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New Business Trends and the Future of Singaporean Startups

18 April 2022

New Business Trends and the Future of Singaporean Startups

Strategy Officer Meetup Series

In these webinars, we invite Regional Strategy Officers from Japanese companies based in Singapore to share their insights and experiences in growing businesses in ASEAN. We invited experts from Deloitte Tohmatsu Venture Support, one of the most active companies providing support to startups, and the host for the well-known pitching platform, "Morning Pitch".


Webinar: SPEEDA x Morning Pitch

For our 22nd round of the ASEAN Strategy Officers meetup webinar series, we invited Mr Ohira and Mr Asama from Deloitte Tohmatsu Venture Support to share their valuable insights on the new business trends that are under the spotlight and the future of startups in Singapore. Their live insights are delivered from their startup event, “Morning Pitch”, where startup founders present their business plans to investors and potential business partners.


Current trends in South East Asia

Funding for startups in the ASEAN 6 is increasing every year.

2018 saw a rebound in funding by large startups such as Grab and Lazada, with funding increasing every year, reaching a record level in 2021. This is partly due to the fact that the amount of investment per start-up company is increasing, and in particular, the increase in investment in Indonesian startups is becoming more noticeable.

Trends of the latest investment

・Increase in investment in Indonesian startups
・Emergence of large investments in the fintech and logistics business fields

Collaboration between Singapore Startups and Japanese Companies

The increasing investment trends in Southeast Asian startups also apply to Japanese companies.
There is a change in approach, from “closed innovation” to “open innovation”.

They changed from “closed innovation”, where Japanese companies focused on generating revenue from internal R&D and developed technologies and ideas in-house, to “open innovation“, where companies collaborate with external partners to incorporate a wide range of technologies and ideas from both inside and outside the company.

This change has led Japanese companies to strengthen their collaboration with external partners. As a result, more companies are investing in or forming joint ventures with startups in Southeast Asia, and this trend is continuing in the COVID-19 environment.

While investments by large banks and major telecommunication companies have always been conspicuous, there has also been an increase in the number of investments by Japanese companies that are accelerating their global business.

As you can see in the business case below, recent investments and collaborations illustrate the high affinity between startups with core technologies and Japanese companies.

In 2019, a Japanese manufacturer announced its lead investment in a fintech startup in Singapore, which develops and provides a mobile phone-based application that allows consumers to withdraw cash at the point of sale in retail stores.

There were two reasons behind this partnership and the decision to make a strategic investment as a lead investor.

      1. In anticipation of the future, when cash circulation will no longer be mainstream, the Japanese company will be able to use the Singapore fintech startup's technology to realize its business vision of "building a new management scheme for currency circulation".

      2. Singapore fintech startup's "entry into the Japanese market for the DX and cashless banking" matched the growth strategies of both parties.


Singapore's startup businesses attract Japanese companies

Other than fintech, smart cities, AI IoT and food tech have attracted a great deal of attention in the past startup pitch event, Morning Pitch. These business areas are said to provide opportunities for Japanese companies to collaborate. An increasing number of startups are offering technology to tackle and solve ESG/SDGs issues, and more attractive services will continue to emerge. Please utilize Morning Pitch and SPEEDA to gather information on future players and market trends that you are interested in.


Lastly, I would like to introduce some of Singapore’s startups that were introduced in the Morning Pitch and the seminar.

Unabiz: Smart Sensors for IoT

Partnering with a Japanese company to develop a smart meter that reduces the labor required for gas meter reading

Opsis: AI IoT Image Recognition Technology

Providing services such as online medical interviews and counselling using AI technology 

Nihon Tokushu Sougyou: Development of a service to visualize the mental state

UMITORON: Singapore-based Japanese Startup

Developed a smart feeding machine and data analysis system to reduce the cost of marine aquaculture and provide services for marine aquaculture businesses.


If you would like to learn more about the case studies and Morning Pitch, they are happy to connect and talk to you!

Mr Takahisa Ohira
Mr Gempei Asama

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