How do we work with you?
As an active, early-stage investor, we allocate substantial time to each new company post-investment by only doing 6 new deals each year. We act as your trusted advisors supporting you in all aspects of running a business. To help you grow, we put special emphasis on your and your co-founders’ personal development.
We enjoy that you are proactive and clearly state what you need from us; in return we will work relentlessly to deliver. We always seek to build long-term partnerships so that we can support you in both good and bad times.
How do we source deals?
Always on the lookout for the best founders in Southeast Asia, you can find us at events, conferences, demo days and at our monthly mentoring sessions that we do around Southeast Asia. We look for resilient and focused founders who are not afraid to fail forward. Our own founding experience has taught us that a seed-stage startup is a work in progress, so we are more interested in where you are going than where you are at right now.
What are we looking for?
The best teams have the right mix of deep knowledge & the ability to hustle their way through.And they enjoy working together, understand that success takes time, and can manage risk and stress.
We are relaxed and informal but we can also be pretty straight shooters if required. As hands-on investors, we enjoy working committed teams who are ready to listen, learn and test.
We generally invest in companies where we believe an exit could happen in 6 to 8 years. This means your market size has to be large enough and that there has to be potential buyers of your business.
Whether a copycat or an original idea, your business needs to be scalable in a sufficiently large market and be able to reach critical mass within the next 5 years.
We believe investors do a better job if they stay focused. Therefore, we primarily target enterprise & deep tech companies. We believe these verticals have the largest chance of success in the current market environment.
While we invest in startups across Southeast Asia, companies have to agree to incorporating a holding company in Singapore before we close the deal.
“After four years as a founder, I can honestly say that there is no better education on being an entrepreneur than life itself. Having said that, no matter how able or smart one might be; we never know it all. Which is why having a mentor is so important for all entrepreneurs. With Michael, whilst we share the same overall vision and values, naturally there are times where we have different points of view – which I see as a positive rather a negative as a mentor must not only advise, but challenge us to be best we can be. In all I am very grateful for all the time and help Michael has spent with me, and I have a great deal of respect for what he has accomplished not only as an investor but as an entrepreneur. I hope other founders would consider having him onboard as I believe he has helped not only the company, but steered me to become a better CEO.”
How does it work?
We typically invest from S$500k to S$1m, depending on how much your company needs for an 18-month runway.
If your pitch deck interests us, you’ll be contacted for a follow-up meeting. We will then do due diligence on all the information provided and if everything goes well, we will sign a term sheet. The process then typically takes 8 to 10 weeks until the investment is completed.
Keeping it confidential
We commit to keeping your application and all information shared with us confidential. However, we only sign non-disclosure terms as part of our term sheet and will not sign a separate NDA (Non-disclosure agreement) prior to that. This is standard practice across most institutional investors.
“Go-to advisor to call when you need sound-sounding-board. I expect Michael to look at topics from long-term, communication and governance perspectives which is sometimes difficult to focus for early stage startup CEOs with no prior experience.”
What are the terms?
We don’t have any strict ownership requirements but we usually target to own more than 20% of the business after the first round of investment.
Leading the round
We invest in a limited number of start-ups each year with a high degree of involvement in leading and coaching the teams. We therefore prefer to lead the seed rounds we participate in.
We always require at least one board seat for all our seed investments. However, we still find that most of our work with our portfolio companies happens outside the board room.
“The best investors are the ones who support you even when the chips are down. We were able to steer through the 2008-2009 downturn only with the help and guidance of Will, who not only helped us put together a bridge round, but also provided much needed moral support to keep us on a growth trajectory.”