SE Asia Deal Review: Startup fundraising slows 65% to $1.8b in Dec

Singapore. Photo: Guo Xin Goh

Startups in Southeast Asia amassed as much as $1.8 billion in December, registering a 65% drop from November’s record $5.2 billion, according to proprietary data compiled by DealStreetAsia.

Even as the number of mega deals (those that were worth $100 million or above) last month was similar to that of November, the drop in total value is on account of lower ticket sizes at which these transactions were clocked.

There were five mega deals in December that racked up a total of $979 million. Meanwhile, in November, startups raised a whopping $4.3 billion through a similar number of large-ticket transactions.

In terms of overall volume, too, there was a slight drop in December with the total number of deals standing at 84 (primarily venture capital) versus that of 119 in November.

In October and September 2021, startups in the region garnered $1.6 billion and $2.8 billion, respectively.

In the entire year, privately-held companies in the region raised a total of about $26.2 billion.

Deal value by month ($billion) Deal Value by Month - December

In the biggest transaction in December, Vietnamese integrated retail platform The CrownX closed a $350-million primary investment from global private equity (PE) firm TPG, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), and SeaTown, a wholly-owned indirect subsidiary of Singapore state investor Temasek.

The funding pegged the post-money valuation of The CrownX at $8.2 billion.

Meanwhile, another Vietnamese firm – payment app Momo – secured mega funding of $200 million in its Series E round in December, led by Japanese bank Mizuho and backed by Hong Kong-based Ward Ferry Management, Goldwater Capital, and Kora Management.

In other big-ticket transactions – all sealed in Singapore – sports media platform Group One, the parent company of ONE Championship and ONE Esports, raised a total of $324 million across two deals, while online language learning platform LingAce secured $105-million in its Series C round.

The megadeals ($100m and above) of December 2021

Expand Table

StartupHeadquartersInvestment SizeStageLead Investor/sVertical
The CrownXVietnam$350,000,000Private EquityRetail
MomoVietnam$200,000,000Series EMizuho BankFintech
ONE ChampionshipSingapore$174,000,000Venture - Series UnknownMedia & Entertainment
One ChampionshipSingapore$150,000,000Private EquityGuggenheim Investments, Qatar Investment AuthorityMedia & Entertainment
LingoAceSingapore$105,000,000Series COwl Ventures, Sequoia Capital IndiaEdtech

Vietnam overtakes Indonesia in deal value

While startups in Singapore continued to corner the biggest chunk of funding at $908 million, Vietnam overtook Indonesia for the first time in terms of deal value last month thereby amassing a total of $585.2 million.

In Indonesia, however, emerging businesses raked in a mere $241.5 million even as the startup ecosystem in the country is bustling with activity.

Vietnam’s performance was largely due to the two megadeals that raised a combined $550 million in funding.

The Philippines took the fourth slot in terms of deal value, with 3 local private firms raising $18.5 million. Malaysia and Thailand raised $16.1 million and $2 million, respectively.

Fundraising by country in December

Early-stage deals continue to dominate

The December data compiled by DealStreetAsia showed that early-stage startups continued to evince higher investor interest compared to their peers that required growth capital.

Last month, as many as 45 deals were sealed in their Series A-stages or earlier in Southeast Asia. Of that, seed rounds accounted for 24 transactions.

In contrast to that, there were only eight Series B and four Series C transactions during the month.

Startups in new-age digital sectors such as financial services, e-commerce, and data analytics continued to dominate deal activity in terms of volume as the pandemic served as an accelerant to all of them.

Fintech and financial services, too, saw significant traction, accounting for 24 deals that raised a combined $584 million in December.

Meanwhile, e-commerce startups were involved in eight transactions that scored $34 million. Data analytics, on the other hand, raised $28 million from five deals.

Most active investors

A good number of investors were involved in the 84 deals that Southeast Asia witnessed in December.

However, notable lead investors, included Singapore-based Monk’s Hill Ventures, venture capital firm East Ventures, Jakarta-based early-stage investor AC Ventures, and Arise, the joint debut fund of Indonesian Telkom-backed MDI Ventures and Finch Capital.

 

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.