Southeast Asia’s startups ride pandemic tailwinds to raise $5.6b in Q2

Manila, Philippines. Photo by Carmela Asistio on Unsplash

Southeast Asia’s startups announced new funding of at least $5.6 billion in the April-June quarter – more than double the capital raised in Q2 2020 – as investors went full throttle to tap pandemic tailwinds.

The funding in the first two quarters of this year has already eclipsed the total dollars raised by the region’s startups in the whole of 2020, finds the latest report by DealStreetAsia – DATA VANTAGE.

According to SE Asia Deal Review: Q2 2021, deal volume in the second quarter of this year soared to new highs at 230 transactions, up from 211 in the first quarter.

The top three fundraisers in Q2 were Trax ($620 million), VinCommerce ($410 million) and The CrownX ($400 million). 

Among markets, Singapore attracted the largest share of capital in the quarter at $2.85 billion. Meanwhile, Indonesian startups collected $1.48 billion during the period led by Bukalapak’s $400 million round. 

The Philippines more than doubled its deal count from six in Q1 to 14 in Q2. Its startups raised $227 million in total, led by Voyager Innovations’s $167 million round.

Share of deal volume and value per market 

Source – SE Asia Deal Review: Q2 2021

Risks abound, optimism prevails

Large economies in Southeast Asia such as Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia continue to remain in the throes of the pandemic amid rising cases and low vaccination rates. New outbreaks and tighter restrictions could weigh down startups’ business performance as well as investor sentiment. 

However, fund managers and startups have had time to adapt to this new normal and are now better equipped to deal with the fallout of the pandemic than a year ago. 

Rapid digitalisation in the wake of the pandemic is also helping spawn a more diverse set of startups, adding to the attractiveness of the region’s startup ecosystem.

“We are gradually starting to see more diversity of opportunities which is great, with more SaaS, data analytics, cybersecurity, deep tech startups, etc,” said MassMutual Ventures Southeast Asia managing director Ryan Collins.

Southeast Asia’s IPO-bound unicorns are also generating buzz among global investors.

“I don’t know if it’s because of the unicorns/IPOs or because of the broader opportunity set in the region, but in fintech especially, there has been a lot more interest from global funds,” Collins said.


Our latest report, SE Asia Deal Review: Q2 2021, is available exclusively to DealStreetAsia – DATA VANTAGE subscribers.

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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.