Startups In Southeast Asia Gaining Further Traction

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A view of the Singapore skyline at sunset viewed from Gardens by the Bay East.
A view of the Singapore skyline at sunset viewed from Gardens by the Bay East. Chensiyuan | Wikimedia Commons

Startup in Southeast Asia has become a mainstream industry that soon enough it could gain “rockstar” status. Compared from five years ago, the industry now wields a significant pull that people want to be part of the action.

According to Khailee Ng, managing partner of 500 Startups, the startup scene in the region saw a rapid change in the past five years. As things stand now, Ng is convinced that startups in Southeast Asia have “started to build a lot of leverage.

Ng speaks from experience as 500 Startups was involved and witnessed the growth of startup players in the region, among them car-sharing firm Grab and online retailer Carousel. According to Mashable, 500 Startups has invested in more than 180 companies in Southeast Asia, which is just a small fraction of the entire investment portfolio that the firm is presently engaged with.

And Ng is optimistic about the growth prospects because of the plentiful support coming from governments in the region. Not surprisingly, Singapore is at the forefront of boosting the startup industry by putting up an ecosystem where investors and government regulatory measures are operating on the same page.

In terms of support for startups, Singapore definitely leads the pack, Ng allowed.

Indonesia and Malaysia are doing their part as well and the interest and direct involvement showed by the two countries’ political leaderships are nothing short of encouraging, Ng observed.

In Thailand, Ng said more than $500 million in venture capital is believed to be firing up the startup industry. And many in the kingdom appear to be interested in playing a role in an industry that is seen to be on the cusp of explosion.

For those wanting to enter the startup scene, Ng pointed to three things that he believes are essential to building a startup and making it grow. Of prime importance is the startup’s ability to attract talents, and lots of them.

“The gravity of this industry is pulling talents in, so that’s why it’s got leverage. It has some of the best and strong people in the industry,” the startup guru told Mashable.

It’s important too that there is sufficient capital and it’s a good thing that as far as the region is concerned, “the startup industry is being hyper capitalized because of venture capital, other folks, and angel investing.”

Lastly, startups need to have “headline gravity,” which Ng described as the real substance beyond the hype.

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