What SaaS Really Means for Southeast Asian Startups

What SaaS Means to me

SaaS for me really means B2B sales, selling to businesses usually in a month reoccurring subscription.  But it could also be selling to enterprises in different payment plans.  In Southeast Asia where Golden Gate Ventures is focused, SaaS is undergoing a huge boom right now because the adoption of consumer internet is only the past four or five years.  Businesses tend to be behind consumer adoption.  Therefore what we are seeing is that all of these small businesses that are going online.  Mostly for invoicing, payroll, printing, are just starting to come online now.

When we invest in SaaS companies.  We try to encourage them to do the same approach.  So if there are any startups out there that are going after it, it will be key to think about how an individual user within this big corporate actually subscribes to the service.  As well as use it for themselves or within their small team department but not actually try to sell from the top down.

Challenges of SaaS

In regards to Southeast Asia some of the challenges of SaaS is obviously language but sometimes it is also payment methods like bank transfers rather than credit cards which you can’t automatically pull that every month.

For SaaS startups in Asia.  Distribution partners are really important.  We try to work with startups to bring in strategic investors or conglomerates.  They might have a very long reach in terms of different lines of businesses that could get the software get adopted.  They would do this by getting them to buy in with some investment or equity.  Now they have a little bit of ownership and interest to spread it across the organization.  We’ve done that in Indonesia, Malaysia, and would probably be a good strategy in Korea as well to bring in a certain type of investor.  At Golden Gate, we are purely a venture capital financial investor vs a strategic investor.  So I would recommend bringing in one from each side to help with distribution.

Vinnie Lauria
Vinnie Lauria

Vinnie is the Founding Partner at Golden Gate Ventures, an early stage Venture Capital fund for startups in Southeast Asia with strong ties to Silicon Valley. With two startups behind him, he is an active advisor and mentor.

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