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The Largest Deals in Southeast Asian Tech: Grab and GO-JEK Take Top Spots

A snapshot of tech investment highlights in the region

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BY Tanya Mariano - 31 May 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

In Southeast Asia, where mobile penetration rate is high and there are countries—like the Philippines, where more people have a Facebook account than a bank account—it’s unsurprising that the bulk of investor dollars go into start-ups involved in mobile and the Internet.

In fact, according to the recently released Asia Tech Investment Report by CB Insights, in the first quarter of 2017, deals in the mobile sector made up 29% and those in the Internet sector made up 71% of all venture capital-backed tech investments in the region.

In addition, the companies who received the most funding between 2016 and 2017 are those occupying these spaces. The start-up that got the most funding during this time period was ride-hailing app Grab, which bagged $750 million, followed by Indonesian transport start-up GO-JEK, which received $550 million. Singapore-based Sea Group, formerly known as Garena, rounds out the top three with $170 million.

The other companies on CB Insights’ list of top deals in the region include Indonesian e-commerce platform Tokopedia and peer-to-peer lending platform Amartha; iFlix from Malaysia; and Singapore’s C2C e-commerce platform Carousell, dating app Paktor, and e-commerce logistics company Ninja Van.

Fintech start-ups received less, with funding to VC-backed companies falling by 52% from last year’s figures.

Investments on track to grow in 2017

Asia’s tech scene has been abuzz with investment activity for the past five years, and it looks like we can expect more.

Venture capital-backed technology start-ups in Asia have raised a total of $106.2 billion across 5,019 deals since 2012. In 2017 year-to-date, there have been 458 deals that are worth a total of $19.3 billion.

The number of deals will likely exceed 2016 figures by 14%, and funding is on track to grow by 132%, according to the report.

And while China and India still get the lion’s share of activity -- with an average of 98 and 96 VC-backed tech deals per quarter since the first quarter of last year -- Southeast Asia isn’t exactly slacking off, averaging 47 deals per quarter in the same time period.

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