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Thailand’s Siam Commercial Bank held a fintech event last week on behalf of its digital arm, Digital Ventures. ‘Faster Future: SCB Fintech Forum‘ drew in speakers from across the globe, from Wei Hopeman, Managing Partner at Asia based Arbor Ventures to Jeffrey Paine, co-founder of Singapore based Golden Gate Ventures, an early-stage VC firm that focuses on Southeast Asia.

“Southeast Asia looks like China in 2006, like India in 2011,” said Paine. “In China and India, the competition is usually local, but in Southeast Asia, the competition comes from around the world.”

During his panel, Paine outlined eight key tech sectors that he believes we will see more of in Southeast Asia within the next 3-5 years.

1. The age of differentiated commerce, more B2B

  • It is the age of niche B2B ecommerce. Southeast Asia will see the growth of niche verticals in the B2B space, for example, the rise of the industrial sector in Singapore
  • The industry will see a surge in ecommerce enablers that help traditional companies go online
  • Ecommerce will shift slightly to differentiated commerce. This refers to a culmination of good content, strong networks and an efficiency in selling. Ecommerce has evolved to an all-round experience, not simply putting something up for sale online

 

2. The rise of a ‘one stop shop’ financial platform

  • The region can expect a rise in fintech transactions over the next 2-3 years
  • Integration of big data in credit scoring will be prominent, especially in Indonesia. Big data should be able to minimize the amount of work and extend sources needed to provide loans.
  • The ‘one stop shop’ financial platform will allow you to purchase loans, insurance and credit cards in one place. This will be a place where a few winners can come into dominate market share
  • The rise of pure mobile online banks. Vietnam is already starting to adapt following the launch of Timo Bank, the country’s first digital bank
  • Financial services for ecommerce. For example, consumer credit will matter when a shopper buys something on a marketplace. This will also be in tandem with the rise of vendor financing for marketplaces
  • On-demand insurance will also become a trend in the next 3 years i.e. Asia Insurance
  • Blockchain infrastructure will arrive in Southeast Asia

 

3. Automobile innovation to benefit B2B & B2C

  • Innovations will be in the areas of software that helps drivers find parking, rent cars, connect with automobile care

 

4. The rise of healthcare tech in Thailand and Singapore

  • The birth of centralized data hubs and analytics will be integrated with healthcare
  • Creation of software for hospitals, clinics and private practices to make their workflow more efficient. Ex. Patient records, paying bills etc.
  • The application of IoT software for hospitals and senior homes
  • The rise of telemedicine platforms online and doctor on-demand services. This would benefit rural provinces as it’s a challenge to find doctors on demand when you’re not in a big city

 

5. The strengthening of enterprise SaaS

  • AI/Machine learning based predictive analytics software for business users, especially in the area of automated customer service and sales management software
  • Will take time to develop and be applied, but it should be used by HR departments and accounting/finance divisions to automate certain processes such as number crunching and database filing

 

6. Long-haul logistics

  • Long haul trucking would be particularly useful for the popular trucking route between Malaysia-Thailand and vice versa
  • On-demand trucking platforms could add more convenience to consumers, allowing them to have parcels delivered at a more flexible schedule. This would be a challenge in Indonesia due to the different islands within the country
  • Route planning innovation will also become a trend in logistics. This would help to tackle various roadblocks such as unidentified locations, problems with delivery addresses and more.

 

7. Increasing popularity of agritech

  • Agritech has been slow to rise, but should become a key trend within the next few years as agriculture is prominent in Southeast Asia
  • The development of financial services for farmers will pick up. Thailand and Indonesia have begun to develop government centric databases and e-procurement platforms, but neither has fully taken off
  • The creation of market linkage models, ex. farm to table platforms

 

Looking ahead

Southeast Asia is waking up, especially as each country’s government is pushing tech initiatives and creating guidelines such as sandboxes for fintech and exploring taxing for ecommerce.

According to Jeffrey Paine,

As soon as the government starts to push, large corporations will begin to take notice.

This trend is apparent in Thailand, with many institutional banks such as SCB itself, or Kasikorn bank venturing into digital finance services.

Real estate companies such as Sansiri are teaming up with SCB to explore property tech, focusing on research, development and startups, aligning with the Thai government’s 4.0 initiative that aims to move the country towards a more digitized framework.

Jeffrey Paine notes that for domestic startups, going regional is not impossible. China will play a significant role in the region’s development, and Southeast Asia needs two main vices; capital and time, in order to accelerate the region’s technology growth.

For more on SCB x Digital Ventures Fintech Forum and to watch the panel, click here.

Indonesian health information portal Alodokter today announced that it has received $2.5 million in funding from Golden Gate Ventures, reports Tech In Asia.

The portal brings easy-to-understand and accurate health information to Indonesian web users, with the goal to help people take more informed health decisions.

The app monetizes through advertising, and will be using the newly acquired funds for regional expansion in Southeast Asia.

“Demand for health information was high but there was no reference source of health information available,” says Nathanael Faibis, Founder of Alodokter in an interview with Tech In Asia, 2015.

Alodokter was first launched in July 2014. By January 2015, it had 375,000 monthly unique visitors.

Alodokter offers articles on health, wellness, and family topics. The startup claims it’s now the leading health information website in Indonesia with 8 million unique monthly visitors.

The app gets more page views than competitors in the growing landscape, such as Dokter.id, MeetDoctor and Halodoc, according to Similar web.

Alodokter also lets readers submit questions and chat with doctors for free. Over 100,000 patient questions have been answered to date.

How does Alodokter work?

The app doesn’t give diagnosis or prescriptions, but it focuses on giving quick answers about basic health questions and what to do next in terms of treatment.

The app has also launched an android app in March this year which gives customers a chat function, so they can talk to doctors and get instant responses.

Currently, the main source of revenue are ads related to medical topics. Advertisers are brands such as insurance firms, hospitals and nutrition companies.

A version of this appeared in Tech In Asia on August 5. Read the full version here.

Credit card management app in Thailand

Piggipo app manages all your spending in one place. Source: theallapps.com

Piggipo, a two-year-old Thai company selling credit card management applications, has set a goal of raising series-A funding by the end of 2016 before actively exploring Southeast Asia in 2017. The app allows you to place a ‘limit spending’ on all of your credit cards, keeps track on what you’re spending, whilst also managing your bills and interests in one place. The app is a winner of Dtac Accelerate Batch 2 online application competition and received financial funding from Dtac, Golden Gate Venture and 500 Tuk Tuks.

Credit card management app in Thailand

The app is ideal for younger people who find it hard to handle finances. Source: insiderretail.asia

Piggipo allows people to better manage credit cards by allowing them to jot down their credit card spending details in an app. The premium feature costs $1.99 (THB 70).

The app supports three credit card issuers, SCB, KBank and Citibank. By the end of this year, the company plans to have two more banks and 500,000 downloads, up from about 170,000 downloads now.

With the target of raising over $1.5 million at the end of 2016, Piggipo’s next aim is penetrating other Southeast Asian markets prioritizing Malaysia and Singapore due to the countries’ high credit card penetration. Piggipo has already struck a partnership with Maybank to launch “Credit Mavin” app in Malaysia under the same concept as Piggipo but with an international market model.

Piggipo will be able to leverage Malaysia’s high credit card spending, two times bigger than Thailand, despite having half the population. In Thailand, there is also an increasing use of digital money and electronic payments, creating a large enough platform to facilitate the app.

A version of this appeared in The Nation on June 29. Read the full article here.

Southeast Asia Startup Funding

Golden Gate Ventures has raised a $60 million fund from investors including Temasek Holdings Pte and Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin as it seeks to sustain its pace of investment in Southeast Asia’s startups.

Golden Gate Ventures is one of the earliest VC firms to target the region. Its $10 million debut fund fueled investments in 30 startups across seven countries, including flea market app Carousell and online grocer Redmart.

“We were one of the earliest funds and we rode the wave that took over the region,” said Lauria, Golden Gate’s managing partner. The second fund was oversubscribed by $10 million, according to the company. “The ecosystem is now significantly bigger and there are a lot more deals. We want to double down on the opportunity.”

Southeast Asia, home to some of the world’s fastest growing economies, is approaching a tipping point, according to a recent report by Google Inc. and Temasek.

The region’s internet economy is predicted to grow six-fold to US$ 200 billion in the next decade and has attracted US$ 1.7 billion in investment capital this year alone. With this new development, Southeast Asia’s startups remain one of the hottest sectors to both regional and global venture capital funds.

A version of this appeared in Bloomberg on June 14. To read the full article, click here.