Number of start-ups going public in South-east Asia predicted to triple by end of decade

Some of the firms likely to list are Carousell, PropertyGuru and Traveloka. PHOTOS: TRAVELOKA/FACEBOOK, CHONG JUN LIANG, PROPERTYGURU/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - More start-ups in South-east Asia are expected to go public, with the annual number of initial public offerings (IPOs) in the region expected to cross 300 by 2030.

This would be almost three times the number of regional firms that went public in 2020.

Some of the firms likely to list are online marketplace Carousell, real estate platform PropertyGuru and travel booking site Traveloka, according to a report released on Thursday (July 15).

The report by venture capital (VC) firm Golden Gate Ventures also anticipates that funding for the entertainment and media sector will grow substantially over the decade.

Growing regional players in the industry include sports media entity One Championship and Gojek's streaming service GoPlay.

The sector recorded about US$100 million (S$135 million) in funding in 2020, but this is likely to rise as entertainment and media start-ups focused on Asian content are gaining a global following, the report noted.

It also identified Vietnam as the region's rising star, and said the country would emerge as the third-largest start-up ecosystem in South-east Asia in 2022, with more regional VC funds committing to early-stage investments in the country.

Golden Gate Ventures partner Michael Lints said that besides the sharp rise in public listings, there are likely to be more mergers as the regional start-up ecosystem enters a new phase of maturity in the coming decade.

"Founders will have to operate at a much higher level than before as the pace of growth in South-east Asia is going to be faster in the next decade than the last," he said.

"Start-ups will need to be much more polished and scale faster. VC firms will likewise need to offer much more than funding, experience and connections."

The report was released as the VC firm marked its 10th anniversary in the region.

It has launched four funds in this period, and its portfolio includes the likes of used car marketplace Carro, logistics firm Ninja Van and payments platform Stripe.

Founding partner Vinnie Lauria said: "Singapore has offered Golden Gate Ventures and our founders the perfect gateway to the region in the last decade and will be the perfect international launchpad for the next decade."

The report also outlined several trends seen in South-east Asia over the past few years.

Since 2015, a new generation of entrepreneurs has emerged, catalysed by mega rounds of fund-raising by fast-growing start-ups such as Grab and Gojek.

Former senior employees of high-growth companies have gone on to start their own enterprises, starting a new chain of entrepreneurship.

They include e-commerce aggregator Rainforest's chief executive and co-founder JJ Chai, who was at Carousell.

More corporate VCs have also emerged in the past decade, the report said.

There were around 60 corporate VCs in the region as at 2020, compared with just seven a decade ago. Such firms are increasingly leading funding rounds, especially at the seed and Series A stages.

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