What's in store for early stage startups in 2024 and beyond?

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Now that we’ve passed the holidays, both East and West, I thought it was a good time to put together my thoughts for 2024 on the dynamics affecting our business.  It promises to be an eventful year, with geopolitical friction, elections and new technologies creating disruption, but also many opportunities.  

I’ll divide my comments into three aspects: Global macro, regional in the areas where we mostly invest, and internally from Accelerating Asia’s perspective.

Global Macro

The world has diverged economically into several groups: China is in a malaise brought about by a property bubble burst which may take some years to resolve.  At the same time Western sanctions on chips, etc. combined with a new type of politics are turning China more towards Autarky, or self-sufficiency, with limited success.  The population is shrinking and so is GDP growth.  Perhaps, yet again, China will find a way to grow through these challenges but it does not look promising.

Image: The Economist

Europe is in a doldrums of its own, much of which is self-inflicted through unnecessary closure of nuclear plants, over regulation of business and Brexit.  I don’t see the EU having any breakthrough growth in the near to medium term.  

The US is resilient off the back of the AI “revolution” although US tech firms continue to lay off workers at a high rate (good for the economy in the long term and good for the companies in the short term).  GDP growth in 2H 2023 rose by an annualized 4.1%1, which is high for a mature economy.  Nvidia’s market cap recently crossed that of the GDP of Italy!  Unemployment is at all time lows and the stock market has reached high all time highs.  But this is also not a short term trend.  The US seems designed to reach results like this.

Image: The Economist

However, things seem too good to be true and it's unlikely this pace can be maintained much longer.  The Fed has hinted at interest rate decreases which would be good for startups and VC, but until the economy shows signs of slowing down this may not happen.  If it doesn’t, this will hurt emerging economies in the short term as the dollar continues to rise against local currencies.

Conflicts over Taiwan, the Middle East or an escalation in Europe could prove disruptive to global markets  of course and then we have the US election.  While the election will prove great fodder for newspapers, I don’t expect any major changes to US policy directly affecting our business or operating regions with either candidate, at least in the short run.


As a reminder, Accelerating Asia mainly invests in South and Southeast Asia’s emerging markets, although we have a sizable minority of investments in Singapore, they tend to have a large percentage of their operations/customers in emerging markets like Indonesia.  

The economic environments of the operating markets of our portfolio companies are mostly quite good.  Countries like Indonesia, Bangladesh and India are growing at a good pace, building out infrastructure and supporting technology.  The AI boom is helping those at the “middle of the pyramid” more than those at the top of the pyramid, which means Western companies will find even more reasons to outsource work to these countries.

Many of our operating markets are experiencing a boom from the disentanglement of the Western-Chinese supply chains.  Specifically, Vietnam, Indonesia and Bangladesh are seeing major flows of FDI to build out factories and other resources to ensure diversification of their chains.  This has benefitted portfolio companies like Nitex, who recently closed a round at USD37M valuation and Transtrack.ID which is currently raising a USD15M Series A round.

We’ve recently been increasing our investments in India which has paid off very well so far.  Under Modi, the country has been increasing its investments in infrastructure and the economy has seen consistent growth above 5% and is on track to be the world’s third largest economy by 20272. The middle class is growing fast and with it disposable income.  Portfolio companies like Fulfilly, Sova Health and Lemonade are taking advantage of these trends, while Noapp is going global but with a local operations center, a great arbitrage strategy for many of our portfolio companies like Bangladesh-based Markopolo, Taiwan-based Giftpack and Pakistan-based Brick and Mortar AI.

Specific to India and Indonesia these are big markets growing fairly fast and seems good opportunities to continue to invest in.

Image: The Economist

Accelerating Asia

At Accelerating Asia, as always, we’re focused on helping our portfolio companies succeed.  Historically, that means helping them grow faster and more efficiently and attracting capital from investors as needed.  As our portfolio enters into a higher level of maturity we are now implementing exit planning and infrastructure into our business.  This will be comprised of several parts:

  1. Education:  Partnering with trusted M&A partners to ensure our portfolio companies understand how to prepare for and attract acquisition offers.
  2. Facilitation: Partnering with M&A partners to identify and coordinate between potential acquirers and our portfolio companies.
  3. Supporting our portfolio companies directly through the process of an IPO or other exit opportunity.

As a reminder there are several ways that the Accelerating Asia Funds can achieve exit:

  1. Follow-on investment: As we are an early stage investor we achieve impressive exit opportunities at the Series A, B or C stage where follow-on investors choose to allocate part of their investment towards buying shares from previous investors.  
  2. M&A: Typical exit route through acquisition or merger with a competitor or strategic investor.
  3. IPO: Less likely in the regions in which we operate but possible in future years, especially with startups who relocate to the US and/or have a globally scalable product.
  4. Secondaries: An option that is becoming more common in the regions in which we operate and could be attractive depending on pricing.

We look forward to continuing our winning strategy of attracting the highest potential startup founders in emerging markets and helping them scale faster than ever before through our accelerator program while connecting them to investors for a further boost to their resources.  If you’re a founder interested in joining our next cohort you can apply here.  If you’re an investor interested in our portfolio you can find more information here.


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Accelerating Asia invests in startups with scalable technology solutions and revenue generating business models that combine purpose with profit.


In making an investment decision, investors must rely on their own examination of startups and the terms of the investment including the merits and risks involved. Prospective investors should not construe this content as legal, tax, investment, financial or accounting advice.