Founder and managing partner, Cherubic Ventures
Matt Cheng expects generative AI, sustainable technologies and the convergence of physical and digital worlds to impact the startup space significantly this year.
Generative AI, categorised as AI algorithms that generate new outputs based on the training data, is set to revolutionise how companies operate. Cheng believes startups and entrepreneurs must explore its potential applications and benefits. Meanwhile, sustainable technologies that drastically reduce environmental and ecological risks are becoming increasingly attractive to investors. He anticipates the global market for sustainable technologies to grow significantly in the coming years.
“Lastly, the convergence of technologies such as 5G networks, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) blurs the boundary between the physical and digital worlds. This creates new opportunities for companies to engage with customers and optimise their operations,” Cheng said.
He adds that startups should focus on developing competitiveness and adapting to a recession to gain market share and capitalise on the recovery. Spotting opportunities in a bear market can lead to success in a bull market. “In 2023 and beyond, leaders and founders should use new technologies ethically and responsibly to maximise their positive impacts and minimise any negative consequences.”
Read more: The former fashion designer who started a period care business
Executive director, Vertex Ventures
Based in Indonesia, Joshua Agusta predicts that electric vehicles (EV), digital payments and e-commerce will be areas for the local market to watch this year.
Indonesia, the world’s largest nickel producer, has the potential to become a leader in EV manufacturing, which explains why the local government has forged deals with EV automakers such as BYD Group and Tesla. The nation’s goal is to have 2.5 million EV users in the country by 2025.
In fintech, particularly in the digital payments segment, things are really heating up. Agusta believes that there are opportunities available, especially in the areas of Earned Wage Access, Buy Now Pay Later, and Save Now Buy Later propositions. “Companies like Fairbanc and Manuva for example are making some interesting preposition for financial institutions to be able to do a more targeted credit disbursements, and it will be interesting to see who will be the dominant player,” he says. Finally, e-commerce platforms and logistics services are also expected to grow with the rising demand for online shopping.
“At the same time, things are heating up in the digital payment and fintech space, as both have seen an increase in usage due to Covid-19. This space has many opportunities, such as Earned Wage Access, BNPL, Embedded Finance and Save Now Buy Later propositions. Companies like Fairbanc and Manuva for example are making some interesting preposition for financial institutions to be able to do more targeted credit disbursements, and it will be interesting to see who will be the dominant player.”
Agusta notes that economic uncertainty may lead to a slowdown in investment, but he maintains that the recession can offer great opportunities for business. His advice: “Identify opportunities in industries less affected by the downturn or offer products and services that help [other] businesses.” He also suggests founders focus on building a clear path to profitability, conserving cash flow and paying closer attention to capital efficiency due to the increasing cost of funds.
Read more: “My venture needs to grow beyond me as CEO”: A founder’s search for her successor
Founder and managing director, Innovate 360
John Cheng identifies regenerative agriculture, waste valorisation, precision fermentation and cell culture as areas of growth this year.
“There is a growing emphasis on addressing food insecurity and feeding the ever-increasing population,” he says. “The United Nations predicts that by 2050, there will be 9.8 billion people on Earth and the planet has insufficient resources to meet their needs.”
He advises startups to be frugal in order to weather the looming economic downturn, and adjust their strategies or direction to stay afloat.
“I look forward to discovering exciting startups that can help change the world. [Innovate 360] can support them through our network, infrastructure, funds and expertise. I also hope to see more precision fermentation and cell-cultured meats on supermarket shelves soon.”
See the honourees in the Finance & Venture Capital category of the Gen.T List.
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