Meet The Investors Part 1 (3)


We’re thrilled to introduce to you the first group of 6 of 18 VCs attending Female Founder Mentoring Hours on Tuesday, July 21 2 – 5pm SGT (GMT+8), mentoring 59 female tech founders to share their knowledge, advice and expertise via 1-to-1 mentoring sessions. In this post, we’ll be introducing investors from AngelCentral, Openspace Ventures, Gobi Partners, Patamar Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Jungle Ventures, with many more great VCs to be introduced in the next posts.

Read on for insights into their background, their investment strategy, what they enjoy discussing with founders and their top tips for mentoring sessions hours below!

 

Huang Shao-Ning, AngelCentral Huang Shao Ning

Shao-Ning is the Chief Angel and Partner of AngelCentral (www.angelcentral.co). AngelCentral started as a community in Feb 2017 to facilitate angel investments in Singapore. The community grew rapidly to now 600+ strong within a year, and helped raise ~6M for 30+ start-ups. Shao-Ning meets with around 5-7 startups weekly as a possible investor and also shares her experiences with some of them. The startups are mainly technology startups, with verticals ranging from Medical to HR to Education to Food Tech. Whenever she can, she tries her best to support entrepreneurship causes, especially for women executives / founders.

What is unique about Angel Central?  

We are an angel club where angel investors come together, share deals, share learnings, and where appropriate, we invest together. I started it as a pay it forward post-exit project in a way. I was spending a lot of time supporting startups, and realised the pains that startups experience with investors; and I also realised there was no structured support for investors. So we put together some ad-hoc stuff and that took a life of its own. In 2018, I decided to formalise the work, and incorporated the company. The idea behind is to help bridge good investors and good startups. So far, I think the progress has been encouraging. Our membership has dipped a little during the covid, from 140 to 130… But we actually managed to close 2 syndicates during the covid period! Beyond bridging the investors and founders, I also hope to build “nodes” that could be nodes to support other investors / founders along the way. 

What investments do you enjoy looking at?

I am sector agnostic, but I basically enjoy conversations with founders who “get it” and who are in it for the right reasons. I care more about the “inside” and motivations. and I love to learn the insights from founders (ie. if they have gained insights haha!) 

Which part of an investment do you enjoy most discussing with a founder? 

What have they learned from their customers and how such insights puzzle / excite them. 

What are your 3 top tips on how to make the most of the mentoring hours?

Actually I can only think of one: prepared agenda so that specific discussions can be made; but for people meeting for the first time, probably some good in depth mutual understanding (person, team and business progress) could be achieved. 

What advice are you giving to startups on how to navigate COVID-19? Are you giving the same advice to scale-ups (post series B)? 

At the start of covid, I asked all my portfolio companies to give a sense of “where they are” and “realistic financial projections” (sales dropped to 0). At the start, everything was just bleak and it’s important to have the “worst scenario” planned out, plus no one had answers on when we could get out of this. So the key is to conserve / extend the bank account. And really keep your feet on the ground, keep close touch with customers, while ensuring that your team is engaged and felt supported. Open conversations with the team are crucial, as they are equally lost. For the 2-3 scale-ups in my portfolio, luckily I didn’t need to advise them!! They were the ones who initiated contact to tell us what’s happening and what they were doing. And they very kindly offered to share their thoughts and conclusions with our other portfolio startups! (to clarify, these are my personal investments… Not part of AngelCentral investments… I have 33 companies in my family angel portfolio, between husband and myself). 

 

Nichapat Ark, Openspace Ventures

Nichapat Photo Website

Nichapat Ark is at Thailand Coverage for Openspace Ventures. Her key roles are to search for investment opportunities in outstanding Thailand-based startups as well as to support Openspace’s portfolio companies in expanding into Thailand. Additionally, she is also a screening committee for Bangkok Venture Club, the biggest angel investor network in Thailand, as well as Thailand Seedstars World Ambassador. She has received the Prime Minister Award for Startup Ecosystem Evangelist in 2019. 

What is unique about Openspace Ventures?

We make investments in early-stage technology companies based in Southeast Asia. Our typical investments are at Round A or B stage, where revenue traction is building and capital is required to drive rapid growth. Our existing portfolio covers B2C and B2B technologies who are accessing local, regional and global markets.

What investments do you enjoy looking at?

We are sector agnostic as a fund and I enjoy meeting founders who are super passionate about what they do, addressing pain points in the big sectors that are ripe for disruption, and offering solutions that their customers love. 

Which part of an investment do you enjoy most discussing with a founder?

Why their solutions are the winning ones. 

What are your 3 top tips on how to make the most of the mentoring hours?

1. Think about the top 3 things to be discussed.

2. Be open-minded

3. Ask for feedback and/or intros to potential customers or business partners. 

What advice are you giving to startups on how to navigate COVID-19? Are you giving the same advice to scale-ups (post series B)?

Think outside the box. It’s easier said than done. But, I have seen many decent pivots because of that. Some startups even pivot by moving to the new sector. This advice is valid at any stage of startups. It’s just that COVID-19 is the key catalyst. 

 

Nadia Fonny, Gobi Partners

Nadio Fonny Gobi

Nadia joined Gobi as the first hire for the Indonesia office back in 2016. With her Biochemistry and Biomolecular Engineering background from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Trinity College, University of Cambridge, she joined Citibank as Project Manager to implement FATCA for Citi’s SME clients in CitiBusiness and lead the department’s operational audit, Manager’s Control Assessment, followed by a stint in RuangGuru where she helps with their Business Development projects while cultivating her passion in EduTech. Nadia believes in EduTech and meritocracy in education. She enjoys intellectual conversation with strangers about new activities and intentional consumptive behavior, meditating and working out. She’s a netflix-amazonprime-appletv-hbogo binge watcher and reads 24 books a year, while learning ukulele in her free time. Nadia is heading the Indonesian operation for Gobi Partners, a pan-Asian Venture Capital with US$ 1.1b AUM. 

What is unique about your fund? 

We are one of the longest standing Pan-Asian VC firms in the region. Our focus has always been about supporting entrepreneurs in emerging and underserved markets. We are also one of the first mover from China into South East Asia, and then to the Middle East. We dedicated ourselves to serve the underserved Women founders and also invest in TaqwaTech industries.

What investments do you enjoy looking at? 

As a fund, we are sector agnostic. However, I enjoy meeting founders who have exceptional insights into solving problems in their specific industry. To understand their thorough thinking process around the problem and how they have tried to prove their hypothesis on solving the problem. I love investments that are also a social impact, focusing on middle class and solving deeply rooted mass market problems.

Which part of an investment do you enjoy most discussing with a founder? 

Operational KPI and their expansion plan, proving the unproven—can they walk the dream? 

What are your 3 top tips on how to make the most of the mentoring hours? 

Have your questions ready, do your homework, be open minded.

What advice are you giving to startups on how to navigate COVID-19? Are you giving the same advice to scale-ups (post series B)? 

Be resilient, take time to understand and assess how Covid19 has impacted you operationally and financially, always be prepared to take drastic measures and adapt. Same advice to post series B startups expanding to a new market or launching a new product :-)

 

Shuyin Tang, Patamar Capital

Shuyin Tang 2018

Shuyin is a Partner at Patamar Capital, an impact investing firm that targets risk commensurate returns for its investors while also seeking to unlock better economic opportunities for Asia’s low income communities. Shuyin is responsible for Patamar’s investing activities in the Mekong region and has led investments into education, FinTech, employee benefits and healthcare companies. She spearheads Patamar’s gender lens investing efforts, including managing one of the first gender lens investing funds in Southeast Asia, the Investing in Women Fund.

What is unique about Patamar Capital?

We have two funds that are actively investing in Southeast Asia at the moment. Here’s what makes each of them unique:

Patamar II: We’ve spent the last 15+ years backing companies serving Asia’s “mass market”, or the emerging middle class. We were the first VC firm in Southeast Asia focused solely on low and middle-income consumers. In addition, we’re strongly committed to being close to the companies we work with, and as such have in-country teams embedded in six countries across Southeast and South Asia.

Beacon Fund: This is a new fund seeded by Patamar Capital which represents a long-term commitment to changing finance to work better for women-led businesses. We’ve noticed that many of these businesses are not the ‘blitz-scaling’ (often cash-incinerating) companies targeted by traditional VC firms – and that’s not a problem, it’s an opportunity. Beacon aims to contribute to closing the gender financing gap by providing appropriate capital and support to sustainable, moderate growth companies which are not a good fit for the traditional VC model and severely underserved by banks.

What investments do you enjoy looking at?

Those companies which meet a real ‘felt need’, particularly around the underserved needs of women and girls. Women drive around 70% of consumer purchases yet this is far from being fully recognised in many of the businesses we see today. That’s a huge untapped opportunity.

Which part of an investment do you enjoy most discussing with a founder?

Why they started their company and what has kept them energised up until today. I also love hearing about a founder’s relentless quest to stay close to their customer, listen carefully to their needs, and solve their problems.

What are your 3 top tips on how to make the most of the mentoring hours?

1. Do your homework – Understand the fund’s investment strategy and recent investments they’ve made. If it’s not going to fit the fund’s mandate, don’t push it! Rather than pitching, pivot the discussion to seeking advice and/or useful introductions.

2. Come with a clear ‘ask’ – What are the specific areas of your business that you’d like feedback on?

3. Be concise – The time will fly by so make sure you leave enough time for discussion and questions

What advice are you giving to startups on how to navigate COVID-19? Are you giving the same advice to scale-ups (post series B)?

COVID-19 has been a stark reminder to all of us of one of the fundamental aphorisms of start-ups: “Don’t run out of cash!”. The outlook is very uncertain, so try to ensure you have 12-18 months of cash to weather this storm.

 

Pachara (Pinn) Lawjindakul, Lightspeed Venture Partners

Pinn's Profile Pic

Pinn is a founding member of Lightspeed Southeast Asia, a global early-stage investment fund. Prior to Lightspeed, she was at Insignia Venture Partners and Tiger Global Management, where she focused on consumer and financial technology across SEA, India and China. She worked closely with Flipkart (sold to Walmart), Ola, Policybazaar, Hike, Games 24×7, Razorpay, Uxin (IPO exit). Pinn started her career as a management consultant at Bain & Company and also founded Grab’s motorcycle-on-demand in Bangkok, Thailand. Pinn graduated from Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania with a double degree in Psychology and Finance.

What is unique about Lightspeed Venture Partners?

– Global presence – which means founders get access to a global pool of investors and entrepreneurs

– High investor to investment ratio – which means you believe in backing founders with no just money, but our time, mindshare, resources

– Contrarian – we’ve backed Snap (in the era of FB), Oyo (in the era of Airbnb), PDD (in the era of Taobao and JD)

What investments do you enjoy looking at?

Consumer and fintech space because that’s where I can add the most value 

Which part of an investment do you enjoy most discussing with a founder?

Their contrarian believes about the customers they are serving

What are your 3 top tips on how to make the most of the mentoring hours?

1. Be crystal clear on the problem you are trying to solve and solution that you are proposing

2. Come with one or two issues you think, if resolved, will help you move the needle. Let’s go deep on those.

3. Keep an open mind.

 

Yash Sankrityayan, Karissa Adelaide, My Tran, Jungle Ventures

Yash

Yash Sankrityayan is part of the investment team at Jungle Ventures, and has more than 6 years of investments experience, having led the execution of more than 10 investments across South East Asia and India. He has been recognized as Asia’s 30 under 30 investment leads by Forbes Asia in 2020.

Karissa (1)

Karissa has 3+ years of experience in the VC space focused on the Indonesia market. She was previously with United Nations Development Programme, Angel Investment Network (ANGIN), Spiral Ventures & Venturra Discovery.

My Tran

My focuses on growing Jungle’s coverage and presence in Vietnam, Philippines and Thailand. Before joining Jungle, My spent one and a half years at VinaCapital Ventures, which is the largest local VC firm in Vietnam and focuses on pre-A and A stage investments. In this role, she covered various sectors with key focus on social commerce, logistics and ed-tech. 

What is unique about Jungle Ventures?

Jungle is Southeast Asia’s largest independent venture capital firm. From our  headquarters in Singapore, we have worked with the region’s most exciting founders to build high growth, capital-efficient technology companies that are Build to Last. Our portfolio includes category defining businesses like Livspace, Kredivo, Reddoorz, Paysense (acquired by Naspers), and Moglix among others. We focus our investments and commit to the businesses we invest in. When it comes to choosing our founders we have the courage of our convictions. We follow the facts & form meaningful partnerships with a select few founders with the determination to scale sustainable business models

What investments do you enjoy looking at? 

As a fund, we’re sector agnostic, we look into companies that we think make sense for our key markets.

Which part of an investment do you enjoy most discussing with a founder? 

The founder’s vision for the company, and how their company can solve existing problems.

What are your 3 top tips on how to make the most of the mentoring hours?

1. Come in prepared – prepare questions/ areas you want mentoring in

2. Take each piece of advice and modify it based on your company’s needs – investors are here to share their two cents based on their experience/ what they see in the market, but as founders, you’ll know what’s best for the company,

3. Take every feedback as constructive in nature

What advice are you giving to startups on how to navigate COVID-19? Are you giving the same advice to scale-ups (post series B)? 

Strive to be Contribution Margin positive on every transaction, make sure CAC payback period is within sensible time frames (it differs company to company) and control your burn rate

What advice are you giving to startups on how to navigate COVID-19? Are you giving the same advice to scale-ups (post series B)?

Assume covid will last till mid 2021. Act today. Yes, same advice for scale-ups.

To read about tips and tricks on how to impress the mentors, check out A Guide to Getting to What You Want written by Alexandra Baranowski from Playfair Capital. 

Do keep an eye on our LinkedIn and Facebook pages and blog for updates!

If you’re a male founder and would still like to pitch us, please submit your application for funding on our portal here.