The venture ecosystem in India is off to a great start in 2019.
It’s not even mid-way into the year, and the country has already seen the addition of two internet startups achieving the much-coveted unicorn status, with another reportedly close to the billion dollar valuation milestone.
Just this Monday, BigBasket has secured a US$150 million Series F financing round led by Mirae Asset-Naver Asia Growth Fund, CDC Group, and Alibaba.
Chinese giant Alibaba is an existing backer, which had also led the Series E round in BigBasket last year. It remains the largest investor in the company, owning up to 30 percent stake.
Meanwhile, April also saw India’s first gaming unicorn Dream11. The startup reached a valuation exceeding US$1 billion, after a secondary investment by London and Hong Kong-based asset manager Steadview Capital.
“These developments proof that investment activity and the pace of growth has picked up in the Indian startup space,” said the vice president of consultancy Everest Group Yugal Joshi to Quartz India.
The rise of BigBasket and Dream11 are the continuous reflection of evolution in Indian internet business, following the footsteps of existing Indian unicorns like Flipkart and Ola.
“The companies that we are talking about, be it BigBasket or Dream 11, are not overnight stars,” said Sanchit Vir Gogia, the founder and CEO of Greyhound research.
These startups have been working their way up quietly for some time. Eight-year-old BigBasket, for example, has been investing in the supply chain, logistics and technology for long to reach where it is now.
The online grocer sells more than 20,000 products ranging from groceries and pet foods, operating in 25 Indian cities.
“BigBasket offers a transformational and convenient experience to its consumers, which makes it a preferred grocery platform,” said Ashish Dave, the head of India Investments for Mirae Asset Global Investments.
Meanwhile, Dream11 which was co-founded by University of Pennsylvania alumni Harsh Jain and his friend Bhavit Sheth in 2008 has also been experimenting with the product-market fit before it found success.
The startup adopts a data-driven culture and strategy to reach its current 50 million registered users, which it claims is the tip of the iceberg in a market with more than 850 million cricket viewers on television.
Their success with cracking their segments was what boost global investors confidence, enough to give birth to both success stories… and the trend is likely to continue.
Investors see India, now at a US$2000 gross domestic product per thousand people, set for consumer-spending led acceleration in the online economy.
The country offers large opportunities for startups and ventures that bridge offline needs with online access-based supply chains.
Startups like BigBasket is answering exactly this, as it is reengineering the supply chain to allow for faster delivery to resellers and to reduce the time from farm to customers.
With its new funding, the company is ready to contend with competitors on multiple fronts, from the micro-delivery ventures like dairy-focused Milkbasket to food delivery venture Swiggy.
It will also be looking to expand its operations and scaling up its supply chain capabilities, against bigger competitors like Amazon and Walmart which is expanding in India.
“We have a unique opportunity to build one of the largest grocery businesses in the country in the country and we expect the capital raised in this round to continue to enable us to do just that,” VS Sudhakar, co-founder of BigBasket said.
According to analytics firm Tracxn, India’s retail market is valued at more than US$900 billion and is increasingly attracting the attention of VC funds and more than 882 operational players since 2014.
2018 was an eventful year for the India startups ecosystem. India added eight unicorns in 2018 alone, as compared with the nine unicorns in a span of 6 years from 2011 to 2017.
It is most likely 2019 will follow suit, as we begin seeing the host of promising startups crossing the US$1 billion valuation mark. Besides Dream11 and BigMarket, some of the investors’ top pick according to Fortune India include:
However, most likely it’s not going to be a joyride for these startups. Because with the gigantic successes in India, internet ventures today may be pressed for profits more than earlier years.
New York, United States – CoinOyez, a leading press release distribution platform is currently offering its cost-effective online marketing services to help blockchain companies expand their visibility.
“The blockchain industry has been all the rage,“ said Kayla C., a spokesperson of CoinOyez. “But this means it is also noisy and crowded, and blockchain startups can easily fail when nobody has ever heard about them due to the company ignoring sales and marketing.”
That’s why it’s important for cryptocurrency startups to constantly adapt their publicity and marketing strategy in order to really stand out, get maximum reach and efficiency.
Understanding this, Coinoyez is created by a group of crypto experts to cater these needs. It provides a crypto press release distribution service whereby blockchain, cryptocurrency, and ICO companies can distribute their own news and company updates.
Submitting a crypto press release via CoinOyez will help them reach the right channels and global audience through placement on authoritative news organizations like Reuters, Yahoo News, ABC, CBS, New York Times, and 450+ sites.
“Many in the fast-moving cryptocurrency industry come from technical or academic backgrounds with little or no experience of running a business or doing online marketing. That’s why we aim to provide a solution to help build up blockchain startups via press releases.”
Not only does press releases build authority and trust, it can also boost search engine results and rankings for the startup which is very important, seeing how information on blockchain and cryptocurrency news are currently sought out.
With more than six years of experience in the media industry, CoinOyez has helped both new and existing companies in the blockchain industry to spread their remarkable innovation to the world. The company currently counts QashBack, ixAsia, and Bitsdaq as their customers.
CO is also looking to partner with Cryptocurrency Media and PR agencies to offer them wide-scale distribution options to increase their press release reach and search visibility.
For more information, please visit https://coinoyez.com.
Coinoyez is a press release distribution platform that helps Crypto PR agencies wire their releases to media endpoints for publication including Reuters, Yahoo News, ABC, NBC, CBS and more. The press release distribution site has sent more than 900 press releases, and it counts QashBack, ixAsia, and Bitsdaq as their customers.
Fintech is on the rise in Southeast Asia, find out how fintech startups are changing the regional financial landscape.
All eyes have been on Southeast Asia nations for fintech growth in 2019 as Southeast Asian nations have been reported among the hottest spots for fintech opportunities.
But before we continue, let’s clear up the definition of what is fintech.
Short for financial technology, fintech refers to the converge of technological innovation in the delivery of financial services, such as digital payments, investments, financing, insurance, advisory services, among some.
Note that these services are not new, and are often offered by large banks and other traditional financial players including insurance companies and brokerage firms.
What fintech startups are doing is revolutionizing the financing process in Southeast Asia by enhancing inefficient products and service channels, as well as opening up opportunities to once-excluded customers.
According to the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), the region has 266 million financially excluded people, inclusive of those that derive of access to bank accounts and other basic financial services like credit cards and insurance.
Businesses in Southeast Asia, on the other hand, counts up to 30 million SMEs underserved by the financial system, which collectively face a credit shortfall of US$175 billion.
Combining this gap in financial access with growing economic activities and internet access in the region, many founders and startups have turned to the digitization of these financial services.
A report by CB insights has also shown an optimistic outlook for companies in the space of fintech stating that fintech in Southeast Asia is reaching new records for deals and funding.
CB Insights notes that in 2018, funding to fintech startups across Southeast Asia grew 143% year over year, hitting a record of US$485 million across 68 deals.
Compared to 2017, the dual growth in deal count and funding comes as major investors such as China’s Ant Financial and Japan’s SoftBank have been making bigger deals in the area.
At the same time, over one thousand fintech startups have been built in the last few years, among which over 490 are found in Singapore.
This is unsurprising as Singapore sees strong support from the government in building the city-state as Southeast Asia’s fintech hotspot, leading particularly in the development of smart cities and hyper-connectivity.
It is home to some of the most well-funded fintech companies, including cryptocurrency trading startup Quoine (total funding: US$123 million) and M-Daq which provides Over The Top (OTT) forex applications. The startup secured a total of US$98.7 million in funding, including a massive USD$87 million series C round in 2015.
Indonesia, the largest economy in Southeast Asia is also generating fintech startups at a great pace. The country has a population that is very open to alternative payment methods and a total of 262 fintech companies. About 78 fintech companies are operating in the payment segment, while 20 and 30 companies are in the lending, savings, and investments segments each.
According to government statements, Vietnam plans to become a cashless society by 2020. The country aims to reduce the number of cash transactions to less than 10% of total payments in consumer-ends such as supermarkets, shopping malls and distributors.
The plan includes proposals to develop and increase new payment methods in rural and remote areas of the country to boost financial inclusion as to at least 70% of Vietnamese over the age of 15 owning a bank account by the end of 2020.
In the blockchain sphere, the Thailand market is becoming increasingly crypto friendly. The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) plans to apply for a digital license which will enable it to operate a cryptocurrency exchange.
Of course, fintech is not only about bank, insurers and new fintech startups – many online digital platforms can also add a financial dimension to them.
In Southeast Asia, ride-hailing startups like Grab and Go-Jek are looking to build the super app and has also expanded into digital payment platform through GrabPay and Go-Pay.
Peng Tsin Ong, a Managing Partner at Monk’s Hill Ventures said, “this is not only because every service ends with a transaction, but because it broadens the amount of information that can be collected by these companies.”
Venturing into fintech positions these companies to expand their understanding of customers and improve both their financial and non-financial products.
For example, Grab can not only track its user’s movements, schedules but also their financial habits, which opens doors for new products and services. Grab’s CEO Anthony Tan has spoke of Grab’s plans to use the information to create alternative credit ratings that could then be tied to banking products.
Meanwhile, with such a disruptive force into the financial industry in Southeast Asia, banks have also begun relying on open innovation to stay competitive.
Singapore’s largest bank DBS has spent US$3.7 billion on technology over the five years up to 2016, launching digibank, the first mobile-only bank with 82% of requests automated using artificial intelligence in India.
“Southeast Asian companies have raised some capital and are now putting efforts into scaling across the region. It’s time to bring products to market and produce numbers for the next fundraising round,” said Markus Gnirck, the co-founder of tryb Group.
Bolstered by increased funding, large foreign investors, and continuous innovation, fintech startups in Southeast Asia are still growing as they expand and extend this habit of expenditure among the people in Southeast Asia.
Is a cashless society in sight for Southeast Asia?
Or is a digital platform going to win in fintech?
For now, it’s still too early to say but one thing for sure is that the innovation in fintech is disrupting the lives of unbanked society for the better.
This week, Indonesian IT Minister Rudiantara has launched the NextICorn (short for Next Indonesian Unicorns Foundation) as part of an effort to boost the country’s growing digital ecosystem.
The foundation is intended to establish long-term cooperation between the government and key ecosystem stakeholders in Indonesia, which is expected to assist and accommodate the development of the country’s startup companies moving forward.
Besides connecting startups with venture capitalists, the NextICorn Foundation would also offer support related to business models and technology implementation.
“The NextICorn Foundation represents the government’s commitment to the sustainable development of a digital ecosystem,” Rudiantara explained.
He said the government had the obligation to facilitate the country’s startups to grow and achieve the much-coveted unicorn, or even the decacorn status
This news came after ride-hailing app Go-Jek became Indonesia’s first decacorn when its valuation hit US$10 billion, according to the CB Insights research institution.
Southeast Asia has produced a total of 10 unicorns to date, of which 4 are from Indonesia. These homegrown unicorns include Go-Jek, Traveloka, Tokopedia, and Bukalapak,
Of the four, Go-Jek is the lead unicorn and one of the most talked about startups in Southeast Asia, especially recently with its newly achieved decacorn status.
The four unicorns have also attracted many big-name investors into the country. Tokopedia has backing from Alibaba and Softbank Group, Traveloka’s investors include Expedia and JD.com, while Bukalapak investors include Singapore’s GREE Ventures.
In fact, Indonesia owes a huge part of the growth of its digital economy to these local startups.
Not only have they brought upon a positive impact on the national economy through the provision of employment, but the startups have also contributed largely in terms of economic growth.
The ride-hailing app, for example, has contributed US$3.13 billion to Indonesia in just 4 to 5 year according to Minister Rudiantra.
Indonesian startups are also innovating and creating new business models. For instance, ride-hailing firm Go-Jek is more than just an Uber clone. They have Go-Med (medicine delivery); Go-Play (akin to Netflix) and Go-Clean (housekeeping services), while Traveloka now earns more from shopping vouchers than it does from trip bookings.
Looking at these unicorns, they are all examples of how rapid development in digital technology has not only disrupted businesses but improving Indonesian lives
Go-Jek, the country’s first decacorn has changed everything from online transportation to food delivery. Go-Jek has now become the go-to app for people when they are hungry or looking to travel.
With such hype and optimism, Indonesia is very likely to see more unicorns in the next couple of years, but before that let’s look forward to one this year.
The communications minister has also told media reports last year that it is expecting 5 unicorns in 2019.
He also added that the most promising sectors are expected to be educational, healthcare, and fintech.
Really, with a supportive climate and Indonesia’s internet company growing at a healthy rate, it looks as if the country is moving towards high-scale startups or even more unicorns in the near future.
Indonesia now welcomes its first new deca-corn.
Homegrown ride-hailing platform Go-Jek’s valuation has exceeded the US$10 billion mark, at least according to research institution CB Insights, in its Global Unicorn Club report.
Go-Jek’s corporate affairs chief Nila Martia responded to the news, saying that “we are grateful that there is an independent institution that validates our success in boosting our company value, without us having to make an announcement.”
To clarify, a unicorn is a startup which valuation has reached or exceeded US$1 billion, while a deca-corn uses the Greek word ‘deca’ to represent ten.
For the ride-hailing unicorn, this post-money valuation of US$9 to US$10 billion comes with its latest Series F round in February from investors including Google, China’s JD.com, and Tencent.
While there were media reports stating that Go-Jek is still a few million shy of the mark, Go-Jek did indeed manage to get the recognition of international research institution CB Insights.
In its report The Global Unicorn Club, CB Insights listed Go-Jek in the 19th position among the listing which compared startups around the world, with a valuation of US$10 billion.
This ranking places it below its Singapore-based rival Grab at US$11 billion, while Uber is still in the top position with a total valuation of US$72 billion.
After Uber pulled out from the region last year, it has been left to Go-Jek and Grab battling for supremacy in the Southeast Asian market.
Since then, both companies have been active in raising fundings to rapidly expand in everything from mobile payments to food delivery across the region, looking to dominate with a so-called super app.
Go-Jek raised more than US$1 billion in continuous funding round from a clutch of internet giants including Google, JD.com Inc., and Tencent Holdings Ltd. The Indonesian startup has presented a challenge for Grab, marching into its home market of Singapore as well as Vietnam and Thailand.
The situation is similar for Grab, as it recently raised about US$1.5 billion from the SoftBank Vision Fund to expand its new services across the Southeast Asia region, having introduced Grab Kitchen that targets merchants as well.
Moving forward, it will likely develop into a battle of food orders and e-payments, as well as a snatch for dominance in the Southeast Asia territory.
For Go-Jek, this valuation reflects the confidence that the company will continue to grow.
“The success of Go-Jek’s on-demand service platform is seen from the stronger interest and trust of investors towards the mission, development as well as soaring economic and social impact of Go-Jek over time,” said Nila.
Moving forward, Go-Jek was not only focusing on becoming the main choice and furnishing the best services for users in the country, but also determined to make Indonesia the leading player in the Southeast Asia market.
An initial public offering remains a long-term aim for Go-Jek but it is not in our immediate future, and Nila adds that “our focus is on growing the business and serving our users and partners in the countries we operate in.”
Go-Jek has the highest market share among e-commerce service providers seen from the average active user application per week (weekly active users), based on the data from a global platform that analyzes the use of mobile applications worldwide.
“The number of Go-Jek weekly active users is 55 percent higher than similar applications in Indonesia, based on data from the same analysis platform,” said Marita.