How do you beat the competition in the fast-paced world of startups in Asia? The right amount of funding is one of the main factors that stands between your company’s success or failure. With no cash, upscaling becomes a longer, more difficult challenge. We’ve shared with you the best APAC countries to start a business, now find out about Asian-focused investors from India to China that you can approach to help fund your startup.

Before we dive in, here’s the difference between venture capitalists, angel investors and seed accelerators. Venture capitalist firms focus on providing funds to startups that they recognise to have high potential for growth. More often than not, they provide more funds than a bank loan and there is no obligation to pay them back if the business tanks. Angel investors operate on a much smaller scale, often investing in a business as an individual or in a small group. For both, mentorship and guidance is optional. Seed accelerators offer the benefits of funding as well as mentorship. Competition to be accepted into an accelerator program is high as successful applicants receive an intensive period (typically 3 months) of training from experienced professionals on how to grow their businesses as well as a monetary investment in exchange for equity.

Here are 10 venture capital firms, investors and accelerators that have been the most active in the past 6 months.

1. 500 Startups (Malaysia)

Investments Made – 11

A renowned Global venture capital seed fund and a startup accelerator from Silicon Valley with over US$250 million in assets under management.

Key Investees/Graduates in APAC:
Grab (Malaysia/SG)
TukTuks (Thailand)
Supahands (Malaysia)
CatchThatBus (Malaysia)

Type of Fund:
Seed
Series A
Bridge/Loan

Investment Round Range:
US$100,000 to US$12,000,000

Top APAC Countries Invested in:
Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia

Top Industries:
E-Commerce
Marketplaces and Platforms
Fintech

2. Sequoia Capital (China)

Investments Made – 10

Known for their collaborative efforts with legendary founders like Steve Jobs (Apple), Elon Musk (SpaceX), and Peter Thiel (Paypal). Sequoia now provides the new generation of innovators the opportunity to build lasting companies of tomorrow.       

Key Investees in APAC:
Kfit (Malaysia)
Zilingo (Singapore)
Gojek (Indonesia)
Futu5 (China)

Type of Fund:
Seed
Series A, B & C

Investment Round Range:
US$1,000,000 to US$200,000,000

Top APAC Countries Invested in:
Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia

Top Industries:
Social networking & communication
Marketplaces & Platforms
Logistics and Transportation

3. SAIF Partners (Hong Kong)

Investments Made – 8

An Asian-focused private equity firm that focuses mainly on businesses that operate in China or have significant operations or businesses in China.

Key Investees in APAC:
Voodoo (India)
Treebo Hotels (India)
UnionPay (China)

Type of Fund:
Seed
Series A, B, C & D

Investment Round Range:
US$ 200,000 to US $100,000,000

Top APAC Countries Invested in:
India, China, Indonesia

Top Industries:
E-Commerce & Advertising
Marketplaces & Platforms
IoT

4. Microsoft Accelerator (India)

Investments Made – 7

Microsoft Accelerator is a global initiative empowering entrepreneurs around the world on their journey to build great companies by offering 4-6 months programs for later-stage startups.      

Key Investees in APAC:
SadakPlay (India)
Raven Tech (China)
Taihuoniao (China)

Type of Fund:
Seed
Series A, B, C & D

Investment Round Range:
US $ 25,000 to US $ 4 000, 000

Top APAC Countries Invested in:
India, China, Indonesia

Top Industries:
Finance & Marketing
Mobile & Communication
Customer Acquisition

5. Blume Ventures (India) 

Investments Made – 6

One of India’s first venture capital firms that’s focused on early-stage tech companies that also co-invests with partner angel investors and seed funds.       

Key Investees in APAC:
Unacademy (India)
RoadRunnr (India)
GreyOrange (Singapore)

Type of Fund:
Seed
Series A, B

Investment Round Range:
US$50,000 to US $2,000,000

Top APAC Countries Invested in:
India, Singapore

Top Industries:
Software
Mobile
E-Commerce

6. East Ventures (Indonesia, Japan)

Investments Made – 5

An early stage fund VC, incubator and accelerator focusing on consumer web and mobile startups based in Southeast Asia, Japan and USA.

Key Investees in APAC:
Kargo (Indonesia)
Kaodim (Malaysia)
99.Co (SG)
TechinAsia (SG)
Hyper8 (Japan)

Type of Fund:
Seed
Series A, B
Bridge/Loan

Investment Round Range:
US$300,000 to US$4,000,000

Top Countries Invested in:
Singapore, Thailand, Japan

Top Industries:
E-Commerce
Marketplaces and Platforms
Fintech

7. Brand Capital (India)

Investments Made – 5

A venture arm of Bennett Coleman and Co Ltd; over 10 years the venture has partnered in building more than 850+ indigenous brands in India.

Key Investees in APAC:
Yeh China (China)
CityFurnish (India)
MeruCabs (India)

Type of Fund:
Seed
Series A
Bridge/Loan

Investment Round Range:
US$500,000 to US$5,000,000

Top Countries Invested in:
India, China

Top Industries:
Retail
Consumer Durables
Fintech

8. IMJ Investment Partners Pte. Ltd (Japan, Singapore)

Investments Made – 5

A Singapore based venture capital that provides funding to startups in SEA and Japan based on the principles of operational support, equality, and global outlook. They also provide direct operational support and connections for startups en route to success.

Key Investees in APAC:
Carsome (Malaysia)
Pawnhero (Philippines)
Fabelio (Malaysia)

Type of Fund:
Seed
Series A

Investment Round Range:
US$ 50,000 to US$ 2,000,000

Top Countries Invested in:
Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia

Top Industries:
Lifestyle
Ecommerce
Consumer Internet

9. Kalaari Capital (India)

Investments Made – 5

An India-based venture company investing in tech-related companies in India, as an Indo-US venture partners. They are focusing on poised to break out Startups in India and future global leaders.

Key Investees in APAC:
HolaChef (India)
Curefit (Philippines)
Parablu (Malaysia)

Type of Fund:
Seed
Series A, B, C, D

Investment Round Range:
US$ 500,000 to US$30,000,000

Top Countries Invested in:
Indonesia, India, Philippines, Malaysia

Top Industries:
E-Commerce
Internet
Curated Web

10. Beenext (Japan, India)

Investments Made – 5

Founded by Teruhide Sato and other experienced entrepreneurs and founders, to support thriving startups around the globe with capital, knowledge, experience, operational expertise, and a unique global network. On top of that, they believe in helping entrepreneurs get to the next level by providing a highly unique perspective that comes from investing in startups in 9 different countries.

Key Investees in APAC:
Creo (India)
HappyFresh (Indonesia)
Voonik (India)
Kaodim (Malaysia)

Type of Fund:
Seed
Series A, B

Investment Round Range:
US$ 200,000 to US$40,000,000

Top Countries Invested in:
India, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia

Top Industries:
E-Commerece
Internet
Curated Web

Next steps to meeting investors

Research your different options before you start approaching investors for money as some focus only on later-stage startups, some in early-stage. They also tend to focus on a select few industries that is in line with their expertise. Besides that, have you also considered if you are ready to give up part of your ownership in order to scale up quickly? Investors generally place their money in a company in exchange for equity so you will have to face the possibility of not being your own boss anymore.

Finally, when it comes to taking that step to meet potential investors, be resilient. Send your proposal out to a number of relevant companies or individuals and don’t be afraid to use your network to your advantage. Gain exposure for your startup through a mutual contact that is also involved in the startup or investing scene. Getting your business funded is a long but often rewarding process so make sure you have a strong team to support you and stay passionate about your work. Good luck!

by JUINN TAN

Digital Marketing @ Supahands. I crunch numbers, I weave sentences, and my life revolves around my Google Calendar.