One month in, the year kicked off with a flurry of activity and a particularly busy few weeks for the Vietnamese startup ecosystem.
This January, we saw 1,438 Southeast Asia startups created/updated on the e27 media platform. Of which, 41 startups raised/recorded more than US$1.58 billion across 19 industry verticals.
Since its emergence in 2016, Fintech still remains a strong theme in this region, amassing 10 deals totalling US$345.6 million in January. This number was twice as much as the runner-up (e-commerce). [Chart below]
Speaking of e-commerce, it is always important to remember that the sector is still king in Southeast Asia and growth does not seem to be slowing down. e27 recorded five deals valued at around US$57.5 million in January.
Healthtech scored rounded out the top-3 with three deals.
While most of the startup fundraising activity still revolves around the Seed and Series A stage, we are starting to see different large companies raise financing at such a rate that the alphabet-soup naming mechanisms become pointless. [Chart Below]
The biggest contributor to January’s deals was Go-Jek, confirming an initial US$920 million close for their Series F raised from Google, Tencent and JD.com.
On the other hand, KinerjaPay and Grab each secured US$200 million in a post-IPO equity round and a corporate round respectively.
A breakdown by country
Indonesia and Vietnam followed closely with 11 and nine deals respectively, while Vietnam and Malaysia and the Philippines scored an 8 collectively. On deal flow/fundraising activity, Singapore led the way with 14 deals recorded. [Chart Below]
e27 did not manage to capture any deals from the rest of Southeast Asia.
In terms of deal size/total amount raised, Indonesia amassed a total of US$1.21 billion, which is a staggering 77 per cent of the total amount captured for entire Southeast Asia this month.
Singapore and Vietnam each totalled US$253.86 million and US$113.5 million respectively. These figures did not include the 15/41 deals which remained undisclosed.
Jan 2019 a stellar month for Vietnam
And all this does not take into account the undisclosed seed round raised by TheBank.vn as well as the Series C round raised by Tima. If we revisit the same table after removing the outliers (read: unicorns), January 2019 was a stellar month for Vietnam, ranking third in deal flow/fundraising activity and second in deal size/total amount raised. [Chart Below]
This sentiment is also echoed by the e27 community, who recently voted MoMo as the January’s best startup. The company won because it managed to raise a Series C funding round Southeast Asian startup that reaches a significant milestone in that month.
Do you believe in superstition?
While Southeast Asia is known for its US$200-billion-worth digital opportunity, it is also a region with 11 countries and 660 million people representing a diversity of cultures.
Each culture has its own superstitions, which might affect the way founders choose to announce their fundraising milestone.
For those who subscribe to a notion of (in)auspicious hours or (un)lucky days, here’s an interesting stat for you.
Last month, fundraising announcements on e27 happened mostly on Mondays, with Tuesdays being the least popular. e27 refrains from publishing any fundraising news over the weekends as it will not do justice to the celebratory two-day-occasion when everyone is away from their laptop and industry news grind. [Chart below]
Whether the strategy is riding the popularity wave or emerging brazenly on a quiet and slow news day, it is also kind of fun to zoom out to determine the time of the month that is best for an announcement.
Announcements generally peak in the first week, whereas during the 2nd and 4th weeks, announcements tend to die down [Chart Below].
With this in mind, you can better plan your communication strategy; which date/weeks to submit your press releases to [email protected]
A disclaimer, and an open invitation for community & collaboration
Is this report accurate?
Definitely not a hundred per cent.
e27 data is heavily reliant on inbound participation and we are well aware that there are startups and stakeholders that have no engagement with our platform at all.
Nevertheless, we are excited by its vast potential and the endless possibilities.
This publication is not a one-off, but a follow-up from the launch of e27’s Southeast Asia Startup Ecosystem Report 2018, as a continuous effort to improve visibility and transparency in Southeast Asia’s tech startup ecosystem.
To make sense of Southeast Asia’s growth and complexity, this project also presents an opportunity for us to develop a stronger sense of community.
This is an open invitation for the #e27community to continue engaging our platform proactively, as we continue serving our mission — to empower entrepreneurs to build and grow their business.
We are also in conversation with active stakeholders and various governments for collaboration and partnerships so that subsequent publications will be more valuable and impactful for the region’s tech startup ecosystem.