Rising Startups from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka Showcased in Singapore at SouthXChange

SouthXChange, a startup program to spotlight Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan saw 13 high potential South Asian startups across AI, fintech, e-commerce and agritech take the stage at the Google Singapore office during the SouthXChange ecosystem and pitch night in an effort to raise capital for their respective growth plans.

This program, one of the first of its kind in Singapore, was supported by Google Cloud (which runs the Google for Startups Cloud Program), nVentures, Aspire, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) CATALYZE Sri Lanka Private Sector Development (PSD) Activity.

Oscar Ramos, Managing General Partner of Orbit Startups and Venture Partner of SOSV, delivered a virtual address that highlighted the potential that emerging markets hold. Other leading regional investors in attendance included Accelerating Asia and Tenity.

The startups pitching included Bangladeshi B2B SaaS solution provider for 230,000 small businesses Hishabee, Sri Lanka’s leading payments platform Mintpay, and Pakistan’s largest online and booking platform Bookme.pk. Well-known Pakistani entrepreneur Monis Rahman, behind household platforms Rozee.pk and Finja.pk, also showcased fintech platform Dukan.pk.

SouthXChange, a two-day program in Singapore, was designed to facilitate learnings between startup ecosystem players in South Asia and Southeast Asia. On the first day, experts from Google Cloud, Google Ads and YouTube conducted roundtables with the startups on data monetisation and customer acquisition. Startups got to meet with leading Singaporean investor James Tan, Managing Partner of Quest Ventures and backer of Southeast Asian unicorns Carro and Carousell. The startups also visited regional giants Glints (Series D talent ecosystem), Aspire (Series C all-in-one finance platform), and received mentorship from industry veterans at Draper Startup House.

SouthXChange follows Google Cloud’s expansion of its Google for Startups Cloud Program in Pakistan to provide additional benefits to seed to Series A startups. For those that are using AI as the core technology to develop primary products or solutions, the Google for AI Startups Cloud Program is now available to cover these startups’ cloud costs of up to $350,000 over two years. For self-funded startups, the Program provides up to $2,000 in Google Cloud credits to help fund their development of proof-of-concepts and showcase their products to prospective investors and customers.

In Startup Genome’s latest rankings, Singapore climbed to 8th position in the Global Startup Ecosystem and 3rd in Asia. It is home to 5,000 tech startups, 500 investors and 250 accelerators and incubators2 and has consistently ranked among the top 10 in the Global Innovation Index.


  • Farhan S Qureshi, Google’s Director for South Asia Frontier region said “Our support for SouthXChange reinforces our commitment to enabling startups to scale their delivery of innovative products and services. South Asia has the potential to be the next innovation hub and we are excited to be empowering daring founders in the region through tailored startup programs and AI-powered solutions.”
  • Thomas Jeng, General Manager, Aspire, said, “Aspire is proud to support this year’s SouthXChange event, bringing together daring founders from across South Asia. Our commitment to empowering startups extends beyond borders, and this initiative aligns seamlessly with our mission to provide an all-in-one finance solution for businesses across Asia. We’re proud to equip these startups with the right financial tools to realise their full potential.”
  • Chalinda Abeykoon, Managing Partner, nVentures, said, “We’re thrilled to be a partner to host SouthXChange. Connecting emerging South Asia with Southeast Asia via Singapore has been our strategy from day one. As an early-stage VC fund, we believe founders learn the most from other founders. Having founders from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Bangladesh on one stage at the Google Singapore campus is our way of giving back to the community that has inspired us the most.”
  • Oscar Ramos, Managing General Partner of Orbit Startups and Venture Partner of SOSV, said, “The development of Emerging Markets is one of the most exciting opportunities within our generation. South East Asia shows tremendous promise, thanks to the mix of a huge population and top-notch talent. Our 30+ investments in the region is the best evidence in our confidence in founders building for and from the region. We are thrilled to be part of SouthXChange and collaborating with Google Cloud, our awesome portfolio companies, and fellow investors. This region’s a game-changer, and we’re stoked to be part of it.”
  • Arzish Azam, CEO and Founder of Ejad Labs and Future Fest who delivered an ecosystem keynote on Pakistan, said, “SouthXChange is a wonderful initiative to bridge these emerging ecosystems, and I am super excited to see the entrepreneurs at this forum not just aiming for global growth, but also coming together for collaborative innovation.”
  • Monis Rahman, leading serial entrepreneur from Pakistan who co-founded Dukan.pk, Rozee.pk and Finja.pk, said, “SouthXChange has been a highly impactful event covering all the essentials for high growth startups. It has been energizing with many new connections and actionable insights.”
  • Kukaraj Tharmasegaram, co-founder and CEO at Mintpay, said, “As a pioneering alternative payment app in the country, Mintpay is honored to represent Sri Lanka at SouthXChange. This has given us the opportunity to showcase our commitment to reshaping the financial landscape in South Asia. We would like to thank Google Cloud, nVentures, and Aspire for organizing this incredible event and providing us the platform to showcase Mintpay’s immense potential.”
  • Rakin Savi, Founder and CEO of Hishabee, said, “As a startup founder hailing from Bangladesh, I’ve frequently encountered the challenge of our work being undervalued, possibly due to the region’s relative obscurity on the global stage. However, the SouthXChange event provided an invaluable platform to share our experiences and perspectives. This two-day event was a deep dive into various technology resources offered by Google Cloud, strategies for fundraising, and insights into using Singapore as a gateway to the Southeast Asian market. Additionally, the opportunity to visit and interact with global companies like Glints and Aspire was enlightening, offering a firsthand look at their growth trajectories and strategies. This experience was not just about sharing the story of Bangladesh but also about understanding the broader South Asian context in the global business landscape.”

Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, the three countries showcased at the SouthXChange, have an estimated population of over 430 million people, with a youthful median age of 27. The region’s demographic dividend and its thriving startup ecosystems represent an opportunity for investors and an untapped market for startups looking to expand their horizons.

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