Daily Markup #328: What’s 500 Southeast Asia’s new focus in the region?; Vishal Harnal on spotting the next big thing; Eyes on four 500-backed Malaysian startups in healthtech & proptech

Credit: 500 Southeast Asia

A renewed focus

  • 500 Durians has been rebranded to 500 Southeast Asia. The firm was launched seven years ago with the name Durians because its funds had a “distinctly local flavor,” said Vishal Harnal, managing partner at 500 Southeast Asia.
  • He added that it now had multiple companies in its portfolio valued at more than US$1 billion each that have announced plans to go public in 2021 and 2022. Some of the top names are Grab, Bukalapak, Carsome, Prenetics, and FinAccel.
  • One of 500 Southeast Asia’s focuses is on “next generation” firms – 15 companies reportedly worth over US$100 million each.
  • The firm will also continue to focus on seed-stage investing, offering up to US$500,000 to founders. It is also now open to provide follow-up funding up to US$5 million and to potential investments via special purpose vehicles (SPV), such as its US$21.2 million funding for Carousell.
  • Read the full article on Tech in Asia here.

Credit: 500 Southeast Asia

The next big thing

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  • Back in 2014, investing in Southeast Asia was an acquired taste, said 500 Southeast Asia managing partner Vishal Harnal to Rest of World. “It was for a few rare connoisseurs… Many people thought [we meant] India.”
  • To 500 Startups, Southeast Asia was on the same track as other emerging markets such as China. The firm targeted entrepreneurs solving “hyper-local problems” based on successful business models from other parts of the world.
  • Vishal shared that entrepreneurs are no longer necessarily looking to Silicon Valley for inspiration in larger markets like Indonesia and Vietnam. “The way people live in the U.S. is so completely different in many, many ways from how you’re living in emerging markets, so it may not be the best source of inspiration,” he said.
  • The next big themes guiding 500 Southeast Asia’s investments are sustainable cities, rural digitization, all-commerce, human and machine productivity, and healthcare with a focus on self-care. Get more details on the investment themes here.
  • Read the full interview with Vishal here.

Credit: CK Yeo on Unsplash

Tech for success

  • All eyes are on Malaysia. Tech Collective, billed as “the definitive guide to technology in Southeast Asia”, the website looked at five standout healthtech startups and five promising proptech startups in the country. Four 500-backed startups were featured on the lists.
  • In healthcare, Naluri is in the spotlight for its digital approach to addressing chronic physical and mental conditions. Employing both healthcare professionals and AI technology, it offers users personalized content. Naluri recently secured US$5 million in funding.
  • Women-led health and wellness portal PurelyB promotes holistic living by combining innovation with Malaysia’s rich history with herbal medicine and wellness techniques. Its online community offers both free and customizable programs for users.
  • While the real estate market struggled in the pandemic, property rental platform SPEEDHOME managed to raise US$1.6 million in a Series A funding round. Back in 2019, it raised close to US$800,000 through equity crowdfunding, making it the largest crowdfunded company in Malaysia that year according to the article.
  • MHub, a suite of ten apps serving the entire real estate sector, provides quality connections between the different players in the industry. By digitizing the purchasing process, it estimates it can shorten the process from nine months to one.



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