Startups in Southeast Asia pulled in more moolah than ever before from investors in 2016. Total funding in the region hit US$2.6 billion, up over 60 percent from the previous year’s US$1.6 billion, according to the Tech in Asia Database.
One caveat: many startups that scored investments didn’t disclose the amounts so the tally could have been bigger.
The number of deals fell for the first time in five years to 365 – from 380 in 2015 – amidst talks of a cooling off in startup financing.
Singapore and Indonesia continued to figure prominently on investors’ radar, accounting for US$1.4 billion and US$967 million of the investments, respectively. Malaysia was next (US$84.8 million), followed by Thailand (US$79.3 million), Vietnam (US$60.9 million), and the Philippines (US$14.6 million).
No winter for big players
Southeast Asia continued to attract investors, who might have been looking for new growth opportunities. Its performance bucks the slowdown seen in India in 2016, and the big drop-off in China in the latter half of the year.
Also, while some startups might have felt a freeze as money was not flowing as freely as in years before, funding was always available for the truly robust ones. Prominent names like Grab, Go-Jek, Garena, and Tokopedia managed to bag yet more funding as they ramped up operations.
See: The 12 biggest funding rounds in Southeast Asia this year
Those big-ticket deals, mostly in the July to September quarter, accounted for the bulk of funding.
From October to December, funding amounted to US$225 million, the lowest quarterly sum in 2016 and down 7 percent from US$242 million in Q4 2015.
Except for series A funding, all stages recorded a rise last year. Late-stage funding, which used to be rare, went up thanks to the mega rounds closed by the likes of Grab (note: Go-Jek’s US$550 million is not included in the graph as the round is unknown).
As expected, ride-hailing and logistics was the best-funded sector, netting US$1.35 billion. Ecommerce, the king of 2015, and many previous years, came next with US$421 million invested amidst rosy projections for online shopping growth in the region.
Thanks to Tech in Asia’s Queena Wadyanti for compiling the data.
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