2021 was full of ups and downs – it started with optimization about vaccines against COVID-19 and it ended with news of a new variant, Omicron. However, there is a beacon of hope that we may soon be near the end of the pandemic.

Though 2021 was unpredictable, we did a pretty commendable job with our 2021 predictions. The verdict on last year’s predictions is out – we got a majority right while we may have to wait and see how some of our predictions pan out this year.

We know we are a bit late with our predictions for this new year, but the team took a much-needed three-week vacation to re-energize and is now back for a greater and more exciting year!

With optimization riding high amongst the team, here are the annual 2022 predictions for the Southeast Asian region.

1. Three more unicorns go public – prices of two of them will slide by end of the year

More exits will take place, which is good for the ecosystem.

2. All major e-commerce platforms invest heavily in delivery operations; food delivery platforms invest in POS systems

Only when you have firm control over the whole value chain, especially supply, will you become truly defendable.

3. All major consumer tech platforms including Grab, Shopee and Foodpanda ramp up groceries; many social commerce and grocery startups crumble under fierce competition

Everyone wants a piece of the last untapped hundred billion dollar mass consumer market in the region; startups need to be incredibly efficient operationally in order to compete against giants.

4. TikTok grows its advertising business in Indonesia but still struggles with supply for its e-commerce
For live streaming e-commerce to take hold, TikTok needs to find a lot of things to sell that are not already on Shopee; it needs to build an ecosystem of enablers and MCNs too.

5. Startups targeting MSMEs race to build B2B super apps
You have signed up millions of small businesses, and now you need to monetize (likely through an array of different services).

6. Governments are pushing for more cross border payment through their own settlement networks; legitimate digital payment processors margins thinning
PayNow, PromptPay, DuitNow etc. will work with each other more to avoid paying tax to international settlement networks.

7. More crypto wealth management companies emerge, and other wealth management companies add crypto to their portfolio
Investors will allocate a portion of their wealth into crypto – they need a simple solution to do that.

8. Global crossover funds become more aggressive in dealmaking in Southeast Asia; Chinese VCs finally set up in the region

They are in the region for different reasons – you understand what we are talking about.

9. Investments in Indonesian startups continue to boom
A lot of funding has been raised by Indonesia-focused VCs, and they have to deploy this money somehow.

10. BuyNowPayLater becomes a dog fight – banks channel more funding into major players

A lot of players will enter the market in the first half of the year. As usual, like in other hot tech sectors, only a very few will survive. Moreover, banks will not want to give up this high-quality asset.

Thanks for reading The Low Down (TLD), the blog by the team at Momentum Works. Got a different perspective or have a burning opinion to share? Let us know at [email protected].