Asia-Pacific’s small companies and startups on the rise

Adrought in global venture capital activity has not deterred startups across Asia from breaking new ground. This year’s Forbes Asia 100 to Watch list spotlights small companies and startups that are targeting underserved markets or applying new technologies, from generative AI to blood-based cancer diagnostics. These include eco-friendly innovations, such as the development of insect-based alternative proteins and digitization of milk production to improve yields. Others include social commerce providers, which help users sell consumer products. Thirteen countries and territories are represented across 11 categories, including biotechnology and healthcare, e-commerce and retail, and finance. Leading the list for the second year in a row, Singapore contributed 20 companies to the list, followed by Hong Kong with 15 and mainland China with 11. The emerging innovation hubs of Indonesia and the Philippines contributed 11 and 9 companies respectively.

Aerodyne

Malaysia

Category: Enterprise Technology

Year founded: 2014 • CEO: Kamarul Muhamed

Key backers: 500 Global, ACSL, Axiata Digital Innovation Fund, Drone Fund, Gobi Partners, Indorama, InterVest, Kejora Capital, Kobashi Industries, KWAP, North Summit Capital, Petronas Ventures, Leave a Nest, Real Tech Fund, VentureTECH

Aerodyne’s autonomous drones can spray crops, inspect power lines or monitor city streets. The company’s AI-powered “nested” drone system helps devices sync with one another and return to a common charging base. Since its founding, Aerodyne claims it’s conducted over 458,000 flight operations in 45 countries, and has raised a total of $68 million.

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