Top South-East Asian Fintech Unicorn Companies in 2022
Despite having a large population that is still underbanked, Southeast Asia has seen a rise in the emergence of fintechs (financial technology) startups, accredited considerably towards its rapid smartphone adoption and ecommerce growth. Singapore and Indonesia have also landed its spot as two of the leading countries to develop fintech unicorns, with digital ecosystems worth US$60 billion and US$35 billion respectively.
What Constitutes as a 'Fintech Unicorn'?
A fintech unicorn is a privately held startup that is valued at over $1 billion. It is a commonly used term in the venture capital industry since its popularization in 2013 by Ailen Lee. This venture capitalist chose this mythical creature to symbolize the statistical rarity of such successful ventures.
According to DealStreetAsia - DATA VANTAGE’s S.E Asia Deal Review: Q4 2021 report, fintech unicorns in the region have raised US$5.83 billion out of the US$25.7 billion raised in equity and debt funding. To understand what these numbers has affected improvements within the fintech space, take a look at the list below:
Top 7 Fintech Unicorn Companies
GoTo was born from the merger of two of Indonesia's biggest fintech startups, Gojek (ride-hailing, food delivery and digital payment) and Tokopedia (e-commerce powerhouse). They have also gone public earlier in April 2022, where the group's initial public offering (IPO) raised more than US$1.1 billion. According to GoTo's official press release, their firm's IPO was the third largest in Asia and has attracted approximately 300,000 investors in total.
Since then, GoTo is still firmly holding its position as one of the leaders within Indonesia's digital economy. Its digital ecosystem contributes to around 2% of the nation's GDP, all thanks to its 15 million business partners, 2.6 million driver partners and 67 million annual users.
With operations in more than 400 cities and town across S.E. Asia, Grab is a global fintech company that has secured its spot as the biggest technology startup and first decacorn in the region. It is currently one of the leading super apps for ride-hailing, food services, and many more.
Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic started, the company reported that orders made through its food delivery platform GrabFood has increased by 1.5x compared to 2019, while the amount spent per order has increased by 54% from 2019-2022. According to Crunchbase, it has also successfully raised a total of US$15.5B over 34 funding rounds since going public in December 2021.
Bitkub is a cryptocurrency exchange based in Thailand started in 2018 by Bitkub Online, a subsidiary of Bitkub Capital Group Holdings. It was one of the first four crypto exchanges to be granted license for digital assets by the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission.
According to their 2021 data from regulated exchanges, this fintech also claims to account for 90% of all crypto transactions within the country. Its rapid growth started when Bitkub rushed to enter trading in cryptocurrencies after the price of Bitcoin surged in late 2020.
4. Ascend Money
Ascend Money is one of Southeast Asia's leading fintech companies, providing various financial services across six countries within the region since 2013. In September 2021, they became Thailand's first and top fintech unicorn after closing a US$150 million round, elevating them to become a startup with a valuation of US$1.5 billion.
This leading company in the financial services industry also boasts having 26 million active users during the first quarter of 2022. It aims to accelerate growth beyond its digital payment platform TrueMoney, with plans to tap into the savings, lending and investments realms. Its next goal is to become a finance super app, as well as attaining profitability within this year.
Originally founded in Singapore, Nium entered the unicorn club in 2021 after it successfully raised around US$200 million in a Series D funding led by US-based tech investor Riverwood Capital. Its core business revolves around cross-border payments and ecommerce, providing payment solutions to more than 190+ countries.
According to its CEO, Prajit Nanu, Nium now plans to reach even broader goals than just building a cross-border platform. Based on Nanu's interview with Forbes, he said that the company's next vision is to power frictionless commerce, aiming to simplify commerce across the globe so business owners will "...never get worried or exhausted thinking about it. You should really focus on the business."
In 2021, Mynt also entered the unicorn club as the Philippine's first fintech unicorn after receiving a fresh funding of US$300 million. This mobile payment and credit service provider was created from the partnership between Globe Telecom, one of the country's major telecommunications provider, and two other big name companies: the Ayala Corporation and Ant Financial.
This leading financial startup is most well-known for their GCash app, providing various financial services including digital lending, payments, investments, and many more. They reportedly claimed to have 60+ million registered users and five million merchants across the country. For their next step, CEO Ernest Cu told Bloomberg that they're still building the business and diversifying their revenue. "When we are done and ready we’ll be doing the IPO.” Cu added.
One of Vietnam's leading fintech unicorn is VNPAY (Vietnam Payment Solution), a digital payments app owned by fintech giant VNLife. It earned its unicorn status after a US$300 million investment by GIC and Softbank back in 2019. This was an incredible record for investments towards a Vietnamese company at the time.
According to Techinasia, VNPAY is currently present in over 200,000 locations nationwide, enabling payments through its point-of-sale and payment gateways. They're currently integrated with more than 33 mobile banking applications, VNPay wallet and eight other e-wallets. Earlier in 2022, this fintech has landed a successful deal with Visa, aiming to make cashless payment more accessible in Vietnam and increase the availability of new services like Visa's tap-to-phone acceptance and many more.
Make Your Next Step in Southeast Asia
If you're interested in dabbling within the fintech sector in S.E. Asia, then there's no better time than now-- especially if you are currently or planning to start your own company. The industry is still growing and there's many opportunities to be made, especially with its flourishing digital economy that's expected to reach US$1 trillion in Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) by 2030.
Open Finance platforms can also help your company to launch new financial services. Ayoconnect, the largest #OpenFinance platform in the region, can help provide you with the best fintech solutions for your needs! We have services from open banking to payment service APIs, so discover more here.