapore

Across the globe, tech startups have seen an increase in demand for solutions in a variety of different sectors. Industries, such as eCommerce have grown exponentially, especially in Southeast Asia– a region that is leading the pack when it comes to increased sales. The need for social distancing and the closure of many brick and mortar stores has partly led to this growth in online shopping.

When broken down into sectors, online retailers have attained 77% of the share. Startups with a focus on marketplace-like buying and selling have joined the funding watch-list. Consumer-to-consumer marketplace company Carousell, for example, recently announced that it raised $80 million USD in funding led by Naver Corp.

Red Dot Capital investing in ASEAN tech startups

Israel-based venture capitalist firm Red Dot Capital Partners recently announced that they had raised $200 million USD for the sole purpose of investing in different tech startups in Southeast Asia as they aim to gain a foothold in this lucrative market.

The company had reportedly invested in three different companies and saw the opportunities of the region as a way to stay ahead of the pandemic as it seems more on top of the COVID situation compared to other areas of the world. Singapore’s Temasek Holdings have backed the funding.

The tech push due to COVID-19

Having to stay socially distanced or in some areas, in total lockdown, has led consumers and companies to lean on technology and the internet even more than they ever have. Being able to work, shop and stay in touch with family and friends or medical professionals has been a massive benefit to people living in the COVID era. This reliance on tech has given startups endless new opportunities to become visionaries for a different kind of future.

The food delivery and grocery industry, for example, has seen a steep incline in demand. The need for doorstep delivery of the basic necessities of life has presented newcomers on the scene with a fantastic new platform for creating something that sticks around long after the pandemic recedes. One food delivery service, Grain, is aiming to make sustainable, healthy food accessible for everyone in Singapore. Its vision led to it securing $10 million USD in funding to explore how to change the food experience for consumers.

Singapore tech startups to watch

This small island-nation is home to many tech startups who are innovating and exploring methods to create a new way of life post-pandemic. The continuing growth of eCommerce in the country has led one company, Ninja Van, to begin offering next-day deliveries for businesses.

With a new focus on health, tech startups who focus on wellness have garnered some of the spotlight too. The wearables company, KaHa PTE Ltd (COVE), aims to create health monitoring solutions for everyone. This sector continues to evolve and grab the attention of investors as this trend grows.

Although funding for startups in Singapore has slowed in the last year, they are likely to receive an investment boost as the pandemic creates new problems needing to be solved by innovative technology. Singapore startups are working to enhance the tech scene as they strive to keep their reputation as Southeast Asia’s Silicon Valley, and thus, they are on track to bounce back when the Coronavirus is under control.