10 Books About the Southeast Asian Startup Ecosystem

By Joanna Viegan

Updated July 22, 2019 at 1:30 pm

With many of the world’s most successful business owners being bookworms, we wanted to provide a list of books that startup founders and entrepreneurs should check out. And as much as we want to recommend Eric Ries’ The Lean Startup again, we thought we’d approach this list a bit differently.

That is, all of the books listed in this page are focused on Southeast Asia, or at least have a significant portion of the book dedicated to one of its countries. Here, we compiled 11 books that focus on their respective country’s startup ecosystems or puts the spotlight on the region’s ecosystem as a whole.

Financing Technopreneurship & Startup Ecosystem: How Malaysia is Creating Another Success Story 

by Jamal Nassar

With a doctorate in Islamic Finance, Jamal Nassar gives a comprehensive look on the state of business financing in Malaysia, which has seen an emergence in both startups and venture capital firms in recent years. It gives investors, executives, and even government officials a look into the Malaysian startup network and what they need to know before investing in its small companies, with a special focus on the role of Islamic Finance in developing the ecosystem.

Buy it on: Amazon

The Finishers

by Ezra Ferraz

What’s the best way to learn about how startups work in a country? For Ezra Ferraz, a former contributor of Tech in Asia and Rappler (and a managing partner of Ambidextr!), it’s getting insights from the ecosystem’s largest success stories. The Finishers puts the spotlight on 11 Filipino startups that have exited and shows what it takes to create a successful business in the Philippine context.

Buy it on: CentralBooks

The Instant Entrepreneur

by Ranford Neo

For entrepreneurs who are having second-thoughts about starting a business in Southeast Asia, The Instant Entrepreneur could be the push they need to start their journeys. With this book, Singapore-based entrepreneur Ranford Neo provides pertinent information, debunks classic myths, and shares all the strategies needed to start a business.

Buy it on: Amazon 

Investing in Digital Startups

by William Yang

Business consultant William Yang focused on his expertise in publishing Investing in Digital Startups, which gives potential investors a guide on how to choose the best investments among Indonesia’s growing number of startups. Written in the local language, Yang gives a unique perspective into the country’s ecosystem that few others are able to provide.

Buy it on: Amazon

The Orange Gum Story

by Meng Wee Tan

Meng Wee Tan established a mobile content startup called Orange Gum in 2000 with his brother and friends, then sold it in 2009. In The Orange Gum Story, the founder recounts his experiences on how he developed and exited the startup, sharing personal insights and lessons for his fellow startup founders to learn from.

Buy it on: AbeBooks | Amazon

Ready or Not: The 6 Big Disruptions that Will Change the Way We Do Business

by Winston Damarillo

Authored by one of the most well-known names in the Philippine tech industry, Ready or Not sees Winston Damarillo explain six disruptive technologies and how they are changing the country’s business landscape. From artificial intelligence to blockchain, the book also gives examples of how startups around the world are innovating with these technologies.

Buy it on: National Book Store

Rice & Chips: Technopreneurship and Innovation in Asia

by Dennis Posadas

With Silicon Valley being the posterchild for a successful tech startup community, Filipino writer Dennis Posadas breaks down what brought the Valley to the top and analyzes its similarities with major Asian startup hubs such as Singapore, China, and India. Among the insights one can gain from reading Rice & Chips include the different venture capital structures, R&D proficiencies, and cultural impacts of different Asian countries.

Buy it on: Amazon | National Book Store

Startup Guide Singapore

Startup Guide Singapore provides a comprehensive look in the company’s ecosystem, serving as a database of Singapore’s most notable startup founders, industry experts, venture capitalists, co-working spaces, and other key stakeholders in the ecosystem. It’s part of the global Startup Guide series of guide books, which publishes guidebooks on major startup hubs all over the world. According to its website, the Startup Guide group will release a Bangkok version on November 2019.

Buy it on: Startup Guide Shop

Startup Vietnam: Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Socialist Republic

by Andrew Rowan

With Vietnam becoming a main player in the global startup industry, Andrew Rowan documents its unique growth in Startup Vietnam, contextualizing how a socialist country is becoming more open to entrepreneurship and technological innovation. An American entrepreneur that has stayed in Vietnam since 2013, Rowan aimed to put a spotlight on Vietnamese talent and the country’s current trajectory with his book.

Buy it on: Amazon

Under the Wings of Garuda: An Outlook on Globalization and Small Business in Indonesia

by Aleksandar Boskovski

With Indonesia being one of the most interesting markets in the region, Aleksandar Boskovski aims to break down what it means to be a small business in the country in Under the Wings of Garuda. Based largely on Boskovski’s experiences living in the country, the book equips foreign entrepreneurs with insights and lessons on starting a business in Indonesia and in the Southeast Asian region in general.

Buy it on: AbeBooksAmazon