The global pandemic accelerated the adoption of technology and the digitisation of many sectors. One such booming sector is health technology (healthtech), which is especially prevalent in Southeast Asia, a region home to the world’s youngest population.
Many healthtech startups in Southeast Asia are at the forefront of this surge in internet-based services. The necessity to meet the healthcare needs of people without putting them at risk of contracting Coronavirus has led to an uptick in the number of online health services as the sector increasingly embraces digitalisation. Everything from telehealth services to digital patient treatment tracking is causing a significant shift in how individuals manage their healthcare.
In the past few years, healthtech VC trends have seen an increase in funding, with the industry initially projected to grow at a CAGR of 15.9% between 2016 to 2021. This increased drastically throughout the COVID crisis, and by the early months of 2020, VC investment in the sector had reached an all-time high of $5.4 billion USD.
Healthtech and medtech in Southeast Asia is led by Indonesia and Singapore
This fast-growing market is anticipated to attract more investors seeking opportunities in this region. The key areas of investment include mobile healthcare, telemedicine, and electronic medical records. In recent months, the following five companies have achieved significant growth and funding:
Jio Health, a Vietnamese healthtech platform, provides home-based medical services. In addition to online medical appointments, diagnostic and COVID tests, heart health, maternity care, and an online pharmacy service are also available. Jio Health aims to reduce clinic or hospital visits by focusing on prevention and diagnostic testing.
Following a USD $15 million in 2019 Series A funding round led by Monk’s Hill Ventures in 2019, the company secured an additional USD $20 million in March 2022. The latest round was led by Singaporean private equity (PE) health investor Heritas Capital. Monk’s Hill Ventures, Fuchsia Ventures, and the Kasikorn Bank Group also contributed.
Prusothman Raja and Benjamin Tee, both Stanford Biodesign Global Innovation Fellows from Singapore, noticed a gap in the fertility health sector and founded Hannah Life to address it. They realised how invasive and frustrating conception through IVF could be since the lack of privacy and the clinical feel added to the stress of those trying to conceive. They consulted with top fertility experts to develop a discreet, at-home option to make the procedure feel more natural.
In May 2022, less than a year after starting, their affordable method of increasing the odds of conception received major funding led by Monk’s Hill Ventures. The $5.15 million USD pre-Series A funding round saw Y-Combinator, Golden Gate Ventures, and angel investor Loh Yu-Chie add to the total raised.
Ordinary Folk, a Singapore-based telehealth startup, provides access to information, diagnosis, and treatment on a range of health worries. The platform is divided into Noah (men’s health) and Zoey (women’s health) sections, which include topics ranging from sexual to mental health. Cyrus is the company’s AI-powered pharmacy service, which promises secure transactions and fast delivery.
Monk’s Hill Ventures was instrumental in this startup’s Pre-Series A funding in May 2022, contributing USD $5 million. Ordinary Folk intends to use this funding to expand its reach in Singapore and enter a new market in Hong Kong, as well as to explore corporate partnerships to provide companies with employee healthcare services.
Providing quick and affordable access to family doctors, Med247 offers online consultations and appointment booking facilities 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This startup also has a pharmacy with free online consultations and fast delivery. Med247 holds clinics in Vietnam for people who want an in-person consultation or treatment, and it also provides medical insurance coverage through its Lotus Care plan.
Altara Ventures, Pavilion Capital and MiRXES all contributed to the startup’s recent Series-A funding of USD $4.5 million. The investment will be used to expand clinics, build a medical training school, and improve their research and development (R&D).
Tentang Anak, an Indonesian parenting support platform, provides insights on raising healthy children and supporting their development. In addition to its highly informative website articles, advice and tips, the company has released children’s books that help younger readers grasp different aspects of life, from gaining a new sibling to learning how to share.
In February 2022, the startup secured an undisclosed sum in a seed funding round, led by Insignia Ventures Partners. Some of the funds raised will be pumped into the expansion of the company and to further develop its new mobile app.
The region’s healthtech VC trends reveal that investors are investing in startups with strong growth potential, particularly those providing healthcare solutions for underserved populations. More funding is needed as the number of healthtech startups in Southeast Asia grows. However, there appears to be no shortage of eager investors at the moment.