South-East Asian start-up deals hit record number in 1H

by BLOOMBERG

SINGAPORE • Venture backers made a record number of investments in South-East Asian start-ups in the first half of this year (1H21), though the value of those deals declined as investors focus on early-stage deals in the region’s burgeoning internet scene. 

There were 393 investments across the region in 1H21, topping the previous record of 375 in the 1H19, research from Singapore’s Cento Ventures showed. 

Total capital raised was US$4.4 billion (RM18.4 billion), down from US$5.8 billion a year earlier. The fall is mainly attributable to less outsized fundraising by unicorns such as Grab Holdings Inc that dominated the region’s capital raising in the past as they are now seeking to go public. 

The average deal size fell to US$11.2 million from US$17.7 million a year earlier as investors focused on early-stage investments. 

Less than 10% of the deals were series C rounds or later, while the vast majority were series B, series A or pre-series A. 

In September, a handful of start-ups announced sizable fundraising rounds. They include Ninja Van, which raised US$578 million and Advance Intelligence Group, which received an investment of more than US$400 million. 

India remained the most-funded among emerging markets in 1H21 with start-ups there raising US$10.8 billion during the period. 

Latin America followed suit, raising US$6.2 billion, according to the latest biannual report by the venture capital firm. 

Indonesia was the top destination for investment in South-East Asia, accounting for half of all the capital raised in 1H21, followed by Singapore, which attracted 32% of capital raised.