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Tech startups in Southeast Asia are shrugging off the virus to raise US $ 8.2 billion

Deals worth over US $ 100 million accounted for 57% of the investments in companies like Gojek. (Pic file)

Singapore: Tech startups in Southeast Asia defied the pandemic and attracted a similar level of investment in 2020 as in the previous year, outperforming most other emerging markets.

A study from Cento Ventures showed that tech startups in the region raised $ 8.2 billion, down 3.5% from 2019.

That compares to a 31% decline in India and 38% in Africa, according to the Singapore-based venture capital firm.

The region of 650 million people is moving rapidly over the Internet, with countries such as Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam adopting e-commerce, financial technology and transportation applications.

However, Southeast Asia is lagging behind the United States and the European Union, as emerging tech companies attracted record investment last year and grew by 13% and 15%, respectively, Cento said.

Startups in China attracted 6% more funding compared to the previous year.

“The year 2020 provided a compelling reason to re-evaluate how technology can be harnessed to preserve the vital function of society,” said Dmitry Levitt, Partner at Cento, an early-stage investor supporting startups including 2C2P, iPrice Group and Pomelo.

“Investments in the digital transformation of retail, food, financial services and logistics have increased accordingly, and we will see more industries interact similarly in 2021 and 2022.”

Nearly half of the money raised went to unicorn companies including Grab Holdings Inc, Gojek, Bukalapak.com and Traveloka.

Deals exceeding $ 100 million accounted for 57% of total investments, while those between $ 50 million and $ 100 million rose to $ 1.1 billion, a 26% increase over the previous year.

The report showed that Indonesian startups accounted for 70% of the capital invested in Southeast Asia, with Indonesian and Singaporean startups together accounting for 64% of the total number of deals.

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