They might be mythical beasts that exist only in fairytales, but for those in the startup and venture capital scene, unicorns are something very real.
Unicorns exist and are the much-coveted status for startups and investors, as a symbol of having reached or surpassed the US$1 billion valuation mark.
In fact, based on CB Insights, there are currently over 300 unicorns around the world, roughly half of which are based in the United States.
Then again, the spotlight is gradually moving into Asia, with many placing their bets in the region of Southeast Asia for its huge potential and market.
In fact, there are already several unicorns that have succeeded. Here’s a full list of unicorns in Southeast Asia and the industries they are tackling.
Backers: Tencent Holdings, Cathay Financial Holding, GDP Venture
The first-ever ASEAN startup to IPO in the United States, ecommerce and gaming tech giant SEA has successfully raised US$884 million with its listing on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in 2017. The internet company officially entered the unicorn club in 2016 through its US$550 million fundraisings that involved Cathay Financial Holding, placing its valuation at US$3.75 billion. At the time of its IPO, SEA was valued at US$4.9 billion.
Backers: Horizons Ventures, Accel, IDG Capital
Founded in Singapore and relocated to San Francisco, Razer is a popular name among gamers in Southeast Asia. It is the first company to create computer gear for gamers and has conquered 30 percent of the video game mouse and keyboard business on a global scale since 2015. The company went IPO in Hong Kong in 2017 with a valuation of US$4.4 billion.
Backers: Broad Peak Investment, Investec, Warburg Pincus, Boyu Capital
A newly minted unicorn, Singapore startup Trax is in midst of finalizing a deal to raise US$100 million at a pre-money valuation of about US$1.1 billion. The startup serves the retail industry with its image recognition technology being used by global consumer packaged goods companies including Coca-Cola and Nestle to track their products on retail shelves.
Backers: Microsoft, Hyundai Motor Company, Beacon Venture Capital
Founded in 2012, Grab is an all-in-one transportation service providing a platform that is present in nearly every ASEAN country, covering over 500 cities and towns across eight countries.
Having recently raised US$300 million from Invesco as part of its ongoing Series H funding led by Toyota, Grab recent investments values the company at about US$14 billion, according to a report by CNN.
The startup’s founder, Malaysian-Chinese Anthony Tan who is also Go-Jek’s founder Havard MBA classmate, is going head-to-head with Go-Jek by spending about US$700 million to expand its market share in Indonesia by 2020.
Backers: Tesco, Temasek Holdings, JPMorgan Chase, Rocket Internet
Since its inception in 2012, Lazada has been a major player of online shopping and selling in Southeast Asia. The ecommerce company serves in six countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. In June 2018, Alibaba Group announced that it will invest almost another US$1 billion in the online retailer, bringing its valuation up to US$3.15 billion.
Backers: Google, Tencent Holdings, Temasek Holdings
Starting out as a motorcycle ride-hailing app in 2015, Go-Jek is one of the most reported startups in Southeast Asia with its aggressive acquisition activity to build its super app and becoming a full-on demand service platform.
The platform currently offers services including logistics, ticket booking, cleaning service, digital payments, and even barber services. Go-Jek currently operates across 50 cities in Indonesia while also in the process of expanding to other nations in Southeast Asia.
Backers: East Ventures, Sequoia Capital, JD.com
Founded by Ferry Unardi, Traveloka is Southeast Asia’s biggest go-to platform for various traveling needs.
It offers an online platform that allows users to make bookings of services provided by hotels, airlines, train and other transportation operators, events promoters, tourist attraction operators, travel agencies, telecommunication operators, and/or other service providers.
Traveloka was officially a unicorn in 2017 after DealStreetAsia reported a deal that values the startup at around US$2 billion, according to an executive familiar with the company.
Backers: Alibaba Group, East Ventures, SoftBank Ventures Asia
Launched in Jarkata in 2009, Tokopedia is Indonesia’s largest online marketplace. The platform became the country’s most valuable startup after raising US$1 billion from existing investors including Softbank and receiving a valuation of US$7 billion.
Backers: Ant Finacial, 500 Startups, Emtek Group, Mirae Asset-Naver Asia Growth Fund
Founded by Achmad Zacky, Muhammad Fajrin Rasyid, and Nugroho Herushyono in 2010, Bukalapak is the fourth startup in Indonesia to have received its unicorn status after Go-Jek, Traveloka, and Tokopedia. The ecommerce business is an online marketplace that is currently home to more than 50 million users, processing 2 million transactions a day.
Founded by design and real estate developer Robbie Antonio, Revolution Precrafted is a collection of limited edition, pre-crafted properties, varying from homes to pavilions.
The company sells prefabricated homes created and designed by dozens of internationally known architects and designers including Zaha Hadid, David Salle, Tom Dixon, Marcel Wanders, and Lenny Kravitz.
The startup is reported to have passed the US$1 billion valuations in November 2017 and became the first unicorn from the Philippines.
Backers: CyberAgent Capital, Tencent Holdings, IDG Ventures Vietnam
Founded in 2004, VNG is Vietnam’s first ever unicorn startup which specializes in online gaming and ecommerce for the local market. In 2016, the startup reached a US$1 billion valuation after an undisclosed funding round led by CyberAgent Ventures and IDG Ventures.
These are the Southeast Asian unicorns! Which of these unicorns do you think will be the next to IPO? Leave a comment down below.