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Curiosity, Economics

Southeast Asia’s tech startups

Five of ASEAN’s most successful tech startups.


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Updated: June 26, 2018

In recent years, much attention has been devoted to the rapid advancement of technology and its ever-growing impact on society as the fourth industrial revolution looms on the horizon. As with other regions in the world, Asean, too, has seen its share of promising tech start-ups rise to prominence. Here are the five tech start-ups from the region who have managed to raise the most money from investors over the past two years according to Tech in Asia.

Grab

This well-known ride-hailing app first made its way to mobile phones in Malaysia under the name My Teksi in 2012. The brainchild of Harvard Business School student Anthony Tan, the project started small, receiving several rejections before being taken on by a small taxi company. Fast forward six years and the company has raised more cash than any other tech start-up in the region over the past two years, raking in US$4.8 billion. Now headquartered in Singapore, the app currently operates in eight countries across the region, including Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.

Lazada

Southeast Asia’s top online shopping platform Lazada was launched in 2012 and currently serves six countries in the region – Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam. Its marketplace platform enables an impressive 155,000 sellers and 3,000 brands to serve 560 million consumers. Lazada offers its users a wide range of products and a variety of payment methods, including cash-on-delivery.

The group, which is majority owned by Alibaba Group Holding Limited, received US$ 3 billion from investors over the past two years.

Sea

Originally known as Garena, Sea is an internet platform offering digital entertainment, e-commerce and digital financial services. Its gaming platform, the largest in the region by revenue, offers popular online multiplayer game League of Legends among others, while its e-commerce platform, Shopee, is one of the region’s fastest growing.

Sea stands out as Singapore’s first multi-billion-dollar tech start-up, and was listed on the New York stock exchange in October 2017.

The company has raised US$ 2 billion from investors over the past two years.

Tokopedia

One of Indonesia’s fastest-growing tech start-ups, Tokopedia allows people to buy and sell items online for free.

The e-commerce platform recently ran a highly successful shopping festival called, “Ramadan Ekstra,” The Jakarta Post reported, citing a statement released by the company. Tokopedia received more than 65 million customers in May, the success of its Ramadan program giving the app’s ranking such a large boost in the App Store that it beat big names such as Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram.

The company raised the fourth largest amount of money over the past two years, bringing in US$1.1 billion.

Go-Jek

Indonesian-based ride-hailing start-up Go-Jek was founded in 2010 by Nadiem Makarim starting out with just 20 drivers. The company has since taken off, offering an impressive 18 services and becoming the only Southeast Asian company to make it into Fortune magazine’s Change the World list in 2017.

Having enjoyed enormous success on its home turf, Go-Jek announced plans last month to expand into four new markets in Southeast Asia – Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines.



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Nadia Chevroulet
About the Author: Nadia is an Associate Editor at Asia News Network.

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