Introduction

Established in 1967, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a regional intergovernmental organization that comprises ten member countries-Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The organization represents some of the largest economies in the world and the countries have a combined GDP of over $9.3 trillion (USD). The thriving economies are home to exciting and highly valued startups which, when analyzed, can lead to insights about the most promising sectors and countries in this dynamic region.   

Start-ups considered for this analysis are unlisted non-government entities that have raised more than $100 million (USD) of capital to date. Also included are start-ups which have been acquired but whose identity has largely been intact and subsidiaries of private/public companies. Overall 71 start-ups have been considered for this analysis. They’ve been classified (classification is subjective and has been made considering the sector/industry they closely resemble) based on Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) developed by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) and Standard & Poor’s. According to GICS, start-ups are classified into 11 sectors namely Energy, Materials, Industrials, Consumer Discretionary, Consumer Staples, Healthcare, Financials, Information Technology, Communication Services, Utilities and Real Estate. Examples of some of the industries present within different sectors: 

  • Energy: Energy equipment & services and Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels.
  • Materials: Chemicals, Construction Materials and Metals & Mining.
  • Industrials: Capital Goods, Transportation and Commercial & Professional Services.
  • Consumer Discretionary: Automobiles & Components, Consumer Durables & Apparel and Retailing.
  • Consumer Staples: Food & Staples Retailing, Food, Beverage & Tobacco and Household & Personal Products.
  • Health Care: Health Care Equipment & Services and Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology & Life Sciences.
  • Financials: Banks, Diversified Financials and Insurance.
  • Information Technology: Software & Services, Technology Hardware & Equipment and Semiconductors & Semiconductor Equipment.
  • Communication Services: Telecommunication Services and Media & Entertainment.
  • Utilities: Electric Utilities, Gas Utilities and Water Utilities.
  • Real Estate: Equity Real Estate Investment Trusts and Real Estate Management & Development.

Number of funding rounds of ASEAN startups*

Source: Funding data (as on Dec 15th, 2020), Crunchbase
*Start-ups considered for this analysis are unlisted non-government entities that have raised more than $100 million (USD) of capital to date. Also included are start-ups which have been acquired but whose identity has largely been intact and subsidiaries of private/public companies.

A vast majority of the startups considered for this analysis have raised funding within 10 rounds, 94% of them. Grab has had 31 funding rounds, the highest among them. Forty-five of the seventy-one startups have raised funds within 5 rounds and 16 of them have had just one round.  Each of the three startups- Gojek, Tokopedia and Carousell have raised funding in 11 rounds. 

Country-wise break-up of the total funding (USD) raised by ASEAN startups*

Source: Funding data (as on Dec 15th, 2020), Crunchbase
*Start-ups considered for this analysis are unlisted non-government entities that have raised more than $100 million (USD) of capital to date. Also included are start-ups which have been acquired but whose identity has largely been intact and subsidiaries of private/public companies.
Source: Funding data (as on Dec 15th, 2020), Crunchbase
*Start-ups considered for this analysis are unlisted non-government entities that have raised more than $100 million (USD) of capital to date. Also included are start-ups which have been acquired but whose identity has largely been intact and subsidiaries of private/public companies.

Singaporean startups have attracted a lion’s share of the funding- $21.9 billion (USD) which is close to twice the amount raised by Indonesian startups. Startups in Indonesia have secured the second-highest amount of funding, $11.1 billion (USD) which constitutes 29.5% of the total capital raised. Malaysia and the Philippines based startups have attracted a similar amount of funds- $1.4 billion (USD) and $1.5 billion (USD) respectively. Capital raised by startups in the remaining countries -Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand constitute 4.4% of the total.

Sector-wise break-up of the total funding (USD) raised by ASEAN startups*

Source: Funding data (as on Dec 15th, 2020), Crunchbase
*Start-ups considered for this analysis are unlisted non-government entities that have raised more than $100 million (USD) of capital to date. Also included are start-ups which have been acquired but whose identity has largely been intact and subsidiaries of private/public companies.

Industrials and Consumer Discretionary sector constitute 74.6% of the funds raised which amounts to nearly $28 billion (USD). The highest share of the funds has flowed to the startups in the Industrials sector -$16.1 billion (USD) or 42.8% of the total. Information Technology startups have raised $3.8 billion (USD) which is approximately 2 times more than the startups in the Communication Services sector. Funding towards the other sectors-Financials, Healthcare, Energy, Utilities and Materials together constitute 7.2% of the total.

Country and sector-wise break-up of the total number of ASEAN startups*

Source: Funding data (as on Dec 15th, 2020), Crunchbase
*Start-ups considered for this analysis are unlisted non-government entities that have raised more than $100 million (USD) of capital to date. Also included are start-ups which have been acquired but whose identity has largely been intact and subsidiaries of private/public companies.

Fourteen of the seventy-one startups considered for this analysis belong to Indonesia. A maximum number of startups (37) are based in Singapore which roughly accounts for 52% of the total. There are an identical number of startups based in Thailand and the Philippines- four each. The remaining twelve startups are from Malaysia, Myanmar and Vietnam. Overall the Consumer Discretionary and Information Technology sectors have identical numbers of startups- twenty each. The Communication Services and Industrials sector are ranked third and fourth based on the number of startups -with seven and six startups respectively. 

Sector-wise break-up of the total funding (USD) raised by top 30 ASEAN startups*

Source: Funding data (as on Dec 15th, 2020), Crunchbase
*Start-ups considered for this analysis are unlisted non-government entities that have raised more than $100 million (USD) of capital to date. Also included are start-ups which have been acquired but whose identity has largely been intact and subsidiaries of private/public companies.

The top 30 startups have together raised nearly $32 billion (USD), which constitutes 85% of the total funding raised by all the startups. Grab has raised a staggering $10.1 billion (USD) till date, which is more than 2 times the capital raised by the Lazada Group ($4.2 billion). 

Sector StartupTotal Funding (USD)
IndustrialsGrab$10.1B
Information TechnologyQuest Global Services$431M
Communication ServicesIflix$348M 
HealthcareMetro Pacific Hospital Holdings$685M
Real EstatePropertyGuru Group$544M
UtilitiesAC Energy$410M
Consumer DiscretionaryLazada Group$4.2B
Source: Funding data (as on 15th Dec,2020), Crunchbase)

Conclusion

Among the ASEAN countries, Singapore is the hottest destination for startups, which has been ranked number one in terms of the total funding raised and in terms of the number of startups. It is also home to the most valuable startup in this region- the food delivery giant-Grab, which has pushed the Industrials sector to the top spot as the sector with the highest amount of funding. Overall ASEAN startups are a force to reckon with in the dynamic global economy. 

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