Ecosystem Roundup: Startup funding in SEA continues decline in Q3; Digital banking heats up in Vietnam

All the latest major startup stories curated from Southeast Asia’s leading publications in a capsule format

Big Idea Ventures, Ashika Group announce first India alternative protein fund-cum-accelerator; It will back and support startups working on plant-based, fermentation-derived and cultivated meat, seafood, egg and dairy alternatives; Currently, BIV already operates a US$50M international fund and two accelerators across NY and Singapore. Green Queen

Thailand’s full service e-commerce logistics firm Flash Express raises US$200M Series D; Investors include PTT Oil and Retail Business Public Company (lead), Durbell, Krungsri Finnovate; Total funds raised so far is US$400M; The two-year-old startup has over 5K service branches, covering all 77 provinces of Thailand and delivering more than 1M parcels per day. e27

Startup funding in SEA continues decline in Q3 as pandemic rages on; According to a report, startups in the region raised ~US$1.8B in Q3, a drop of 34% q-o-q and close to 40% y-O-y; Singapore replaced Indonesia as the top destination as local startups amassed 58% of total funds raised. DealStreetAsia

Digital banking heats up in Vietnam amid COVID-19, booming e-commerce; In Q2 2020, overall visits to shopping apps reached 12.7B, growing 43% q-o-q and surpassing that of most other SEA countries, according to a report by VNExpress; In Q1 2020, e-payments rose 76% with the total value of transactions jumping 124% compared to Q1’19. Fintech News

‘Companies shut down not because of crises but only when founders give up’: Joseph Phua of M17; In this candid conversation with e27, Phua talks about his startup journey, challenges faced, lessons learned, M17’s failed IPO, and his future plans. e27

Online jewellery startup ZCOVA raises US$240K seed funding led by NEXEA; Based in Malaysia and Singapore, ZCOVA offers dual-certified diamonds at a near-wholesale price; The firm’s in-house jewellery consultants work on a zero-commission policy. Your Digital Wall

Asia’s food delivery potential is set to unlock post-COVID-19; The continent accounts for 55% of the food delivery market globally, with much more potential for growth; The penetration rate in 2020 is approximately 11.5% and is expected to exceed 15% by 2024; However, Asia markets’ diversity can prove to be the greatest challenge for sustainable growth. e27

How Gen Z’s travel behaviours are changing the way we all get around for the better; As early adopters of ride sharing and micro-mobility, their collective ‘buying power’ could’ve a positive impact on urban mobility; Mobility providers should not focus on car’s looks, speed and other form factors; instead they should focus on efficiency, sharing, sustainability and overall experience. The Next Web

Will QR payments mount a challenge in a world dominated by plastic?; A big appeal of QR payments is that it’s relatively low-cost to adopt for merchants compared to a traditional payment terminal, enabling small and even micro-entrepreneurs to accept digital payments. Fintech News

AngelList’s India CEO, former top exec launch SEA-focused micro-fund; iSeed SEA’s investors include Naval Ravikant, Kunal Bahl, Rohit Bansal, Jonathan Swanson; Key target markets are Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand; iSeed SEA has already invested in 2 startups and plans to invest in a total of 20-30 firms; Average cheque size is US$100K. e27

ASEAN faces wide AI gap as Vietnam and Philippines lag behind; If the region’s members pick up the pace in embracing AI, they could add nearly US$1T to the region’s GDP by 2030, says a study; While investment in AI solutions companies in the US came to US$155 per capita, the comparable figure for ASEAN was about US$2 between 2015 and 2019. Nikkei Asia Review

Singtel launches Singapore’s first 5G standalone trial network for enterprises; With its low latency and scalability, enterprises can not only drive efficiencies and make better and more cost-effective decisions but also deliver richer customer experiences; Ubitus is the first to use it for a 5G cloud gaming trial. ASEA Tech&Sec

From reactive to proactive: The shifting tides of HR; COVID-19 has caused massive disruption within the global economy and workforce; As such, organisations are scrambling to meet the demands of changing perceptions and expectations of a rapidly evolving global economy. HR Asia

Exploring the wearable health device market in SEA; As per a study, The market will register a 26.7% CAGR over the next five years; The study cites several propelling factors driving the growth, including the rate of technological advancement and innovation, as well as the increasing wealth of individuals in the region. Tech Collective Asia

SEA startups join global giants in race to tap China’s plant-based alternative meats market; There’s a big shift among China’s rising middle-class toward products that offer health and wellness; Singapore-based Green Planet is one firm that initially targets young families in their 20s and 30s in big cities in China. Yahoo Singapore

Smart tech that breaks down Singapore barriers for people with disabilities; An initiative by SG Enable, in partnership with Google, guides people with disabilities to set up a smart home ecosystem; Among them devices include smart doorbell and lighting system, which is paired with a mobile application. Malay Mail

Focus on skills, not experiences, in a changing world; A skills-based approach to work is needed to build a resilient, agile and innovative workforce of the future; Consider how a shopkeeper won’t be able to use his or her in-store sales experience when shopping malls closed during physical lockdowns, and instead had to pick up new e-commerce skills to adapt to the online retail business model. Yahoo Singapore

Vietnamese, Indian enterprises to build smart cities in Vietnam; The government defines smart cities as the basic driving force for socio-economic development across Vietnam, with more than 830 urban areas with an urbanisation rate of 38.6%. Vietnam News

Brunei startups invited to pitch at AIM Startups Competition; One startup from Brunei will be selected from the national pitch to join the Global Startups Champions League to vie for the the grand prize of US$50K; It is open to businesses with less than 50 employees, between two to seven-years-old, and with US$25K-US$1M annual revenue. Biz Brunei

5 hot tips for startups to create a strong brand from day one; Your brand is a story that translates everything about your organisation into a tangible and visible reality; When your business strategy changes, the brand also needs to be adapted; Permanently used names, logos, and basic colours will become positive assets for your brand. The Next Web

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