A flurry of activity in Singapore's venture capital (VC) market in the past month highlights just how excited global investors are about Southeast Asia's flourishing start-up scene.
Jungle Ventures and Beenext, a fund set up by the founder and former CEO of Japanese e-commerce operator Beenos, are among firms who have raised cash to invest in the region's booming e-commerce sector, where growing wealth and explosive smartphone growth is stoking demand for everything from home furnishers to local versions of Amazon.
Online retail revenues among the six major economies of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)—Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam—are expected to hit $34.5 billion by 2018, from $7 billion in 2013, according to Frost & Sullivan.
Teruhide Sato, the man behind Beenext, launched his VC fund in Singapore last month with the aim of targeting mobile and e-commerce businesses encompassing vertical marketplaces not only of products, but services and knowledge. Sato told CNBC he was unable to disclose the fund's exact value but it has been widely reported at $60 million.
"I picked Singapore because of its geographical strength," the 40-year old said. Southeast Asia and India are the strongest in terms of growing middle classes after the United States and China so being close to those regions is essential, he explained.
Meanwhile, Singapore-headquartered VC firm Jungle Ventures (JV) is currently in the process of raising a $100 million second fund. "Right now, 65 percent of the fund is done, we expect the full round to be completed by early next year," JV managing partner David Gowdey, told CNBC this week.
Once scarce, funding is now abundant for entrepreneurs in Singapore, widely touted as Asia's answer to Silicon Valley.