2021 Southeast Asia EdTech 50

HolonIQ’s annual list of the 50 most promising EdTech startups from Southeast Asia.

Education Intelligence Unit

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December 1, 2021

The Southeast Asia EdTech 50 is HolonIQ's annual list of the 50 most promising EdTech startups from Southeast Asia.

2021 EdTech Badges (1)

Southeast Asia‘s population is over 650m people, 200m+ of whom are under the age of 30. While the region has prospered over the past two decades with a “manufacture for export” strategy, support for digital is now critical to Asia’s continued development and education is key to capacity building in the region. “We need to invest more in education and encourage the development of more valuable skill sets, critical thinking and life-long learning if we are to succeed in this new (digital) economy,” notes ASEAN.

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Startups are categorized by their main focus. Categories in the market map are not mutually exclusive.

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Direct-to-Consumer majority; One quarter B2B.

Over half of this year’s cohort operate in a direct-to-consumer model, as individual consumers (both parents and adult learners) increasingly look for learning solutions and direct support, with teams such as CoLearn (Indonesia) delivering online tutoring solutions and Doyobi (Singapore) offering a STEM and coding classes. Additionally, financing platforms such as Cicil (Indonesia) and mentoring solution, FutureLab (Malaysia) also operate predominately in the direct-to-consumer market.  However, just over a quarter of the group operate a B2B model, which is a high proportion compared with many other regions of the world and speaks to the increasing importance of digital for corporations and institutions. Learning environments, whether for K12, Higher Education or workforce are in strong demand and teams such as ArcLab and Teamie (Singapore) are offering solutions, along with those like Noodle Factory (Singapore) and HarukaEdu (Indonesia) which are supporting institutions in their digital journey.

Startups with a foothold prior to COVID see traction.

Almost half of the startups in this year’s cohort are between 4-6 year’s old, having had the opportunity to gain a foothold in the market prior to COVID and then seeing significant market demand through the pandemic. Those in the growth stage include tech upskilling solutions – Binar Academy (Indonesia), Hacktiv8 (Indonesia) and CoderSchool (Vietnam) and Language Learning startups including Bahaso (Indonesia), LingoAce (Vietnam) & Edupia (Vietnam). Newer teams who are partnering with universities and corporates to support their digital objectives include Skills Union (founded 2020, Singapore) and Akadasia (founded 2019, Singapore), while Koobits, XSeed, Topica and Zenius are examples of startups in the 10+ years category who continue to show growth in the region and more widely.

Singapore and Indonesia over two-thirds.

Singapore and Indonesia make up two thirds of the cohort, with Singapore based EdTech startups typically servicing the whole Southeast Asia region. Both these markets have strong policy and funding support for education innovation as a foundation for EdTech activity and traction. Vietnam is an emerging ecosystem and we expect to see more demand from the market and solutions entering in the next few years.

Track the 2021 Cohort

HolonIQ customers can track the 50 most promising EdTech startups from Southeast Asia on the intelligence platform. Look for the 2021 Southeast Asia EdTech 50 list in the Lists tab of the Organizations page. Request a Demo if you are not a customer and would like to learn more.

Track the 2021 Cohort

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Criteria & Methodology

The Southeast Asia EdTech 50 is focused on identifying young, fast growing and innovative learning and up-skilling start-ups working in the region. To be eligible, startups must be less than 10 years old, are either headquartered in the region, or predominately focused on this market (e.g. > 80% revenue/customers, and are pre exit (not acquired or listed) or not a subsidiary of a larger company or controlled by an investor group (e.g. via private equity buyout or controlling investment). Learn more about eligibility for the Southeast Asia EdTech 50.

The Southeast Asia EdTech 50 is focused on identifying young, fast growing and innovative learning and up-skilling start-ups working in the region. To be eligible, startups are generally less than 10 years old (though there are some exceptions), are either headquartered in the region, or predominately focused on this market (e.g. > 80% revenue/customers, are pre exit (not acquired or listed) and not a subsidiary of a larger company or controlled by an investor group (e.g. via private equity buyout or controlling investment).

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