Sunday, November 28, 2021

More Asean start-ups became unicorns thanks to robust funding, rising middle class

In 2021 alone, 19 start-ups in the region saw an increase in valuation to above US$1 billion, according to a report on Asean start-ups by Credit Suisse earlier this month.

Fifteen start-ups in Singapore and 11 in Indonesia account for the lion’s share of the region’s 35 unicorns.

Among recent additions to the Republic’s list of unicorns are used car marketplace Carro and logistics firm Ninja Van.

Credit Suisse’s list excludes start-ups that are in the process of public listing, such as super app Grab, which is headquartered in Singapore.

About a quarter of Asean unicorns are in the fintech space and 20 per cent are in e-commerce, followed by logistics (11 per cent) and diversified Internet/technology (8 per cent).

Most of the unicorns have a consumer-led business model, with very few in the business-to-business space.

The report highlighted that while private equity deals have outweighed public market funding for start-ups in the region, this could soon change. Markets are assigning high values to Asean tech, it said.

The report attributed robust growth in the number of Asean unicorns to several reasons: demographics, expanding middle class, increase in smartphone and data usage, as well as growth in private equity capital.

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