3 Southeast Asian Women-led Tech Startups that are Making a Difference

Women-led tech startups, while not as many in number as their male counterparts, do actively contribute to the global innovations and impactful changes taking place in many of the industries and businesses across the world today. Furthermore, they bring much needed diversity and a wider talent pool to a male-dominated field, opening up new points of view and ways of doing things that ultimately benefit the market and ecosystem as a whole. Even in emerging countries across Asia, women-led tech startups are blazing a pioneering trail towards a more diversified landscape that promises to bring better business performance and greater profitability.

1Export, hailing from the Philippines and co-founded by Anna Melissa Nava, is a startup that operates a one-stop end-to-end exporting platform that aims to reduce trade barriers and promote global trade by offering solutions to small and medium businesses that want to expand beyond their domestic market. Anna revealed that most small-to-medium sized companies are hesitant and reluctant to export their products to more lucrative overseas markets due to uncertainties about the export process as well as insufficient knowledge, even though most are keen to do so once they see the potential benefits that it brings. The Philippine startup wants to help businesses with guidance and support through the export process and lower trade barriers by assisting them with documentation, pricing, labeling and trade facilitations. This also frees up the companies to put more of their focus and resources on other important matters such as production or marketing. Ultimately, the tech startup’s long term vision is to automate most of the product export process, thus enabling more small-to-medium sized businesses to participate in global trade.

Indonesia-based startup Populix, co-founded by Eileen Kamtawijoyo, is a consumer insights platform that aims to help businesses connect with a vast group of highly qualified respondents for research and data-gathering purposes. The platform provides many features, enabling businesses to conduct studies, access a panel of screened and qualified respondents that they can segment as needed, commission impromptu projects as well as purchase datasets. The startup handles both qualitative and quantitative studies, and businesses can get objective answers to their questions at comparably lower prices. Respondents that join the platform are rewarded for their service and task fulfilments with vouchers and redeemable points. To ensure data integrity and quality, Populix applies vigorous measures and parameters all throughout the research process, including respondent recruitment and project undertakings

PurelyB, a Malaysia-based e-commerce platform startup founded by Jesrina Arshad and Stephanie Looi, offers a one-stop portal for traditional and natural health products. Their mission is to encourage and support healthy and sustainable lifestyles by providing an online site where interested consumers are given convenient access to a plethora of sustainable, health-focused products and solutions in one destination. To ensure that all of the content on its site upholds its health and sustainability values, PurelyB takes great care and vigorous measures in selecting its platform’s content. To further that aim, PurelyB employs a panel of eminent and distinguished health and wellness authority figures to create and manage content for its site. The startup also offers digital online health programs to extend their reach. Besides that, the health-focused platform also provides corporate wellness programs and events, as well as branded content partnerships that enable brands to expand their market further and extend their reach across Asia with the startup’s sustainability-minded user base, which consists of more than half a million members.

Women-led tech startups are a major force to be reckoned with. From consumer insights platforms, to health and wellness products e-commerce platforms, to exporting platforms and more, women-founded startups are innovating industries and driving growth for businesses, all while producing advantageous returns and results for their companies along the way.