The Southeast Asian market has experienced significant growth in eConmmerce and marketplace startups, owing to the rising internet penetration and an expanding middle class. This region has become a fertile ground for innovation and entrepreneurial talent. The eCommerce startups emerging from the countries that make up the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are transforming the way consumers shop and engage with businesses.
Why interoperability in eCommerce matters for Southeast Asia
Many of these cutting-edge startups have the potential to make a significant impact on industry and business in the region. With the availability of innovative technologies and the rise of digital transformation, the following five companies are well-positioned to tap into the growing consumer demand and shape the future of commercial activities.
Reebonz is a Singapore-based online shopping site that offers a membership-based model and a variety of luxury brands. Founded in 2009, the company expanded its operations to Malaysia, Thailand, and Taiwan after starting as a luxury retailer in Singapore.
Reebonz uses Facebook and Instagram live streaming to sell luxury clothing and accessories worldwide by posting daily live videos on social media platforms, where viewers can book items and place orders through the comment box.
The startup raised approximately USD 40 million in May 2013 from investors, including Vertex Asia Investments, GGV Capital, Intel Capital, Matrix Partners China, and Infocomm Investments and registered on the Nasdaq stock exchange in 2017.
The social commerce app Super, launched in 2018, aims to decrease consumer goods prices in smaller Indonesian cities and rural areas, where prices are typically higher than in larger cities. The company targets less-developed regions with a GDP per capita below USD 5,000. It collaborates with a network of resellers who fulfil orders from consumers gathered through its app to achieve economies of scale via bulk purchases from producers that need help reaching these areas.
Super currently operates in 30 cities across East Java and South Sulawesi, having raised a total of USD 105 million in funding, with the latest round bringing USD 70 million in June 2022. Investors include B Capital, Alpha JWC Ventures, Softbank, Y-Combinator, rapper Jay-Z, and World Bank managing director Mari Elka Pangestu.
Cococart is an eCommerce platform that provides users with tools for creating online stores without coding, design, or app downloads. The platform offers a suite of features, including facilities for online orders and reservations, marketing, payments, and fulfilment, making it easy for anyone to sell products online. It claims to have supported over 20,000 businesses in 90 countries, receiving over 500,000 orders since its launch.
In February 2022, it raised USD 4.2 million in seed funding from Forerunner Ventures, Sequoia Capital, Y Combinator, and other investors. The funding will help expand the team, accelerate product development, and expand into new countries.
Indonesian agritech startup AgriAku seeks to enhance farmer productivity and livelihoods through its innovative technology. It enables agribusiness activities for suppliers, retailers, and farmers, sourcing input products from reliable suppliers and connecting them directly to retailers.
The company has expanded its coverage to over 500 cities nationwide and significantly grown its monthly user transactions since its launch, with Java, Sumatra, and Sulawesi as its primary areas of operation.
In July 2022, AgriAku announced an oversubscribed USD 35 million Series A funding round led by Alpha JWC Ventures, with participation from returning investors MDI Ventures and Go-Ventures, and new investors BRI Ventures and Mandiri Capital Indonesia. The funding will strengthen its distributor network and expand its business across the value chain.
Established in 2017, Dropee is a Malaysian-based B2B wholesale platform focusing primarily on food and beverages and fast-moving consumer goods. Its marketplace integrates with a SaaS eCommerce platform that automates payment collection, tracks orders and sales and manages offline-to-online orders.
In January 2022, it received USD 7 million in Series A funding comprising a combination of equity and debt investments from new and existing investors. The Y Combinator alum raised USD 3 million in equity and USD 4 million in debt, led by returning investor Vynn Capital. Other participants included HCL Capital, Resolution Venture and LKF Capital, and returning investors Brama One Ventures.
The new funds will help expand Dropee’s supply chain financing, with plans to work with more brands and wholesalers across Southeast Asia to extend credit term payments for SME retailers.
As the digital landscape continues to evolve, eCommerce startups and marketplace startups in Southeast Asia are embracing innovation and meeting consumer demands in new ways. These promising companies are poised to make significant strides in the industry in 2023 and beyond. Their innovative approaches and dedication to meeting consumer needs demonstrate the dynamism and potential of the region’s eCommerce sector. As it continues to embrace digital transformation, these five startups are well-placed to lead the charge and redefine the future of eCommerce in Southeast Asia.