5 Southeast Asian Companies to Keep an Eye on in 2021

Southeast Asian firms saw a surge in the number of investments in the first half of 2021. Research shows investments across the region rose from last year’s 327 to 393 this year.

The figures highlight the increased trust in the best-performing companies in the region. Read on to know the top five SE firms to look out for in 2021.

1. Spenmo

Founded in 2020, Spenmo is a fintech company based in Singapore. The company manages vendor payments, supplier payments, and payroll for businesses.

The company is doing business in Vietnam, Indonesia, and Singapore. 

The firm’s flagship products are smart corporate cards and automated bill payments. The firm boasts affordable international transfers and automated transfers. 

The company aims to help businesses pay bills and track their budget faster and easier.

The company supports several thousand customers from a wide range of sectors. These include high-growth startups, small businesses, mid-market companies, and accounting firms.

In September, the firm announced a Series A worth $34 million. New York-based investment firm Insight Partners led the fundraiser. It’s considered one of the largest Series A rounds ever raised by a Y Combinator-backed Singapore startup.

Other firms that supported the fundraiser include Salesforce Ventures, Addition, and Alpha JWC. Global Founders’ Capital, Broadhaven, and Operator Partners also chipped in.

This fundraiser brings the firm’s total money raised to $36 million.

2. Ninja Van

Launched in 2014, Ninja Van is a logistics startup from Singapore. The firm aims to provide hassle-free delivery services for all businesses.

The brand sees itself as one of the fastest-growing logistics firms in Singapore. Now, it operates in the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam. 

The company offers delivery options for every budget. It also boasts flexible parcel pickups. The firm offers API integrations customized routing solutions tailored to their customer needs.

The firm has over 61,000 employees that support the delivery of two million packages a day.

In September, the startup closed a major round of funding that raised $578 million. Alibaba Group, the Chinese e-commerce firm, backed the Series E capital raising.

Other investors that were part of the fundraising include B Capital Group, GeoPost/DPD group, Monk’s Hill Ventures, and Zamrud.

The firm will utilize the new funds to invest in infrastructure and technology systems. The systems will help improve the quality and consistency of the startup’s operations.

3. Mekong Capital

Mekong Capital is a private equity firm with investments in Vietnam. It invests in consumer-driven businesses. 

This allowed the firm to develop a deep level of insight into what drives business success. The company’s investments span a broad range of sectors, including retail, restaurants, and education.

The firm’s offices in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi house over 60 staff. 

It backed some of the fastest-growing firms in the country. Some of the  firm’s investees include:

  • MobileWorld
  • Golden Gate
  • Vietnam Australia International School (VAS)
  • Masan Consumer
  • Traphaco
  • Phu Nhuan Jewelry (PNJ)
  • ICP
  • ABA Cool Trans
  • Nhat Tin Logistics
  • Pharmacity
  • F88
  • YOLA
  • Pizza 4P’s
  • Vua Nem

Earlier this year, the firm announced a $246 million fundraising. The company plans to use the new funds to invest in education and restaurants. The firm also wants to invest in consumer goods and healthcare.

4. Navis Capital Market

Navis Capital Partners is a private equity company. It has completed over 80 controlling private equity investments, mostly in Southeast Asia. 

The firm manages private and public equity funds with a value of over US$5 billion. The company has investors in the US, Europe, Middle East, and Asia. 

Navis investors are insurance companies, pension funds, corporations, and foundations, among others.

This year, the firm has raised $1.45 billion from fundraising between its two vehicles.

Navis Asia Fund VII announced that it had raised $900 million. The company is planning to use the new capital for investments in Southeast Asia, China, and Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, Navis Asia Green Loop Fund raised $450 million. The firm will utilize the funds to invest in technology, media, and telecom companies in Asia.

5. Carro

Launched in 2015, Carro is an automotive marketplace in Singapore. The firm has over 1,000 people across four countries. 

Roughly 90 percent of the firm’s cars are secondhand. The company also offers services that cover the car’s entire lifecycle. 

In June, the firm announced a $360 million Series C fundraising. The new capital also pushed the firm to unicorn valuation.

SoftBank Vision Fund 2 led the capital-raising effort. Other investors include insurance firm MSIG and Indonesian fund EV Growth. 

The company will apply the new funds into supporting its acquisition efforts. The firm wants to expand its services in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. 

For Southeast Asia investments, the first half of 2021 has been a successful period. This is more commendable given the difficulties businesses experienced because of the pandemic. Even as countries went into lockdown, the region continued to thrive economically. 

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