Startup ecosystem not as bullish now, but fresh capital is available, says panel

The Business Times

WITH inflationary pressures on the rise following the stock market meltdown and the Russia-Ukraine war, the startup ecosystem is not as bullish this year as it was last year, though startups can still tap the dry powder still readily available in South-east Asia, a panel of investors said at InnovFest x Elevating Founders, the official start-up event of Asia Tech x Singapore (ATxSG), this week.

Michael Lints, a partner at venture capital firm Golden Gate Ventures who took part in the discussion, said that the worldwide crisis has affected the way investors look at investing in early- and late-stage companies.

He noted that 2021 had been a bullish year for the ecosystem, with companies raising funds at high valuations and quickly as well.

This year, the sentiment has changed, he said.

However, Lints said he believes that startups in the region can still expect exciting times; several venture capitalists have raised fresh capital that they need to deploy this year, with Jungle Ventures’ recent US$600 million fund-raising as an example.

In agreement with Lints, Michelle Ng, head of environmental, social and governance at Quest Ventures, also a venture capital firm, said she sees a lot of dry powder among venture capitalists, especially those in South-east Asia.

Ng noted that the bulk of funds in South-east Asia are in Singapore and Indonesia, but that Vietnam also held “tremendous opportunity”.


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