Bright, new horizons: Why the potential of Central Asian startups is hard to ignore


Affluent economies and expanding enterprises in SEA also need new destinations for investment and exportation, and CA being a relatively under-explored frontier for either purpose means a new and exciting array of opportunities.

A sizeable number of digital trade services, e-commerce, and fintech startups growing in the region might be of great interest to SEA investors. Further, CA’s young and emerging middle class promises abundant commercial potential in but five years.

Because of these gaps and how each one bridges them for the other, the synergies between CA and SEA could mean favourable outcomes should businesses and investors choose to join hands. Already in pursuit of such profitable output is Singapore’s Quest Ventures.

In tandem with Kazakhstan’s state-owned QazTech Ventures, the two funds established an early-stage accelerator programme to foster a new generation of startup founders, propel them to succeed in their respective CA markets, and eventually scale to SEA.

Launched in 2020, the Kazakhstan Digital Accelerator (KDA) has already produced multiple batches of brilliant young companies. Among them are finalists already receiving investments.

Beyond KDA, Quest Ventures, and QazTech Ventures also witnessed a successful case that is Clockster, a Singapore-incorporated Kazakhstani startup that raised US$750,000 in a round led by Quest Ventures in 2020.

The partnership between Quest Ventures and QazTech Ventures is proving to be instrumental to advancing and growing the budding venture capital market in Central Asia, particularly Kazakhstan.


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