In the last few years Southeast Asia (particularly Singapore) has become a global hub for tech innovation, and several hundred new startups are emerging each year. With our Singapore office and fast growing Southeast Asian tech client base, Simmonds Stewart is positioned in the middle of this exciting ecosystem.
Building a startup in Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam or Singapore is very different from Silicon Valley. We’ve learnt a huge amount about the challenges startups face in the region. This local experience really helps.
A typical engagement with a Southeast Asian startup involves helping the business set up in, or flip to, Singapore. We then put in place governance documents such as a constitution, shareholders’ agreement and founder vesting documents.
Early on, we help Singapore startups get investment ready and develop a capital raising strategy which works with investors in Southeast Asia or internationally. As your business grows, we also advise on company or group structuring, contractor arrangements and employee share incentive schemes.
We understand that cash is tight, yet there are endless issues to think about. To help out, we’ve developed free doc makers and legal templates which you can use to cover the basics when you are just starting out. These tools are also a great learning resource.
We help companies, venture capital firms and other investors across Southeast Asia with all types of funding rounds, including seed and angel rounds, VC financings, private equity investments, and pre-IPO rounds. Our capital raising work includes drafting and negotiating term sheets, convertible notes, subscription and shareholders’ agreements, venture debt documents and other standard investment documents, along with transaction mechanics (legal due diligence, approvals and closings).
We advised on over 50 Southeast Asia financing deals in 2018, up from 30 in 2017. These deals ranged from small seed investments to significant series B and C financing rounds led by globally recognised VCs. This deal flow gives us great market knowledge of the latest investment trends in the region which we monitor in our Map of the Funding Terms.
Most tech companies in Singapore and across Southeast Asia are likely to exit via m&a (rather than IPO). We can help you prepare for that journey to exit. As m&a experts in the tech space, we work with our clients throughout their life-cycles to maximise value on exit, including advising on local requirements when closing a deal. Our corporate lawyers have advised on hundreds of acquisitions and exits over the course of their careers, involving entrepreneurs to the largest multinationals. We also help startup companies seeking to grow by the acquisition of other tech businesses in the region, which might involve share or asset purchases, or acqui-hires.
Startups need to build relationships with customers, suppliers and other partners across the region. Well thought-out and simple contracts are key to developing those relationships. Whether it’s licensing a product, creating a sales channel, or negotiating business-critical services, we can help you navigate the contract. We advise on tech and general commercial contracts, from simple services agreements to bespoke and high-value project contracts. Many of these are cross-border involving more than one country in Southeast Asia. If you have regional tax or transfer pricing questions, we can point you in the right direction to appropriate local specialists.