Market Trend

AI Powerhouses of Southeast Asia: 5 Horsemen of Change

Jinsoo Choi
May 30, 2024
Credit : Yura Macro

Everything is AI these days, right? Major companies like Amazon, Apple, Google, and Microsoft are aggressively announcing new services and updates. Names like ChatGPT, Claude, and Copilot are becoming general terms like ‘google it.’

However, there are also AI companies in Asia with an exceptional focus on specific areas. These startups are interested in resolving practical problems, from fishing to patient diagnosis. Since Asia is still in the early stage of AI adoption, more notable AI startups are expected to emerge shortly.

Among numerous companies are five notable AI startups with distinct founder’s philosophies, business models, and solutions. These companies will give you a better understanding of the Asian AI movement.

Seafoody: Optimizing Seafood Supplies with AI

Seafoody Instagram

Seafoody is a Malaysian agri-tech startup that uses AI to eliminate supply-related middlemen. The company was founded by a three-member team with over 30 years of experience trading seafood with distributors and wholesalers. As of this year, Seafoody is responsible for sourcing over 100,000kg of seafood for restaurants and retailers monthly.

Seafoody Instagram

“I envisioned a world where F&B businesses could directly access the freshest seafood while empowering suppliers to thrive. By championing direct sourcing, we not only elevate the quality of seafood but also empower suppliers to reach wider audiences and offer their products at fair prices.” - Samantha Ooi, Co-Founder of Seafoody 

As the founder stated in her LinkedIn profile, Seafoody is utilizing AI to improve seafood supply chain efficiency. The company’s services include notification of seafood availability, transparent sizing and pricing monitoring, and automated quality assurance. 

With a clear vision and practical solution, Seafoody received investments from VCs like Antler. The company was one of 37 startups out of 5,000 applicants, proving that the company’s solution was exceptional and competitive. Seafoody’s goal is straightforward: to shatter the stigma of seafood being expensive and inaccessible.  

EasyRice: Automated Rice Inspection for More Efficient Agriculture

EasyRice Official

EasyRice found the possibility of AI in a unique area: inspecting quality rice. The founder said he found critical issues in the nation’s rice supply chain, including errors and inaccuracy in the rice inspection process. Because rice producers have to rely solely on their eyes for examination, reducing the margin of error was difficult. This led to inefficiency in the supply process, and EasyRice stepped in. 

"By applying AI, we can elevate inspection standards, enhance accuracy and establish a strong database that can contribute to the advancement of the Thai agricultural sector in the years to come." - Phuvin Kongsawat, Bangkok Post Interview, 2023.8

Bangkok Post

EasyRice’s solutions target two key markets: inspection of quality rice and paddy varieties. With the power of AI, the startup’s products proved that they can reduce average inspection time by 60%~80%. The CEO highlights that EasyRice also ensures inspected grains' transparency and fair trade. 

So far, the Thai startup’s ecosystem encompasses more than 20,000 farmers nationwide. More than 10 million tons of rice have gone through EasyRice’s system. Based on these benchmarks, the company is expanding to Vietnam, which shares similar rice-centric food culture and industry needs. EasyRice aims to establish the world’s first AI-sourced rice export system in the long term.


See-Mode: Helping Doctors with Easier, Faster Medical Imaging

Medical imaging is a process of visualizing the human body for monitoring and treatment. The procedure is necessary for correctly identifying and diagnosing medical symptoms or conditions without harming the human body. Australian startup See-Mode is trying to revolutionize this step by applying AI. 

The founders were inspired by the fact that stroke has been the second leading cause of death and the most severe issue in disabilities that can be prevented. Dr. Milad Mohammadzadeh and Dr. Sadaf Monajemi started See-Mode in 2017 to resolve this problem.  Now, the company provides AI solutions for examining breast, thyroid, and vascular diseases. 

The Sydney Morning Herald

See-Mode’s services are exceptional when it comes to user-friendliness. The solution is cloud-based and can be integrated with existing medical systems. Users do not have to install apps or complex IT devices. The startup also proved its service’s reliability by clearance from the FDA, CE Mark, and Australian TGA Approval. With an accumulated investment of more than $1 million, See-Mode aims to expand to new markets, including Europe and the U.S.

ZOLO: An All-in-One Assistant for F&B Vendors


Food suppliers and vendors have a lot to do, from ordering required supplies to handling customers and promoting items. Singaporean startup ZOLO is attempting to tackle this hurdle with an AI assistant. The company's founders met through Antler’s executive program in 2021 and found that they are looking forward to innovating the F&B supply chain.


ZOLO’s solution provides various features that remove communication inefficiency. The first was automating plain text-based orders into a standard purchase form. Thanks to this feature, suppliers can freely enter orders into WhatsApp. The solution also provides Catalog, an all-in-one customer portal. Suppliers can create order templates per customer for faster processing. Broadcast is a marketing center for sending messages and tracking conversions. 

Based on the solution’s hassle-free experience, ZOLO contracted with Singapore’s largest food supplier in 2023. The company is planning to broaden its service areas to include payments, financing, and delivery management. 

Xendit: Making a Hassle-Free B2B Payment Network


Xendit is an Indonesia-based fintech startup specializing in simple payment solutions. Since 2015, the company has provided fintech services for small and medium enterprises, e-commerce corporates, and bigger businesses. As the company’s slogan—“one payment gateway solution for all your payment needs”—suggests, Xendit’s solution welcomes almost all payment formats, from virtual accounts to QR Codes and BNPL(Buy Now Pay Later).

Juan Gonzalez and Bo Chen, founders of Xendit, originally started Xendit as a fund-exchanging service for individuals. However, the team realized that an infrastructure was necessary for the product. They reassessed the situation, shifted their eyes to business finance, and pivoted their solution towards B2B in just a week. With a simple sign-up process and no cancellation penalties, Xendit quickly attracted small enterprises and gathered loyal customers. 


Xendit looks forward to expanding its expertise to other countries, primarily the Philippines and Southeast Asia. With over 3,000 customers, including Samsung Indonesia, UNICEF Indonesia, and Allianz, Xendit is paving its way to become an AI-integrated financial partner for Asia companies.

Written by Jinsoo Choi


*Read the other articles and delve into the landscape of rising startups in the Asia region!

10 AI startups to spotlight in Asia

10 Fintech Startups to Spotlight in Asia‍

10 Biotech Startups to Spotlight in Asia

10 ESG startups to spotlight in Asia


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Jinsoo Choi
I am a freelance editor with an exceptional interest in branding, fashion, marketing, the media industry, and cultural events. I'm also capable of deep-diving areas with zero experience, interviewing people with a focus on an individual's genuine passion and story. I aim to become an editor who can provide insights for South Korean and international readers.