ASEAN Agrifoodtech Investment Report 2020: Here are the major highlights of the AgFunder’s publication on startup funding in SE Asia

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AgFunder has unveiled its first-ever analysis of agtech and food-tech startup funding in Southeast Asia: ASEAN Agrifoodtech Investment Report 2020. Terming the ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) as one of the fastest-growing regions in the world, the report said the region plays host to a rapidly growing middle class that demands more choice when it comes to food.

Here are the key points:

• In 2019, about $423 million was invested into Southeast Asian agrifood tech startups, across 99 deals, reflecting the fact that the region’s ecosystem is yet to reach the maturity of markets like North America, Europe, and China, as the majority of dealmaking activity took place at the seed stage.

• Last year, there’re 63 agrifood tech seed fundings in the region, raising nearly $39 million.

• As per the AgFunder report’s findings, the largest investment category in 2019 in terms of both investment volume and the number of deals done was In-Store Retail & Restaurant Tech, which secured $115 million across 23 deals.

• When that significant outlier is taken out of the picture, the largest category by investment value was Online Restaurants & Mealkits, which attracted $86 million across 13 deals.

• More investment is slowly beginning to flow towards upstream categories that aim to serve the appetites of middle-class consumers.

• Demand for non-animal derived proteins would need more funding for startups developing fermented, cultured, or plant-based meat substitutes.

• Despite the rapid growth of the region’s urbanized middle classes, SE Asia’s agriculture sector is still dominated by low-income smallholders, with restricted access to modern ag-innovations.

• Further development of the region’s farming industry needs to take the needs of these smallholder farmers into consideration, presenting limitless opportunities for entrepreneurs working in areas, including fintech, crop protection and yield improvement.

• Singapore accounted for $177 million in total funding across 37 deals, though $100 million of that went to Trax.

• Disregarding that outlier deal for a moment, Indonesian startups actually banked more funding than their counterparts in the city-state, with $165 million across 26 deals.

• With market liberalization continuing apace since it began to open up its economy 10 years ago, Myanmar is witnessing a steady rise in VC investment. Myanmar saw $10 million invested across five deals last year.