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Navigating Southeast Asia

Founders expanding across Southeast Asia's diverse markets must navigate different cultural nuances, business environments, and regulatory frameworks. Increasing alignment between governments is improving the ease of doing business, with Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines linking their payment systems to allow cross-border payments via QR codes. Additionally, SEA's largest stock exchanges have established the ASEAN-Interconnected Sustainability Ecosystem and published a core set of ESG metrics to encourage sustainable investments. Southeast Asia also serves as a gateway to global markets, including China, which remains deeply engaged in the region, offering opportunities in supply chains and the Chinese market. Economic pressures are expected to drive a wave of mergers and acquisitions, particularly in sectors like marketplaces and traditional industries, as companies join forces to expand their market share and grow globally.

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The startup ecosystem in Southeast Asia remains robust despite facing significant challenges in recent years. The most pivotal threat was the COVID-19 pandemic, which severely impacted businesses and the global economy. However, startups are now thriving, particularly in industries that have embraced new technologies and are integral to the Internet economy. Staying updated with the latest trends and connecting with key players in the ecosystem is crucial for continued success and growth.

Understanding the Indonesian space

Indonesian startups received the largest share of investments in Southeast Asia. From January 2020 to December 2023, US$25 billion in investments have been deployed in SEA, and Indonesia captured 40% of that capital, totaling $10 billion. Out of the top 10 startups that received the most funds in the region, 5 hailed from Indonesia. These include Grab, taking the number 1 spot, followed by GoTo, J&T, Bukalapak, and Traveloka. GoTo and J&T themselves have raised $9 billion and $2.5 billion respectively, making their way to become deacons with market capitalizations valued at US$35 billion and US$22 billion respectively. The opportunities in Indonesia are so big and bountiful; making it one of the best reason to build a presence in Indonesia. 

Understanding the Vietnamese space

Vietnam has emerged as a regional startup hub in Southeast Asia, attracting significant attention and investments. Investors are increasingly viewing Vietnam as the third major startup market in Southeast Asia, following Singapore and Indonesia. As Indonesia's startup scene heats up, observers predict that regional seed and series A funds will move and target Vietnam next. At the recent Vietnam Ventures Summit, the country secured US$815 million in investments, highlighting the vibrant startup ecosystem. Key sectors driving this growth include fintech, e-commerce, and enterprise solutions, all poised for significant disruption. . As of October 2023, Vietnam boasts four unicorns: VNG, the company behind messaging app Zalo and e-wallet ZaloPay; MoMo, a leading payments platform; VNLife, which owns the payment firm VNPay; and Sky Mavis, a pioneer in blockchain gaming. The digital economy in Vietnam is brimming with opportunities, making it an exciting destination for startup investments.

We strive to build a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem by connecting startups and investors to incubators, where they can find opportunities that suit their needs. This significantly boosts chances of success by providing the right resources, and connections essential for growth and development.

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