Unicorns on the rise in opportunity-rich S-E Asia

Grab's office in Manila. The ride-hailing firm, the most valuable South-east Asian unicorn at US$14.3 billion (S$19.7 billion), has grown exponentially since moving its HQ to Singapore in 2014. It has expanded by targeting multiple markets at the sam
Grab's office in Manila. The ride-hailing firm, the most valuable South-east Asian unicorn at US$14.3 billion (S$19.7 billion), has grown exponentially since moving its HQ to Singapore in 2014. It has expanded by targeting multiple markets at the same time, with localised services from its strategic base here.ST PHOTO: CRISTINA MENINA

The growing affluence of a large young population is driving much of the growth in the region. Throw in digital disruption, and what you get is the rise of the unicorns - private start-ups with valuations of at least US$1 billion (S$1.4 billion). South-east Asia has spawned 11 unicorns in the past year. The Straits Times takes a closer look at what is driving this phenomenon.

Singapore-based Trax became the 11th unicorn in South-east Asia last month after it raised US$100 million (S$140 million) from investors led by Hopu Investments, putting its valuation at US$1.3 billion.

The firm, founded here in 2010 by two Israeli-born entrepreneurs, uses technology to monitor products on supermarket shelves.

Please or to continue reading the full article. Learn more about ST PREMIUM.

Enjoy unlimited access to ST's best work

  • Exclusive stories and features on multiple devices
  • In-depth analyses and opinion pieces
  • ePaper and award-winning multimedia content
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 05, 2019, with the headline 'Unicorns on the rise in opportunity-rich S-E Asia'. Print Edition | Subscribe