Last week, Valencia from ANGIN team went to one of the largest PE and VC conferences in Asia, hosted by DEALSTREETASIA. The two-days event (11/09-12/09) was filed with a series of impressive panel sessions, keynote interviews, fireside chats, and a lot of networking opportunities.
It was a noteworthy opportunity for ANGIN team to witness a number of notable figures, from unicorns’ C-level (i.e. Paytm’s Vijay Shekhar Sharma and Grab President Ming Maa) to leading women VCs (i.e. GGV Capital Managing Partner Jenny Lee, Qiming Ventures Partner Helen Wong, Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund Executive director Cindy Chow, etc.), took the stage and generously shared their experience and insight to other ecosystem players in the Asia market.
Here are some interesting insight we got from the event:
Qiming Ventures Partner Helen Wong:
- Entrepreneurs should be careful not to overprice themselves. It has to make sense. Startups have to do the math. Helen shared her experience of discovering Indonesian startup gave a very high valuation in comparison to comparable Chinese startups. Too high valuation can be a turn off for many investors.
- Entrepreneurs have to be more careful on the whole funding environment that comes in cycle. If startups continuously choose to burn significant amount of money without understanding the existing and upcoming state of funding ecosystem (for example, Series B crunch), they might run out money before they manage to raise another follow-on funding
- Entrepreneurs have to be careful about strategic money, as it comes with its own agenda. Strategic investors want to push what fits into their strategy (for example, expansion to e-wallet, payment). Therefore, entrepreneurs should be careful to ensure they can pursue their own long-term strategy and avoid becoming just a pawn in the game
GGV Capital Managing Partner Jenny Lee:
- Amidst more competitive market, you need to always educate yourself and stay ahead of the game. VCs need to identify competition and always educate themselves (by always learning from the market, interacting with the entrepreneurs, etc.) to stay ahead and to be the first choice of all others.
- VC-entrepreneur fit is important. Based one experiences with 40+ unicorns under GGV, Jenny said none has gone up straight; they are successful because they continue to solve problems. GGV is there for entrepreneurs during their ups and downs, hoping that they are their first call. With a long-term commitment ahead, it is important to check common vision with the CEO.
- VCs need to build empathy with the founders. No entrepreneurs want to deal with the boards, same goes to VCs. It is important to be people person, to build empathy with the founder and be partner along their growth journey.
- Do not let your personal life and preference influenced investment decision. One of VCs’ mistakes is to get influenced by what they personally feel and believe. For example, if you never pay for game, you assume the world won’t pay for game.
- Do not complain about the skyrocketing valuation. If you deliver values, the CEOs will recognize that and you can come in at the right time. What also important is that when investors come in, you also have the ability to allow the company to go to the valuation that makes sense. Other than betting at the right market and right timing, VCs also need to help CEOs. If you re investing in a number 2 players in the market, get number 1 and number 2 to merge. It is not a passive job.
Alpha JWC Co Founder and Managing Partner Jeffrey Joe:
The obstacle of growth in Indonesia is not the low internet penetration, slow bandwidth, funding gap, infrastructure or logistics, but the participation of non digital economy. At the moment, the participation of non digital economy is still less than 5 percent. Tech startups that are dependent on the offline businesses won’t succeed unless these offline businesses move online.
Openspace Ventures Founder and General Partner Shane Chesson:
The Series B crunch is not true. 12 out of 13 Openspace Ventures’ portfolio companies had received series B funding. However, it is worth to note that it takes effort right from the beginning when you put your series A money. From knowing which metrics to track to build relationship with potential series B investors and all these stuffs, they need to start early.
Asia PE-VC Summit 2018 was well attended by hundreds of prominent VCs, PEs, startup founders, and relevant stakeholders from all across Asia and beyond. Its next event will be organized in Jakarta in December.