The difference between a successful startup and one that never gets off the ground is not always the product or service provided. Sometimes, funding becomes an issue for even the best of ideas because one core component to raising capital is missing. Having a communications roadmap is a must when it comes to formulating and implementing a digital marketing strategy for startup success. A genuine flair for storytelling can be pivotal in gaining investors as it is how a startup can really stand out against its competition. 

In the current climate, the entire landscape has changed, providing unique challenges to startups. To ensure they can compete in this changing world, companies require new levels of innovation. One such factor, spurred on by the COVID-19 pandemic, is the dire need for digitalisation. Great business models of the recent past need revamping to keep up with the increasingly online world and to ensure the future of startup success.

Where is the money going?

In the first quarter of 2020, Southeast Asia saw a 13% dip in investments from the previous year. Although funding was down, Southeast Asia still fared far better than both Europe and India, who experienced a 21% drop and 16% drop, respectively. The region also bucked the trend with an increase in Series B and Series C financing, raising $1.2 billion USD, a 25% increase from the previous year. This growth in more profitable deals could be a hopeful sign that the region will bounce back quickly if startups get on board with the trending sectors such as fintech, edtech, and eCommerce.

We explore corporate venture capital for startups in Southeast Asia

Investment fundamentals

Highlighting the latest investment fundamentals, SPAG’s Igniting Startups with Investor Insights report shows that the service industry came out on top with 50% of investors leaning towards this sector. Market or product fit and unique value proposition were also on the list ranking at 27% each, with 55% of investors stating that the necessity of the product or service is what will make them dive in or keep their hands in their pockets.

The nature of the startup isn’t the only thing considered to be a crucial factor when it comes to securing funding. Personality and attitude also reigned high among investors at 23%, meaning startups can’t just come on the scene with a good idea. They need to be fully on board and ready for any changes necessary to flourish in a shifting world.

Key areas that startups need to focus on

According to SPAG’s report, startups need to grasp the changes in the investor climate to avoid getting left out in the cold during funding rounds. The main factor investors want to see honed, is the proof-of-concept.

A compelling pitch deck is where a startup can truly shine. Investors want to see that a company can adequately communicate its product or service and demonstrate the viability and scalability of the business. In this post-COVID world, these pitch decks will become even more of a “make-or-break” step in the process. Startups will need to be able to clearly communicate and network effectively to gain the attention of investors while outlining who they are, what they do, and why that matters to the world at large.


Telling a good story surrounding the product or business is what startups must focus on now. Investors want to see just how worthwhile a startup is through clear cut communication strategies.


Investors want to see authority through the use of thought leadership. Some companies may catch their eye, but those that can demonstrate their abilities to work together and deliver product-based results will be the ones who seal the deal in the end.

Uniqueness and branding 

Being able to stand out in a sea of competition can be challenging for startups, but investors will likely opt-in for businesses that can create a compelling pitch deck and build brand loyalty through brand narrative.

A clear mission 

Not only will a startup need to convince investors that their idea is solid, but they will also need to get them on board with the company’s mission and purpose. To make that impact, startups must practice consistent media engagement and carefully curated content marketing.


Viability and scalability through an integrated communications plan and competitor analysis will also be key factors when it comes to securing funding for startups looking to expand into the market in a big way.


Investors will also need to know that the team they’re backing is credible and willing to work towards success through the use of a growing marketing team and strong internal communications.

For startup success, businesses have to be ready to acknowledge that a communications roadmap is a must. Digital marketing, through engaging storytelling techniques, can make all the difference between a great idea and a viable business.