Southeast Asia EdTech - $480M of VC in 5 Years

The education innovation opportunity in Southeast Asia is rapidly gaining momentum. Often overshadowed by that of its neighbours, China and India, Southeast Asia is building a vibrant, much needed and regionally focused ecosystem.

Education Intelligence Unit

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May 7, 2020

The education innovation opportunity in Southeast Asia is rapidly gaining momentum. Often overshadowed by that of its neighbours, China and India, Southeast Asia is building a vibrant, much needed and regionally focused ecosystem.

Global EdTech has had a massive decade and COVID-19 has re-shaped our collective assumptions for the future of education. Fortunately, Southeast Asia opened this new decade with a strong foundation, good momentum and an incredible opportunity to influence much-needed reform and transformation across the region.

ASEAN (The Association of Southeast Asian Nations) has 10 member states: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam with Papua New Guinea and Timor Leste as observers. ASEAN ‘s population is now over 620m people (nearly 10% of the world’s population) with 210 million under the age of 30. If ASEAN was a nation state it would rank second in the value of foreign investment flows, third in mobile phone subscriptions, and is the world’s fifth-largest market for cars.

As a collective, ASEAN has prospered over the past two decades with a “manufacture for export” strategy as the main pillar in most countries. While ASEAN countries are rushing to implement Fourth Industrial Revolution – or Industry 4.0 – technologies, the region is yet to roll out substantial changes to education policies, let alone innovation to reduce cost, increase access and improve outcomes. There are exceptions of course and Singapore is a global outlier on many dimensions, but next-generation education and skills are critical to regional growth and stability. “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.

Rapidly gaining the attention of students, parents, policymakers and investors alike, are the new players advancing ASEAN education. The screenshot below, from HolonIQ’s Global Intelligence Platform, shows nearly US$480 million of venture capital in over 200 individual investments over the last five years. Jakarta based Ruangguru has attracted over $150 million in investment, boasting more than 15 million users and working with more than 300,000 teachers who offer online courses in over 100 subjects. Singapore based Emeritus partners with global universities—including elite U.S. institutions like MIT and Columbia to offer digital courses to over 50,000 learners from 160 countries in finance, marketing, innovation and leadership. Topica, a Hanoi based provider of online offerings from live English tutoring courses to full-on bachelor’s degree programs (through partnerships with existing universities) claims more than one million working adult learners have used the platform.

Source. HolonIQ Intelligence Platform

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