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Top 10 APAC startups

William Smith
|Mar 13|magazine10 min read

10. Spaceship Financial Services

Australia’s Spaceship is a financial services company simplifying the process of investment. Having raised a total $71.1mn, the company offers portfolio investment products known as Spaceship Super and Spaceship Voyager. Founded in 2016, the company has more than $250mn invested into its Spaceship Super fund.

9. Gojek

According to Indonesian ride-hailing firm Gojek, since its launch in 2015 its app has been downloaded by over 155mn users in Southeast Asia. Since its founding, it has expanded its remit into digital payments and the provision of many other amenities as part of a so-called ‘super app’. To these ends, the company partners with over 2mn drivers and 500,000 merchants in the region.

8. Soul Machines

Auckland, New Zealand-based startup Soul Machines offers “autonomously animated” digital characters with realistic faces and what the company describes as a “human-like communication style”. The so-called ‘Digital Heroes’ are said to have uses in customer care, influencing, sales and even healthcare and wellbeing.

7. Grab 

Originally a ride-hailing firm, Singapore’s Grab is rapidly introducing new services. Aside from its primary ride-hailing business, Grab, like its great rival Gojek, has expanded into digital payments as well as food and parcel delivery, to name just a few of the services on offer. Set up as a regional spin on Uber's business model in 2012, in 2018 Grab acquired its inspiration’s operations in Southeast Asia.

6. Judo Bank

Melbourne, Australia-based challenger bank Judo Bank was founded in 2016. The company has raised some $830mn with support from investors including Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse. It specialises in business banking for small and medium size Australian businesses. With 178 staff, it has loaned out $1bn to Australian businesses.

5. DiDi

Transportation company DiDi was founded by an alumnus of Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba, Cheng Wei. Originally backed by Tencent, in 2015 it merged with its biggest Alibaba backed rival, Kuaidi. Such was its dominance of the Chinese market that it bought out Uber’s Chinese business. Expanding beyond its original ride-hailing remit, the company has branched out into areas such as robotaxis, where it is planning to test its fleet of autonomous vehicles on the streets of Shanghai imminently.

4. Campaign Monitor

Currently used by 2mn marketers across 250,000 businesses, Campaign Monitor is an innovative email marketing solution that makes connecting with an audience easier than ever before. 

The startup has received broad praise for its workplace culture, the quality of its products and the utilisation of its technology.

3. Paytm

Financial services company Paytm operates across multiple sectors, incorporating bill payment, travel booking and mobile recharges. Catering to the Indian market, its payment system allows merchants to offer customers the simple payment option of scanning a QR code with their phones to pay, from sources such as bank accounts, pre-paid cards and digital credit. A recent development has seen the process streamlined, with the ability for payments up to a certain amount to be made without having to use a one time passcode sent via text.

2. Canva

A graphic design platform from Sydney, Australia, Canva allows users to develop a range of different visual content for digital platforms, including advertisements, social media banners, posters and more. 

Founded by Melanie Perkins, Cliff Obrecht and Cameron Adams, Canva has over 20mn users spread across 190 countries. At its latest valuation, the company was appraised at $3.2bn.

1. Bytedance

Anyone under a certain age will be familiar with ByteDance, albeit indirectly, thanks to its TikTok social media app. Born out of its Douyin product for the Chinese market, TikTok allows users to create short looping videos, with the format being ripe for producing viral hits. The app was combined with video lip-syncing app Musical.ly after an acquisition in 2017, and is in many ways a successor to the now defunct Twitter-owned Vine, which pioneered the format.

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