Despite the poor performance of many new businesses worldwide, some are bucking the trend, standing out, and raising significant capital. Tech startups in Southeast Asia recorded a 56% decline in funding in the first half of 2023 (H1). According to DealStreetAsia – DATA VANTAGE, deal value and volume dropped year-on-year (YOY) between April and June. Homegrown nascent companies recorded 403 equity funding deals, earning USD 4.2 billion in total.
Singapore continues to lead the way in the region, but many other big countries, like Indonesia and Thailand, have endured a drop in deal values or volumes. Vietnam experienced a resurgence after surviving six quarters of decline. The challenges the nations are facing revolve around inflationary pressures, a funding winter, and startups unwilling to take on debt.
The top trends transforming fashion tech startups in Southeast Asia
However, it is not all doom and gloom as these top 5 tech startups are making an impact in Southeast Asia and receiving funding:
Indonesia’s PrimaKu is a child development application that works with the country’s Paediatrician Association (IDAI) and the Ministry of Health to develop healthier and stronger children. The app keeps track of growth data, provides expert content on nutrition and stores immunisation records. It also has an alarm to notify parents about the baby’s vaccine schedule and a community of nearly one million moms and dads to discuss questions that arise.
As part of its service, PrimaKu enables its five thousand pediatricians to monitor each child’s growth. Thus far, the company has raised an undisclosed amount from BRI Ventures, Alto Partners Multi-Family Office, BIG Ventures, App Works, and Northstar Group. It will continue its mission of easing parenting worries and reducing the challenges of accessing child wellness solutions in Indonesia.
Singapore-based Pi-xcels is a customer intelligence platform for retailers that generates instant (Near Field Communication) NFC-powered digital receipts. It offers an eco-friendly alternative to printing paper receipts, thereby reducing deforestation and additional waste in landfills. Its proprietary technology provides a quick and seamless way for customers to make payments simply by single-tapping the Point-of-Sale (POS) system with their smartphones. The digital receipts are interactive, providing a gateway for omnichannel marketing, with opportunities for promotions and loyalty programmes.
Furthermore, Pi-xcels’ system provides actionable insights into the customers’ demographics, preferences, and behaviour, enabling the seller to make data-driven decisions. Thus far, the company has raised USD 1.7 million in a Seed funding round led by Wavemaker Partners, Hustle Fund, Amand Ventures, Black Kite Capital, and others. The funds will help Pi-xcels to boost its business development initiatives.
Malaysia’s CompAsia is a device lifecycle company established in 2012, operating in 10 countries and expanding into others. It gives smartphones new life by refurbishing them, which makes them more affordable to the public. Moreover, reselling used or second-hand tech minimises electronic waste that pollutes the soil.
CompAsia raised an undisclosed amount in a Series A funding round led by Gobi Partners. The money is for expansion into other markets, device financing, and smartphone care programs. The company is partnering with major telecommunication companies to handle phone trade-in and buyback programs.
Singapore-based Solar AI Technologies is on a mission to simplify the process of property owners getting solar power. ENGIE, one of the world’s largest renewable energy companies, funded and developed it. The plan was to boost solar tech adoption throughout Southeast Asia, positively impacting the environment. According to the firm, it has reduced 30,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.
Solar AI saves homeowners from the high upfront costs of owning solar panels by offering a rent-to-own model, where they pay monthly fees over time. The company raised USD 1.5 million from Earth Venture Capital, Undivided Ventures, climate tech investor David Pardo, and Investible. The investment will help with growth by hyperscaling solar panel installations to combat environmental challenges.
The last of the top 5 tech startups is Vietnam-based Wiziin, a data-driven investment platform. It helps venture capital firms (VCs), small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and angel investors raise capital, make deals, co-invest monitoring, manage agreements, and manage funder relations. Its website offers resources such as updates, events, and interviews to enable new businesses and financiers to navigate the ecosystem well.
Wiziin has raised USD 500 thousand in a Pre-Seed funding round from an angel investor. It wants to democratise access to funding by connecting financial backers and founders through its blockchain-based platform. Using digital assets is expected to attract more investment and provide more startups with much-needed capital.
A bright future
These well-performing tech startups in Southeast Asia demonstrate that there is hope that funding, innovation, and new business growth will revert to previous record highs.
Furthermore, there is potential for more significant investment as the green economy blossoms and more companies seek to adopt or develop sustainable solutions, services, and products to benefit the citizenry.