Asymmetrical Operation: Early Stage

Finding niches.

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Asymmetrical Operation: Early Stage

This week, we look at a few services that have been scaled across Southeast Asia or found investors in Southeast Asia.

Healthtech firms have found firm footholds in Southeast Asia, each designing and providing services that assist healthcare providers, vendors, as well as patients. Singaporean startup Plano, which was founded in late 2017, has managed to secure an undisclosed amount of funding from billionaire investor and philanthropist Peter Lim’s Meriton Capital Limited. Departing from the typical spaces that healthtech firms operate in, Plano’s app is essentially a monitor for parents to track their children’s mobile usage to prevent short-sightedness. The company also offers other services that are related to ocular care. In all, Plano’s app is used by 100,000 families globally. Besides Singapore, it also operates in Malaysia, India, and Australia; it has plans to expand to ten more countries.

Over in Vietnam, South Korean food delivery provider Woowa Brothers launched its Vietnamese app on June 10. The localized service, called Baemin Vietnam, is actually a rebranded Vietnammm, which Woowa acquired in February. At home, Woowa has ten million monthly active users and handles around one million orders a day. Vietnammm was its first overseas acquisition, and Woowa has been conservative in its expansion beyond Korea. So far, Baemin Vietnam covers deliveries in Ho Chi Minh City.

Their environmental impact aside, there’s something about the convenience of food delivery services that strikes a chord with populations everywhere. Cambodia-based Meal Temple Group is looking to Myanmar by investing in Freshgora, staying ahead of the curve in emerging markets. Meal Temple also aims to convert its fleets in Cambodia and Laos to electric vehicles, and eventually set a standard for apps that provide zero-emission services. Yangon-based Freshgora moves food from restaurants and local markets to clients in under an hour and makes more than 100 deliveries a day in the city.

After a quiet Eid holiday in Indonesia, Singapore-based social e-commerce platform Rate rolled out RateS in the country. The idea is to tap into Indonesia’s relatively high rate of smartphone utilization for online retail, as well as the country’s sizable digital economy within the region. RateS will allow micro-entrepreneurs, specifically dropshippers, to list merchandise in ten product categories that are meant for housewives and homeowners, like maternal items, toys, children’s clothing, and Muslim couture. Already, RateS has 5,000 users on its waitlist, and the app will eventually expand its coverage beyond the major cities in Indonesia.

“Early Stage” is a series where the writers of KrASIA highlight startups that caught our eye for the week, whether they achieved an important milestone, rolled out an innovative product, or became embroiled in controversy.