March 17, 2021
Digital technologies create opportunities for establishment and growth of new businesses and business models in Southeast Asia. In addition to creating jobs and economic growth, these companies will give access to previously unreachable services for rural population.
Southeast Asia is about to becoming one of the world’s fastest-growing arenas for online commerce, according to a Bloomberg report. The majority of the Southeast Asian population is young and technologically mature to adapt to new digital solutions.
Introducing digital services to rural populations
While the spread of the digital economy so far has been uneven, with growth concentrated in the region’s biggest cities, the digital economy is now also reaching smaller cities and rural areas .
This will introduce a large part of the region’s population to services that have been out of reach for them. Examples are online banking, insurance, payments, as well as access to digital marketplaces, digital education content and efficient distribution models of agricultural produce to the final markets.
Openspace Ventures Fund III
Openspace Ventures III is a fund investing in early-stage technology companies in Southeast Asia, with a particular emphasis on Indonesia.
Openspace Ventures Snapshot
- Established in 2014
- Singapore-based venture capital firm
- Portfolio of 33 investments
- Presence in over 5 countries
- 25 employees
- More info: Openspace Ventures | Southeast Asia Venture Capital Fund
The two founders of Openspace Ventures, Hian Goh and Shane Chesson are experienced and well placed to take advantage of the interesting opportunity that new digital technologies represent, and to offer direct benefit to people in rural areas as well as in cities.
There are a lot of ways technology can help boost things like health, education and access to financial services. We are very excited about the quality of the entrepreneurs that are approaching us and we look forward to supporting more of the in the coming years.Hian Goh, Founder and general partner openspace ventures
To date, Openspace Ventures Fund III has made four investments in agritech, ed-tech, fintech and SaaS companies:
is a digital e-commerce platform providing a wide range of fresh produce primarily to restaurants in the Bangkok area. The company’s e-commerce marketplace and mobile application improves the logistics and efficiency in bringing products from farmers and food manufacturers to restaurants. As of February 2021, Freshket reported a total of 4700 business customers and 12 300 retail customers
is an Indonesia based ed-tech platform that aims to bring affordable education to the Indonesian masses. The firm provides a large library of teaching videos as well as online teaching to pupils of age 6 to 18 and has delivered very good improvements in results for their customers. The e-learning service is most often a supplement for students.
offers a SaaS plus point of sales solution for merchants in Indonesia. The company was established in 2017 and offers a cloud-based platform for omnichannel businesses, which integrates in-store point of sale, online storefront, payment processing, order fulfilment, and inventory management into a single interface. Iseller enables small retailers to move their businesses online especially during covid uncertainties. It currently has more than 8000 active users.
is an Indonesian based digital investment and savings platform that opens wider access to Indonesians for financial and investment products. Its mission is to democratize finance for all. Everyone should have access to the financial markets, so Pluang built the foundation from the ground up to make investing friendly, approachable, and understandable for newcomers and experts alike. It currently has more than 80,000 monthly transacting users.
In 2020, Norfund committed 128 MNOK to the fund. Through this partnership, Norfund will be able to support many more early-stage technology companies than we could do alone. As a development finance institution Norfund will contribute actively to increase the ESG expertise within the Openspace investment teams and help them implement routines in accordance with the IFC Performance Standards within their own company as well as within their investees.
Investing in Openspace Ventures III enables Norfund to support early stage businesses in Southeast Asia, and thereby contribute to job creation and economic growth as well as enabling more people in developing countries to take part in the digital economy.Bernt Brun, Vice President, Norfund