Startup enabler Y Combinator announced that 54 Asia startups had made the cut in the programme’s latest cohort. Out of the 54 companies, 18 are Southeast Asian startups, which is a 6-business jump from the last batch. Y Combinator 2021 will invest $125,000 USD in seed capital for each startup, taking a 7% stake from each company in doing so. The accelerator program will provide funding to the promising startups and access to other perks, including a global curriculum, community mentor support, and workshops designed to help build their companies.  

The companies selected will provide services and solutions across various industries such as fintech, SaaS, healthtech, eCommerce, edtech. The countries that are home to these budding startups include India, Vietnam, Singapore, and Indonesia. Amongst the 18 startups selected, there are five that stand out from the rest.


The startup Deskimo provides customers with on-demand access to places to work in professional workspaces. Coworking spaces have become a hot commodity, especially with the rise of remote offices. The company, founded by Raphael Cohen and Christian Mischler and launched in July 2021, already has 70 workspaces available across Singapore and Hong Kong. 

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While the startup provides the service to workers, businesses can also benefit by giving employees more flexibility regarding their work location. Coworking spaces available through Deskimo’s platform include The Hive, Garage Society, The Executive Centre, and Arcc Spaces. The company has also partnered with hotels such as the Faruma Hotel to create convenient workspaces for people who may need office space while on the road.

Strive Education

The edtech startup Strive Education is taking on the struggles that currently exist with remote learning and changing the game. The company offers K12 math lessons live and one-on-one tutoring for students to receive a more personalised and tailored math education. The classes, taught using games and visualisations, are unique to each student’s school math syllabus and can also help students learn math code bringing more relevance to the lessons and encouraging the use of coding with students. 

Founded by Pulkit Agarwal and Tamir Shklaz in December 2020, the company has already taught 60 hours of classes each week, engaging with over 30 active students. Previous backers of Strive Education, Entrepreneur First, helped get the startup off the ground.  


On-demand online restaurant group MADEATS has also won a place in the 2021 Y Combinator cohort. The Philippines startup provides users with a selection of high-quality foods for delivery to their door. They aim to enhance the customer’s delivery experience through the use of ghost kitchens and high-tech operations. 

Founders Andie Cruz and Keisha Lao launched their delivery-style startup in November 2020, and in less than a year, it has established an expansive user base and three developed brands.

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Scene from a Y Combinator event. Image courtesy of Y Combinator


Labelled as a  “sort-of branding agency”, Anakin provides companies with crucial data about competitor pricing, products, and features to help them maximise their market share. By tracking and reporting the data in real-time, the company has helped eCommerce brands increase their overall revenue by up to 12%. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, business disruption was unavoidable, and many eCommerce firms impacted by the struggle to thrive were able to keep track of the changing landscape and work towards optimising business by using Anakin. 

With offices in the USA, India and Singapore, founders Mohit Prateek and Rashmi Bala launched in September 2020 and have since helped Grab, RedMart, and Nike increase their revenue.


The web design services company Cococart aims to help small businesses grow their online presence with a simple and affordable website building service. Independent businesses have been left in a lurch when it comes to online orders, especially with the global pandemic causing the closures of bricks and mortar stores. These closures affected those that have not yet moved online, which put the problem of not having an online option for customers front and centre for survival. 

The startup, founded by Zhicong Lim and Derek Low in November 2020, has given small and independent businesses the ability to avoid high fees and commissions that are often part and parcel of other apps or online marketplaces. Services provided by Cococart include collecting payment from credit and debit cards, bank transfers, Venmo, Paynow, and GCash. Since its opening, the company includes local businesses, entrepreneurs, restaurants, creators, and artisans on its platform and collectively, they have earned $8 million USD on Cococart.

These Southeast Asian startups are making waves in various industries, and thanks to the sizable investments from the Y Combinator 2021 programme, they can plan for the future and push forward with development and expansions. By securing their spots in the cohort, they are poised to be key players in their respective industries and have the security to test their wings, moving forward.