Southeast Asia’s Top 5 Largest Fintech Unicorn Exits

Southeast Asia’s Top 5 Largest Fintech Unicorn Exits

by April 21, 2022

Over the past decade, Southeast Asia’s startup ecosystem has significantly matured with an estimated US$52 billion of venture capital (VC) invested into startups and an increasing number of large late stage deals, according to a 2021 report by investment firm Golden Gate Ventures.

Despite a slight decline in the number of exits in 2019 and 2020, the next couple of years are expected to see a record number of exits in Southeast Asia, thanks to a combination of factors, including a maturing ecosystem and the emergence of special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs).

Estimated total exit events, Source: Southeast Asia Exit Landscape Report 2.0, Golden Gate Ventures

Estimated total exit events, Source: Southeast Asia Exit Landscape Report 2.0, Golden Gate Ventures

Already, 2021 and 2022 have seen several noteworthy developments, including the public listings of Southeast Asia’s tech giants Grab and GoTo, large mergers and acquisitions (M&A) deals and notable secondary sales.

Today, we look at the top five largest fintech exits in Southeast Asia recorded so far, delving into the region’s biggest initial public offerings (IPOs) and buyouts based on available data. These companies are ranked by their exit valuation.

Grab – US$40 billion

Grab 1

Grab is a technology company headquartered in Singapore and Indonesia. In addition to transportation, the company offers food delivery and digital financial services via a mobile app. Grab currently operates in Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, and is one of Southeast Asia’s biggest technology companies.

The company, which has been looking to tap into Southeast Asia’s digital banking opportunity, secured a digital full bank license in Singapore in a partnership with local telco Singtel in 2020. The joint venture also applied for a digital banking license in Malaysia in July, and recently invested in Bank Fama International, an Indonesian bank.

Grab began trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange on December 2nd after a record US$40 billion merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). The company raised more than US$4 billion in additional capital as part of the SPAC deal.

GoTo – US$28 billion

GoTo Group

GoTo was formed in May 2021 through the merger of ride-hailing and food delivery company Gojek and local e-commerce leader Tokopedia, the two most prominent unicorns in Indonesia. The firm comprises three business arms: Gojek, an on-demand multi-service platform and super app; GoTo Financial, which covers services such as GoPay, GoSure, GoInvestasti, GoPayLater, Midtrans and Moka; and Tokopedia, one of Indonesia’s most popular online shopping portals.

Headquartered in Jakarta, Indonesia, GoTo counts over 100 million monthly active users, more than 11 million merchants, and over 2 million drivers in an ecosystem that represents 2% of Indonesia’s US$1 trillion gross domestic product (GDP)

GoTo made its debut on the Indonesia Stock Exchange on April 11, 2022, raising an estimated US$1.1 billion from its initial public offering (IPO). The total amount raised, the third-largest IPO in Asia and fifth-largest globally this year, represented a market capitalization of US$28 billion. The funds will be used to drive the company’s expansion into high-growth markets such as Singapore and Vietnam, as well as drive customer engagement.

Sea – US$4.8 billion

Sea

Sea is a tech conglomerate headquartered in Singapore that functions as a holding company for Garena, a digital entertainment company and game developer, SeaMoney, an Internet services company specialized in digital payments and financial services, and Shopee, an e-commerce company.

SeaMoney provides digital financial services, including mobile wallet services, payment processing, credit offerings, and related digital financial services and products. These are available in seven markets across Southeast Asia and Taiwan under various brands, including ShopeePay, SPayLater, and other brands. The company serves 45.8 million users.

Sea was awarded a digital full bank license in Singapore in 2020, and last year, its e-commerce arm Shopee acquired Indonesian lender Bank Kesejahteraan Ekonomi with the aim of transforming it into a digital bank.

Sea started trading on the New York Stock Exchange on October 20, 2017 after raising US$884 million from its listing. Sea was valued US$4.8 billion at the time, according to CB Insights.

Ovo – US$2 billion

Ovo, officially PT Visionet Internasional, is a digital payment service based in Jakarta, Indonesia, and one of the largest e-wallets in the country for both online and offline transactions.

In addition to its core digital payment services, Ovo has also moved into other financial services. Ovo offers lending services through Taralite (PT Indonusa Nusa Sejahtera), a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending company that it acquired in 2019, as well as investment products under Ovo  Invest, and insurance products under Ovo Proteksi in collaboration with partners.

A 2021 report by Boku, a US mobile payments company, revealed that Ovo controlled 38.2% of the domestic market share for digital wallets in 2020 and had the biggest user base compared to its competitors, with more than 100 million users.

In October 2021, news broke that Grab had taken majority ownership of Bumi Cakrawala Perkasa, Ovo’s parent, increasing its stakes from 39% to 90%. Ovo was valued at about US$2 billion at the time.

Bitkub – US$1 billion

bitkub top funded thailand fintech

Bitkub is a Thailand-based cryptocurrency exchange, operated by Bitkub Online under its parent group Bitkub Capital Group Holdings. Bitkub was among the first exchanges to receive a digital asset license from the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission, in 2019. It claims to be the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the country, with a share of 90% of cryptocurrency transactions based on 2021 data from regulated exchanges.

In November 2021, Siam Commercial Bank Group announced that it would acquire a 51% stake in the company for US$537 million, valuing Bitkub at over US$1 billion and making it one of Thailand’s first unicorn startup companies.

Bitkub aims to increase its customer base to 7 million and expand its services abroad this year. In particular, it’s looking to penetrate neighboring markets such as Malaysia, the Philippines and Laos, and is currently studying the feasibility of expanding overseas to improve the company’s competitiveness and build a customer base abroad, according to a January 2022 report by Bangkok Post.