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Silicon Valley: More interest in Southeast Asia eCommerce



It’s a sharing from a principal at General Catalyst Partners: Deepak Jeevan Kumar, a VC from Singapore.

Since moving to Silicon Valley, Deepak has started seeing investors show more interest in Southeast Asia. While Singapore-based startup Viki made headlines with its acquisition by Rakuten, a number of other startups from Singapore are also leaving an impression.
Startup accelerator Y Combinator has accepted its first Singapore-based teams Semantics3 and Padlet, while Nitrous, which moved to Silicon Valley recently, has received $1 million in investments from Draper Associates, CrunchFund, 500 Startups, and more.

Deepak believes Southeast Asia can potentially excel in two areas: e-commerce and cloud computing. He says:

Southeast Asia is pretty well-connected to the Internet. The delivery infrastructure for e-commerce is pretty good as well.

While some might argue that delivery services in the region are not as e-commerce friendly as in the West, Deepak counters that the situation in Southeast Asia is still better than in China and India: at least there’s a guarantee that the delivery will be made.

Cloud computing is interesting because the Singapore government has been successful in drawing big technology companies to set up shop in the country. Deepak attributes this to a combination of factors: reliable electrical supply, proximity to customers in the region, and a good talent pool.

“If the government starts creating specific programs to attract cloud service providers like Rackspace here, startups can come in and provide services to these companies,” he says.

That is how Singapore can withstand competition from big countries like China and India. Unlike manufacturing, data center operations need only a small set of highly skilled workers. He believes there’s a low chance these jobs will get outsourced.

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