SINGAPORE, November 29, 2023 – Rich entrepreneurial spirit from South Asia was on display last week at Google Singapore when Google Cloud played host to SouthXChange, startup pitch session jointly supported by nVentures, Aspire, and USAID CATALYZE implemented by the Palladium Group in Sri Lanka.
Startups in varying stages of progress from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan presented their business cases providing a unique investment potential for those looking to tap into the region.
A lineup of startups spanning fintech, proptech, e-commerce, social commerce, agri fintech, and SaaS services, presented their business in a two-minute pitch on the occasion. The young demography of South Asia coupled with thriving startup ecosystems, positions this region as a goldmine for investors and an untapped market for startups.
With a combined population of over 430 million people and a median age of 27, these three countries – Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka – present a formidable market.
Bangladesh alone boasts 125 million mobile subscribers, while Pakistan holds the title of the world’s fifth most populous country. Sri Lanka, often overlooked, ranks globally at #4 and leads Asia in affordable talent according to Startup Genome.
Sri Lanka startups demonstrated its embrace of cutting-edge technologies with startups such as mintpay and Kaijulabs. Notable among them was Smart COOP, transforming traditional cooperative banks into fully digital entities within just two weeks.
Simplebooks, an innovative SaaS solution, held a market leadership position in Sri Lanka, streamlining business formation and compliance for over 4,500 companies.
Bangladesh showcased its startup vitality through platforms such as Hishabee, a vertical SaaS transforming traditional businesses into digital entities.
Hishabee’s 200,000 registered small businesses exemplified the shift towards digital record-keeping, fostering e-commerce and digital lending. Other startups such as WeGro, PriyoShop, SupplyLine, and Pickaboo further showcased the dynamic entrepreneurial spirit of Bangladesh.
From Pakistan, startups such as Krave Mart and Graana stole the spotlight. Krave Mart, a Y Combinator-backed venture, and Graana, Pakistan’s first online real estate marketplace, showcased the country’s versatility in entrepreneurship.
Unity Retail and Dealcart added to the mix, demonstrating innovation in e-commerce and social commerce, respectively. Bookme.pk and ADA AI Spark brought their unique offerings, ranging from travel and e-ticketing platforms to AI-driven mini-tutorials and masterclasses.
SouthXChange was hosted by Google Cloud in collaboration with nVentures, licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and Aspire, a comprehensive finance software provider serving over 15,000 startups and SMBs in Southeast Asia.