Data Vantage: Southeast Asia’s startups entice US tech investors

Spatial data platform NextBillion.ai received $6.25 million from Microsoft Corporation this week as part of an extended Series A funding round. It had announced the deal in May.

According to DealStreetAsia – DATA VANTAGE, Microsoft holds an 11% stake in NextBillion.ai following the investment. The startup had raised close to $7 million as a part of its Series A funding from Lightspeed Venture Partners and Falcon Edge Capital in June last year.

US tech giants have been making a series of bets on Southeast Asian startups in recent years. Indonesia’s ride-hailing and payments major Gojek, which merged with online marketplace Tokopedia this year to form GoTo, added search giant Google to its cap table in early 2018. Later in the year, its arch-rival Grab secured funding from Microsoft. 

Facebook and PayPal joined a funding round for Gojek in June last year, while Google joined Singapore’s Temasek and other investors in backing Tokopedia later that year. Meanwhile, Microsoft made a strategic investment in offline and online commerce major Bukalapak in November 2020. These investments are indicative of the US tech companies’ long-term goals in the region.

DealStreetAsia’s SE Asia Private Capital Markets Report 2021 notes that US venture capitalists, too, are starting to pay greater attention to Southeast Asia’s startups. Grab’s record SPAC deal and the GoTo merger have further drawn the spotlight to the region.

US investors who have been operating in the region for some time such as Y Combinator and 500 Global (formerly known as 500 Startups) appear to be committing more too. Late last year, US-based 500 Global announced a goal to invest in 80 Vietnamese startups by 2021.

Startup incubator Y Combinator recently unveiled 58 Asian startups for its S21 cohort, out of which 19 are from SE Asia (33%), representing a slight increase over 2020.

Deals announced in 2021 involving US investors 

Note: This list is not exhaustive.

Other updates from DATA VANTAGE

Digital construction management startup Hubble raised nearly $6.6 million this week as part of a Series B round backed by Tin Men Capital, Kajima Ventures and Real Tech Ventures. Its share price has more than tripled since a Tin Men-backed funding round in June last year.

The company offers a suite of fully integrated software that it claims can automate the entire range of construction processes on-site that have traditionally been accomplished mostly via manual processes.

Indian telemedicine startup MFine secured $10 million from Moore Strategic Ventures this week as part of a $48 million Series C round announced in September. The round was co-led by Moore Strategic Ventures and BEENEXT, which has so far invested nearly $10 million as part of the round.

Upskilling platform IndyWise received $15,000 this week from investors, including EthAum Venture Partners, that paid $1.823 per share.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.