Asia VC Cast explores the minds of the experienced venture capitalists and seasoned entrepreneurs to navigate the sophisticated but exciting world of venture capital. Daniel together with a special guest each week present unique perspective and insights to startup investing & fund-raising across different countries in Asia.
This week’s special guest is Hussain Elius from Pathao. Elius is the CEO and Co-Founder of Pathao, a Bangladesh-based technology company providing on-demand ride-sharing services, logistics, and food delivery on its platform. Elius started Pathao to address the notorious traffic in Dhaka, the most densely populated city in the world. With only five bikes then in 2015, his friends would call him for their delivery services that were manually scheduled on an excel sheet. Located in a city without a bike or cab culture, Pathao thrived under the pent-up demand for such a service. Today, Pathao is seen as a pioneer in the Bangladeshi startup scene and has expanded to Nepal, handling more than 40 million transactions since it was founded in 2015. Under Elius’ leadership, Pathao has grown from a lean team of five people when they started to over 600 employees and 200,000 registered drivers as of 2019.
This week's special guest is Helen Wong from Qiming Ventures. Helen was ranked among Top 100 VCs in China and Top 25 female VCs in China in 2018 by Forbes. Past investments/ exits include Mobike (acquired by Meituan), Lagou (acquired by 51jobs), Ruhnn (Ticker: RUHN), Luojisiwei (audio platform). She is currently responsible for investments targeting overseas markets including Clubfactory (cross border ecommerce focused on India), Pratilipi (online literature in India), Akulaku (SE Asia consumer financing), RedDoorz (SE Asian budget hotel chain), and Chinese investments such as Jingling (social ecommerce) and Motianlun (secondary ticketing platform). Helen is a long time venture capitalist and spent 11 years at GGV Capital. She was an early investor in Tudou (merged with Youku). She was also involved in the investment of Alibaba. She received degrees from Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business, INSEAD, and Oxford University.
This week’s special guest is Sonat Yalcinkaya from SoyakaAI. Sonat is founder & CEO of Soyaka AI, which is building Shox, the first social commerce app of Southeast Asia powered by Artificial Intelligence. Prior to starting SoyakaAI, Sonat was head of global eCommerce for Midea Group between 2015-2018 and Amazon key account manager for Philips 5 years before that. He is also the author of the book " 3-Months Online Store: Build Enterprise Level Online Store Under 3-Month.
This week’s special guest is Herston Powers from tryb Group. Herston is a Principal at tryb focused on investments, portfolio management and investor relations. Prior to joining tryb, Herston was Head of Southeast Asia and India Business Development for The Bank of New York Mellon (BNY Mellon) in their Investment Services division. In 2015 he was relocated to Singapore to establish their presence and lead their Southeast Asia and India strategy.
Together, we discuss how APIs will impact fintech and the growth of services in Southeast Asia. He also walks us through the evolution in both distribution and acquisition in the rising tide of new fintech and how it has impacted the valuation of startups. Hope you guys enjoy this one!
This week’s special guest is Joel Leong from Shopback. Joel is the founder and heads the merchant partnership at ShopBack, a one-stop lifestyle portal that powers smarter purchase decisions for consumers. A go-getter and a world class negotiator, he is responsible for driving deals and partnerships to bring the most rewarding shopping experience for ShopBack's users. Joel holds a Bachelor of Social Sciences from the National University of Singapore and hailed previously from Zalora and the Economic Development Board of Singapore.
Together, we discuss how Joel came to found Shopback and how the business has evolved over the years. He shares why data-driven, customer-centric mentality is at its core at Shopback and how they measure everything that matters from the perspective of return and certainly the perspective of their customer.
This week’s special guest is Lee Bagshaw, a partner at Simmonds Stewart, a leading boutique law firm providing corporate and commercial advice to technology companies and investors in New Zealand, Australia and across Southeast Asia. Lee is one of the most well-known venture capital and tech lawyers advising start-ups and VC funds in Southeast Asia. He has advised on over 300 financing and M&A transactions in the region in the last few years and before that worked in London for a global law firm. Lee has considerable expertise on seed investments, series A, B and larger financing rounds, and therefore has great insights on regional trends when negotiating equity investment documents, convertible notes or venture debt financings. Last year, Lee released an interactive video series on how to negotiate a series A term sheet in Southeast Asia
In this podcast he shares his perspectives from both sides of the table having advised startups and VC funds in Southeast Asia. He also explains also how Simmonds Stewart engages with the ecosystem through content marketing, most recently with the release of the map of the funding terms, a tool to track typical investment terms at different stages of a company’s life cycle in Southeast Asia, and its free online consult.
This week’s special guest is Vikas Nahata from Validus Capital. Vikas is the Executive chairman and co-founder at Validus Capital, a leading peer-to-business lending platform backed by Vertex Ventures that connects growing SMEs to accredited investors and financial institutions. Before starting Validus Capital, Vikas served as the Joint Managing Director of Urbana Bengal NRI (BNRI). Additionally, he co-founded four different start-ups in the financial services, telco and manufacturing sectors.
Together, we discuss what about the peer-to-business lending sector that excites Vikas so much and his take on P2P lending in Southeast Asia and where it's headed. Also, he shares his story on establishing partnership with Visa as an early stage startup and his advice for founders when seeking corporate partnerships early on. Hope you guys enjoy this one!
This week’s special guest is Jussi Salovarra from Antler. Jussi is the co-founder and managing partner at Antler, a startup generator and early-stage VC that turns the world's top talent into great founders of great companies. Their hands-on approach enables top talents to team up with the right co-founders and develop and scale their ideas. Before Antler, Jussi was the Vice President at Nokia’s headquarter in Helsinki and also had his experiences built across working with promising international companies such as McKinsey, Deloitte and Morgan Stanley.
Together, we discuss Antler's unique approach on accepting applicants as individuals, not a team to their 6 months program. After having to meet hundreds of aspiring founders, Jussi shares his thoughts on why having a co-founder is like a marriage and what qualities to look for in a co-founder. Also, he gives advice to entrepreneurs who are struggling to find that one perfect idea and emphasizes his belief on why Execution eats ideas for breakfast!
This week’s special guest is Ambar Machfoedy from Rekanext. Ambar is the Managing Partner at Rekanext, an early stage VC fund focused on regionalising startups across Southeast Asia through their experiences and network. Previously, Ambar was a consultant with Massachusetts-based Monitor Company and before that, with Accenture. Also, He has been an Adjunct Professor in Marketing, initially at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, and since 2008 at the NYU Stern School of Business. So please join me in welcoming Ambar from Rekanext.
Together, Ambar walks us through Rekanext’s investment thesis as well as his outlook on investment interest from China and his observations on the Philippine startup scene. Also he shares his unique approach on holding round table discussions with founders and how VC firms can implement investment decision process that is both rigorous yet innovative. Hope you guys enjoy this one!
This week’s special guest is Dmitry Levit from Cento Ventures. Dmitry is the Founder of Cento Ventures, and is responsible for overseeing all investment and fund activities in Southeast Asia. Dmitry formerly served as an advisor to several investment groups and corporations pursuing technology and media opportunities across developing Asia. Prior to that, Dmitry was also part of the investment team at IDG Ventures and spent several years in DB roles with Yahoo! Southeast Asia.
Together, we take a deeper look into Cento’s latest SE-Asia Tech Investment Report that highlights the record amount of $7.3B that was invested during the first half of 2018 and growing interest in the potential for Southeast’s tech startups. Also as one of the pioneers in investing into Fintech in the region, Dmitry shares his insights from backing 2C2P early on and his learnings on how the Fintech landscape has shaped into what it is today.