While Southeast Asia remains to be a lucrative place to mount and scale one’s startup dreams, several challenges are still faced by startup founders who are currently in their growth stages. The region, which enjoys being one of the best places to build a startup right now — boasting 26,000 startups, 3,000 investors, 13,000 events, and 8,000 jobs in 2018 alone as listed in e27’s media platform — isn’t exactly immune from these challenges.
Three overarching problems being dealt with by young startups in the region, particularly in the process of fundraising, are in the areas of access, credibility, and efficiency.
Most founders lack access to active and relevant investors outside their small, personal network. As a consequence, founders are forced to deal with limited funding opportunities from a very limited pool of possible funders, ultimately crippling them from the ability to truly scale.
Startups in the region also find it difficult to establish credibility when seeking fundraising outlets because, for many new founders, there isn’t much track record to back up one’s promising startup vision. In effect, the lack of credibility with those possible investors prolongs the entire fundraising process, from outreach to courtship to due diligence being established from both ends.
Lastly, these founders deal with efficiency problems as a result of using multiple service providers across fragmented processes, with each one trying to get a share of the fees. The lack of visibility and analytics over investor activity and the entire fundraising process also poses problems that render any active attempt towards startup growth completely inefficient.
How three startups are dealing with these challenges
Global Fintech Co., Ltd is a fintech startup whose main focus is on providing a digital lending platform, bill processing, and payment gateway services. Their main product, WALOAN, is a digital lending platform where users can apply for loans using a mobile app directly linking them to financial institutions. Afterward, the financial institution will carry out the whole loan process paperless. Their reliable and secure platform service is the first of its kind in Myanmar.
Their other products, Bill Processing and Payment Gateway Service, offer a billing processing engine used in municipal government organizations. Conversely, the Payment Gateway Service bridges the collection of bills, loan repayments and banks, and its digital wallets.
In an attempt to maneuver their way through the respective challenges that startups in the region face, Global Fintech connected with the e27 Fundraise Programme. Through the fundraise programme’s features, Global Fintech is given access to e27’s network of investors, build rapport with the investor community through sustained engagement, and manage the entire fundraising process in a single online platform—effectively curbing the usual obstacles that hamper startup growth.
They are not alone in this. On the other side of the spectrum, Bookgini, a digital publishing platform that makes the publishing of books easy, convenient, and free wherever you are in the world, has joined Global Fintech in connecting with the e27 Fundraise Programme for the exact same perks.
Bookgini’s platform gives authors the ability to create, publish, sell, or even share their works to whoever they like, wherever they want. The exclusive feature of Bookgini helps both novice and published authors adjust more quickly to the evolution of the publishing industry. By creating a free space, this platform brings customers and readers in, instead of going after them.
“The company aims to liberate independent authors from the high cost and long wait time of publishing their book. It also saves authors the hassle of all the technicalities of DIY digital publishing,” said Aaron Dancel, one of Bookgini’s co-founders, as the platform promises a “three-step publish” process and an instant sharing feature where authors can share their books instantly and for free to their audience.
Given the importance of initiatives like the one being prompted by Bookgini’s brand of literary democracy and innovation, it is important for the company to gain access to potential investors that can contribute wholly to the startup’s growth, enabling them to help more people.
Joining them is delivery liaison company, Piggyback.
Piggyback is a P2P delivery on-demand platform and a community marketplace. The company implores digital transformation as end product from the traditional delivery service it used to be that operated with only one truck and one handphone helmed by the founder’s father.
Currently, it works as a traditional delivery company that liaisons with clients to pick and deliver through WhatsApp and manual sorting. Other than helping SMEs curb delivery demands, they work with non-profits as a form of crowdsourcing effort that seeks to check on elderly residents staying at rental flats.
The development of their own app is currently in progress and will incorporate in-app messaging and e-wallet service.
These three startups are great examples of the hunger and passion that young startups in the region have not only to grow and scale, but also to provide a tangible and meaningful impact on many lives. It also tells us how such tenacity must be nurtured by the tech community and the very innovation it purports, as a means for these budding visionaries to fully flourish.
e27 Fundraise Programme and its three-pronged approach
There are several solutions out there coming from different facets of society that all do their part in minimising these regional obstacles. What makes the e27 Fundraise Programme particularly unique, however, is its three-pronged approach to solving common problems.
In order to democratise fundraising for startup founders, the e27 Fundraise Programme has come up with three umbrella solutions that accommodate the three pressing challenges in the region’s tech ecosystem. These three umbrella solutions are: increased visibility, sustained engagement, and digitalisation.
Through the programme, startups are empowered to let investors know that they exist. While most young startups find difficulty in carving a name for themselves, the programme—because of e27’s massive network of investors—effectively puts young startups within their radars making fundraising well within the realms of possibility.
The second prong is focused on establishing sustained engagement between startup founders and investors, thereby helping startups build rapport with the investor community. This is achieved by giving startups the platform to show investors their startup growth and progress over time.
Lastly, in a community whose lifeblood is digital innovation, the e27 Fundraise Programme makes use of digitalisation as a way to help startups manage the processes of their fundraising pursuits from end to end, and within a single online platform that they can keep track of over the course of their negotiations.
With this three-pronged approach, startups who sign up for the programme can guarantee better funding opportunities to come their way.
The e27 Fundraise Programme is in partnership with Wholesale Investor, Australasia’s leading venture capital and capital raising platform for sophisticated and accredited investors. For more information on the programme, you may enquire here.