SE Asia Deal Review: Startups raise at least $278m in January

Southeast Asian startups raised at least $278 million in venture capital financing across 51 transactions in January amid the resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic in the region, according to proprietary data compiled by DealStreetAsia.

Singapore-based startups dominated the funding activities in January, in terms of volume, accounting for 26 deals, or about 50% of the total transactions, that gathered $91.1 million. Indonesia, however, gathered the most funding with 11 deals that secured $121.52 million. Ten deals in the month did not disclose the amount raised.

In January, the largest funding round of $60 million went into Indonesian last-mile delivery startup SiCepat Express in its Series B round led by private equity firm Falcon House Partners.

SiCepat is reportedly raising a total corpus of over $100 million in the said round, with the remaining amount expected to come from existing backers Kejora and Tokopedia, besides as a new investor.

Singapore-based private asset trading platform iSTOX raised the second-biggest funding in January at $50 million in its Series A round, with the fresh investment coming from existing and new investors, including JIC Venture Growth Investment, the venture capital arm of Japan Investment Corporation; the Development Bank of Japan; Juroku Bank; and Japanese venture capital firm Mobile Internet Capital.

Financial services lead deal volume, value

With increased digitisation in the region and people embracing online transactions to avoid physical contacts during the pandemic, the financial services sector topped the deal tally in January with $95.35 million across 11 transactions, accounting for about 38% of the month’s total value.

The logistics sector garnered the second-largest total funding at $74.4 million across five transactions, thanks to SiCepat’s $60 million Series B, while e-commerce gathered at least $30.15 million over six transactions, with the $20 million Series A of Indonesian B2B e-commerce marketplace Ula leading the pack.

Despite a resurgence of the COVID-19 virus, startups in the food and healthcare/health tech sectors only managed to secure a total of about $5.6 million in January.

The travel and hospitality sectors, badly battered by the pandemic, saw only two deals during the month – the $1 million funding in Cambodia’s FCC Hotels and the $1 million bridge funding in Singapore’s Navisteps.

Series A deals dominate the deal tally

In terms of volume and value, Series A deals dominated the deal tally in January with 13 transactions that collectively raked in $114 million. There were at least six seed rounds that raised $10.1 million, four pre-Series A, and three Series B transactions that secured $80.5 million during the month. Deal stages of other transactions could not be ascertained.

Southeast Asia-based VC firm East Ventures was the most active investor last month, participating in three transactions in Indonesian startups, while Wavemaker Partners, 500 Startups, and Alpha JWC Ventures each participated in at least two deals.

In Q3 of 2020, Southeast Asia-based startups raised at least $1.8 billion in announced funding, a drop of 34% quarter-on-quarter, and close to 40% year-on-year, according to DealStreetAsia’s report, SE Asia Deal Review Q3 2020.

In terms of volume, the number of transactions during the said period stood at 151 compared to 184 in the previous quarter.

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.