SE Asia sees record investments in health-tech space in 2019

This 2013 image depicts a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) scientist harvesting H7N9 virus, grown for the purpose of sharing with partner laboratories for research purposes. Photo: CDC/unsplash

A record $266 million has been poured into health tech in Southeast Asia last year, more than double what was invested before, according to industry researcher Galen Growth.

In its report on health tech investment in 2019, Galen also noted that Singapore and Indonesia scored the bulk of the investments. However, even as Singapore maintained its leadership in terms of the share of deal volume, at 54 per cent, there were fewer deals overall as neighbouring countries – such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Myanmar – attracted more investments.

India was the other market that saw record deal flow during the year, with $723 million in funding deployed. That was about a third higher than the year before, even though there were fewer deals. The market’s performance was likely buoyed by PharmEasy’s easing of $220 million in November

Overall, the Asia Pacific region recorded $5 billion worth of funding across 340 deals, out of $15 billion globally in 2019.

The amount of funding was 27 per cent down from 2018, but still 25 per cent CAGR since 2014. And, ticket sizes have grown, as more funding was deployed in the growth stages. The average deal size, according to Galen, was $14.6 million, or 12 per cent bigger than in the year before, and more than 50% bigger than in 2017.

As Galen noted, while early-stage and Series A deal activity has slowed, Series B deal values have grown, and account for about a third of total funding so far.

The report also noted that the most-funded health tech start-ups are in online marketplaces, which garnered $815 million in funding. Medical diagnostics and health management systems were the next two sub-sectors that secured the most funding. Indeed, those two sub-sectors saw the most number of deals during the year.

Meanwhile, the most active investors were still those from mainland China, even as deal flows slowed. Tencent Holdings, Sequoia Capital and IDG Capital were the top three most active, with nine, nine and six deals each, respectively.

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.