Unicorn startups are predicted to mushroom in Asean countries for the next 10 years, dominated by the fintech sector and from the business to business (B2B) realm. An academic from the Faculty of Computer Science, University of Indonesia (Fasilkom UI), Panca Hadi Putra, said the fintech sector is still showing good growth, not only in the consumer realm but also in the enterprise. He saw this from the tendency of investors to fund several startups in the Asean region. “In Asean there are already 40 unicorns, this month the only new one to become unicorns is an Indonesian wealhtech company, namely Ajaib. There is also a B2B startup Zilingo which is rumored to receive funding with a valuation of US$ 1 billion. There are also some promising ones from Indonesia, such as the B2B e-commerce platform GudangAda, which recently received large funding,” said Panca, on Monday (25/10/2021).
Panca also said that the trend of the appearance of unicorns will repeat itself this decade. This is not only due to market factors that are getting more mature, but also the availability of funding.
According to him, many investors from outside the region have started to enter Asean, for example Jeff Bezos, who recently invested in an Indonesian e-commerce company, Ula. The pandemic conditions actually spurred several sectors to grow. In the enterprise realm, companies are forced to transform digitally, so apart from B2B e-commerce, many B2B Software-as-Service (SaaS) startups have sprung up for various company needs, from accounting, HR management, to marketing.
Seeing these conditions, Panca is optimistic that in the next 10 years Indonesia will continue to benefit and dominate the startup business coupled with the support of a large market. However, Singapore is still an ideal place to start a startup, even though other countries in Asean have also started to catch up.
He believes that in Asean there is currently a trend of family money from conglomerates, not only in Indonesia, including in Thailand and the Philippines which have begun to flood the startup business scene and will target new unicorn candidates. Panca said that being a unicorn is in line with the strategy of venture-funded startups that have the urgency to develop quickly. This effort was made in order to dominate a wider and faster market share than competitors with the help of large funding. He added that by getting unicorn status, startups will be more eye-catching as acquisition targets by large companies that are looking for businesses with mature technology. According to him, the acquisition could be an alternative to listing shares on the capital market through an initial public offering (IPO).
*This article first appeared on Bisnis.com (26 October 2021)
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