Show cover of Understanding VC

Understanding VC

Understanding VC is a deep dive on how Venture Capitalists work. The focus of the show is to provide entrepreneurs and technology enthusiasts experiential and actionable insights to have a collegial work relationship with VCs.


UVC: Pavel Cherkashin from Mindrock Capital on how the fund operates, the prediction model they use to make investments and his mystical Hack Temple project
In this episode, you will learn:Pavel’s journey of building a web development company straight out of universityHow hard was it for Pavel to move to the US from  Russia and start a venture fund?How does Mindrock Capital operate and the value it provides to its investors?How does the prediction model at Mindrock Capital that evaluates the probability of a startup’s success work? What are its data points?What is the Hack Temple project, the reason why Pavel started it and why it's a mystical project for him?Implications of the war in Ukraine on Mindrock Capital and how they have managed to cope with it AboutPavel Cherkashin is the Managing Partner at Mindrock Capital. At Mindrock, Pavel is responsible for it's vision and strategy. He oversees over $1B in AUM. Earlier in his career, Pavel held senior positions at Microsoft Russia, Adobe Systems and Siebel Systems. He founded several IT companies that were acquired by leading global organizations and managed two early-stage venture capital funds.
44:08 11/01/2022
UVC: Chirag Gupta from 8X Ventures on investing in deep-tech startups in India and beyond, what Industry 4.0 could mean for the developed and the developing world, and why a ‘Founder-CEO’ is not the b
In this episode you will learn:Why did Chirag start 8X Ventures instead of staying as a VC at 500 Global?Why is 8X Ventures based in Dubai?How does 8X Ventures compete with VC funds that are geographically closer to the deep-tech startups in Europe and US?Why does 8X Ventures invest in only deep-tech startups?According to Chirag, why have VC firms (which initially started with deep-tech investments) now diversified into other sectors?Why should deep-tech startups choose 8X Ventures over other VC funds?What does Industry 4.0 mean for the developed and developing world?Why does Chirag think that Founder-CEOs aren't always the best option for a deep-tech startup in the long term?AboutChirag Gupta is the Managing Partner at 8X Ventures, a Deeptech-themed venture capital firm. He invests in startups that will lead disruptive technological innovation and create sustainable value for industries and economies. Before 8X Ventures, he held various positions at 500 Global, Careem, McKinsey, PwC/Strategy& and Korn Ferry. Chirag holds an MBA from the University of Chicago: Booth and Nanyang Business School. He studied Business Analytics at Harvard University (with Harvard scholarship).
46:53 10/12/2022
UVC: Maryanna Saenko from Future Ventures on investing with an abundance mindset, 3 questions she asks while assessing a deep tech startup and future of food and energy
In this episode you will learn:Why does Future Ventures invest in only technology risk startups?Can a venture fund afford to build a portfolio of just deep tech startups while giving good returns? If so, how?Maryanna shares why she invests with an abundance mindset and why it’s important.3 questions that Maryanna asks herself while looking to invest in a deep tech startupHow does Future Ventures support the startups they invest in?2 reasons why deep tech startups originate in and around universitiesWhy does Future Ventures have a fund life of 15 years instead of the traditional 10 years?Why does Future Ventures operate with a tiny team and not follow the service model that many large funds employ, and is it sustainable?What does Maryanna think about the future of the food industry and energy?AboutMaryanna Saenko is an early-stage venture capitalist with an interest in robotics, quantum computing, blockchain, aerospace, and the future of food. Previously she was at Khosla Ventures, and prior to that at DFJ, where she worked with Steve to focus on frontier technology investments. She was also an investment partner at Airbus Ventures where she led a series of venture investments strategically aligned with Airbus’ future-of-aerospace initiatives. Before Airbus, Maryanna was a consultant at Lux Research and a research engineer at Cabot Corporation.Maryanna graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a BS in BioMedical Engineering and a BS and MS in Materials Science and Engineering. 
64:46 10/10/2022
UVC: Mark Ghermezian from m]x[v Capital on his operator focus approach in investing, the reasons for starting his newly launched fund, building Braze, leading it from ideation to IPO & signs of a grea
In this episode you will learn:How did Mark convince his co-founders to work on his idea of Appboy (Braze) when they were building a different product at the time?As a founder, what is the hardest thing that Mark had to overcome while building Braze?What was Mark’s experience of raising a bridge round for Braze like? According to Mark, what percentage of startups end up raising a bridge round, and what percentage actually figures this out from the seed round?What does Mark really mean when he says, “never underestimate your competitors but at the same time don’t chase them”?Why did Mark raise the m]x[v capital fund? What are its focus areas in terms of stage, geography and sector?What makes a great investor? What are some do’s and don'ts of early-stage investing? Would a great founder in a not-so-good market succeed?What are the signs of a great founder or a great founding team according to Mark? What can the founding team do to attract great talent?What are some of the benefits of an ‘operator focussed approach’ in investing?What is the future of the cloud and what are some of the areas in the cloud where you find great opportunities to build businesses?AboutMark Ghermezian is a serial entrepreneur and successful investor with 20+ years of experience in founding, building, and investing in early-stage SaaS startups. Before becoming the Founder and General Partner at m]x[v Capital, Mark co-founded Braze (BRZE) and led the company as its founding CEO, pioneering a new category from ideation to IPO (Braze IPO’d in November 2021). As an angel investor, Mark was an early investor in companies such as Nutanix, Lattice, Thoughtspot, Rubrik, and Riskified, along with 50 other investments, primarily focused on SaaS, experiencing several IPOs, unicorns, and successful exits. At m]x[v Capital, Mark is proud to be a mentor to his founders and entrepreneurs, offering his experience and expertise to help their companies find the same success.
38:14 09/29/2022
Deep Dive: The Power Law with Sebastian Mallaby
In this episode, you will learn:Silicon Valley’s open and sharing culture and the role VCs had in its makingThe mindset of a VCThe role VCs played in making companies like Apple what they are todayVCs who’ve stood out to Sebastian while researching for the bookBill Gurley and his investment in Uber + how he understood that network businesses are lucrativeWhat is the solution for growth investors coming in and spoiling the market?Why taking risks as a VC shouldn’t equate to writing checks with minimum due diligenceThe importance of network embeddedness + preparedness for a VC3 things to do to remain at the top as a VCAboutSebastian Mallaby is the Paul A. Volcker senior fellow for international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). He is an experienced journalist and public speaker and contributes to a variety of publications, including Foreign Affairs, the Atlantic, the Washington Post, and the Financial Times, where he spent two years as a contributing editor. He is also the author of five books, most recently The Power Law: Venture Capital and the Making of the New Future.
57:20 09/21/2022
PitchMeNot: Michael Blakey from Cocoon Capital featuring Blackfrog
AboutMichael BlakeyMichael Blakey is the Managing Partner and co-founder of Singapore-based venture capital firm Cocoon Capital. Set-up alongside Will Klippgen in 2016, Cocoon adopts a hands-on, founder-first approach to early-stage investing. Before this Michael was an entrepreneur and since 2000 was a full-time angel investor who was named ‘UK Angel Investor of the Year 2015’, selected as one of the Maserati 100, and classified as a "Business Angel you should know".BlackfrogBlackfrog Technologies Pvt. Ltd. is a Manipal, Karnataka, India-based technology startup company that seeks to improve the efficiency of immunization supply chains. We have developed a patented system for precision cold-chain and vaccine traceability with support from BIRAC (DBT) and leading impact investors in the nation including Venture Centre (NCL, Pune) and Social Alpha to provide logistical support in the last-mile delivery of vaccines.Emvólio is a portable, battery-powered refrigeration device that will strictly maintain any preset temperature for over 12 hours for the last-mile transport of vaccines. Emvólio’s 2-litre capacity enables it to carry 30- 50 vials, which is standard for a daylong immunization campaign. Further device capabilities include continuous temperature monitoring, location tracking, state-of-charge indication, communication with headquarters via live tracking, and vital statistics for improved coverage.
19:14 09/14/2022
UVC: Aly Madhavji from Blockchain Founders Fund on the similarities and differences of investing in Web3 startups when compared to SaaS startups, risks of tokenisation and the influence of VCs on Web3
In this episode you will learn:Why did Aly start a VC fund focussed on Web3 and other emerging techsWhat are some of the differences and similarities of investing in Web3 companies when compared to SAAS companies?What are the risks of tokenisation?“If you have a good social media presence or an audience, Web3 startups would want your money.” How true is this statement?What are some of the transparency issues in web3 startups?Can venture capital move away from the current partnership model to a DAO model in the future?Is Jack Dorsey right when he says VCs control Web3?AboutAly Madhavji 穆亚霖 is the Managing Partner at Blockchain Founders Fund which invests in and venture builds top-tier startups. He is a Limited Partner on Loyal VC and Draper Goren Holm. Aly consults organizations on emerging technologies such as INSEAD and the UN on solutions to help alleviate poverty. He is a Senior Blockchain Fellow at INSEAD and was recognized as a “Blockchain 100” Global Leader by Lattice80.He is an internationally acclaimed author, publishing three books and a monthly columnist for the leading blockchain magazine. Aly serves as a board member of CryptoStar Corp. (TSXV: CSTR), Soluna Holdings (NASDAQ: SLNH) and has served on various advisory boards including the University of Toronto’s Governing Council, which manages a $2.5B budget. He is a mentor with Chinaccelerator, an elite accelerator program operated by the venture fund SOSV with $1.1B+ AUM and the Mobile Only Accelerator (MOX).Aly holds a Master of Global Affairs as a Schwarzman Scholar from Tsinghua University (清华大学), a Master of Business Administration from INSEAD (Singapore and France), and a Bachelor of Commerce with Distinction from the University of Toronto.
39:14 08/24/2022
UVC: Eddy Chan from Intudo Ventures on why Indonesia only, Intudo's concentrated portfolio approach and why building a VC firm is like building a startup
In this episode, you will learn:Why is Intudo Ventures an ‘Indonesia-only’ venture capital firm?Intudo Ventures is an independent VC firm, ie no single LP owns more than 10% of the fund.  Why is this important?How is Intudo’s team consisting of just nine people set up and operate to ensure they support all their portfolio startups well?According to Eddy, why will his ‘concentrated portfolio’ approach give better returns as compared to the ‘index’ investing approach?What is a commercial-operational dependency moat?Why does Intudo primarily focus on B2B or B2B2C startups instead of B2C startups?What does Eddy mean when he says that Intudo looks for non-contentious companies?Why does Eddy believe that building a VC is like building a startup?AboutEddy Chan is a founding partner of “Indonesia-only” Independent venture capital firm Intudo Ventures with over US$230 million in committed capital, that acts as the Indonesia beachhead strategy for dozens of leading institutions, funds and family offices from the United States, Europe, and Asia and supports the “digital transformation” strategy of dozens of Indonesian conglomerates.Intudo portfolio companies include Xendit, Pintu, Halodoc, TaniHub, Kargo, PasarPolis, BeliMobilGue, Nalagenetics, Yummy Corp., and more.Eddy works closely with top Indonesian “Pulkam S.E.A. Turtles” and local Indonesian talent via professional and student associations and has been featured as a speaker at the annual Harvard Asia Business Conference (2019-2022), MIT Asia Business Conference (2020-2022) and Southeast Asia MBA Weekend (2018-2022).Prior to co-founding Intudo Ventures, Eddy worked on venture investments in startups since the late 1990s, including PayPal, Palantir, and Affirm, founded and operated venture-backed technology companies with operations in Silicon Valley and Asia, practiced corporate/M&A law and worked as an investment banker.Eddy holds a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, where he was a Global Law Scholar, and a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley’s Walter A. Haas School of Business.
46:40 07/24/2022
PitchMeNot: Jeevan Sunner from Playfair Capital featuring Waitrr
AboutJeevan SunnerJeevan graduated from UCL in Pharmacology where she spent time in clinical settings spanning healthcare and academia. She thereafter joined PwC's Insolvency and Restructuring department, implementing turnaround and restructuring projects for large corporates during crisis. After completing her ACA Chartered Accountancy qualification, she moved to PwC's Commercial Innovation team where she worked with 20+ B2B SaaS startups whom she supported throughout their Series A fundraises. Jeevan is co-creator of startup podcast, When Unicorns Fly, and has interviewed guests from Seedrs, Antler, Innovate UK, Indiegogo and Lakestar. Jeevan joined Playfair in September 2020. She works closely with portfolio companies, sources and leads deals, and co-leads Playfair's D&I initiative: Female Founder Office Hours. She was recently shortlisted on Sifted's Top 30 Young Venture Capitalists list. Outside of Playfair, you can find Jeevan on the squash court or with a camera in hand. She is dog mum to our office pooch, Cassius.Waitrr provides contactless QR ordering & payments technology to restaurants, cafes, bars & hotels in seven countries. Customers scan QR codes to order food & drinks, and make payment, all from within their phone’s browser (i.e. NO app download required). Orders go straight into the POS, without the need for manual entry. Waitrr’s partners reduce their manpower costs, increase average ticket sizes and increase table turns, increasing profits by more than 15%. 
20:55 07/20/2022
UVC: Insik Rhee from Vertex Ventures US on the skillsets, values, and dynamics of a great team, the role of the board, and who should be a part of it & the reason for the current VC funding winter
In this podcast episode, you will learn:According to Insik, what are the values, skillsets and dynamics of a great team? What should be the ideal size of a founding team?What are some things that the startup founders don’t understand about VCs?When should startups think about forming a board, what is the role of the board and who should be a part of it?What is the role of a board member and an advisor?How does Insik assess a company that works with data; for example, a company working on data security for the cloud?What is an investment thesis and how do you come up with it? Do investors really need an investment thesis?What is the reason for the current VC funding winter and why a correction like this is needed for the startup ecosystem?AboutInsik is a General Partner at Vertex Ventures US and is a former founder of Loudcloud and Kiva Software, companies that helped shift enterprise technology categories. At Vertex US, he works with founders who are pursuing advancements in data science and machine learning, enterprise process automation, and real-time infrastructure.Prior to Vertex US, Insik served as General Partner at Rembrandt Venture Partners where he led investments in A Bit Lucky (acquired by Zynga), CloudOn (acquired by Dropbox), and Ooyala (acquired by Telstra). Before that, he was a Partner at Accel Partners, here investing and advising companies including Cloudera, Couchbase, Facebook, Mochi Media (acquired by Shanda), and Terracotta (acquired by Software AG).As the Co-founder and Chief Tactician of Loudcloud, which later was renamed Opsware, Insik helped create the cloud computing paradigm and the data center automation software category.Loudcloud IPO’ed and then was acquired by HP in 2007. His first company, Kiva Software created the Application Server Market market. Enterprises such as E*Trade, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo developed their first online sites using Kiva. Netscape acquired Kiva in 1997 for $180 million.He is currently on the boards of Testlio, Interana, Zepl, Cyberhaven, Evisort and Upsolver and holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from UC Berkeley and currently serves on the university’s Executive Advisory Board for the College of Engineering. 
44:28 07/17/2022
UVC: Joan Yao from Kickstart Ventures on venture philanthropy & how it’s different from traditional VC, the state of digitization of consumer and enterprise experience in the Philippines, and traits o
In this podcast episode, you will learn:What is venture philanthropy? How is it different from a VC fund?What is the investment thesis at Kickstart ventures? What has Kickstart’s journey from its first fund right up to the recent (third) fund been like?Why does Kickstart invest in startups throughout the globe as opposed to the conventional approach of VC funds of focusing on particular geography?Are big conglomerate businesses better off investing in startups or having an internal innovation team?Over the years, how far has the Philippines come when it comes to the digitization of consumers and enterprise experience? How big can the digital economy in the Philippines be in the coming years?Social movements or trends (in the startup world) that Joan thinks have a lot of growth potential in the Philippines or globally in the coming years like B2B e-commerce, agriculture, healthcare, and educationJoan answers the question ‘What are the traits of a great founder?’ by mentioning various factors such as being able to build a team, being humble, open-minded, decisive with a strong point of view about a particular thing, the one who understands the market and its requirement and the one who considers himself responsible enough for taking wrong calls and yet pivoting a way out of itWhat are some ways in which the Philippines startup ecosystem has improved over the years?AboutJoan Yao is the Vice President of Investments at Kickstart Ventures Inc., the corporate venture capital arm of Globe Telecom. Prior to Kickstart, she was Investment Manager for Southeast Asia at LGT Venture Philanthropy, a global impact investing firm headquartered in Europe. For six years, Joan was primarily responsible for the sourcing, screening, execution, and management of LGT VP’s deals in the region. In 2015, she served as a consultant to the Secretary of Trade and Industry of the Republic of the Philippines, advising on policies and programs related to MSME development, tech startups, inclusive business, and social enterprise.
47:52 06/26/2022
UVC: Do Bui from ThinkZone Ventures on why they work with just 10 startups in a year at ThinkZone accelerator, progress that the Vietnam startup ecosystem has made in the last 10 years and ways good p
In this episode you will learn:Why was becoming a VC a more appealing decision for Do instead of just continuing to build startups? How did the factors such as his ten years of work experience in building and growing startups, working with big corporates, and understanding how investments work affect his decision?What are the challenges that he faced and the lessons that he learned along the journey of building his first business - different are today’s startup founders from Do’s generation ten years ago? How has the startup ecosystem in Vietnam changed in terms of knowledge base, VC investments, opportunities, per capita GDP of the consumer base, etc?Why are all the limited partners in Thinkzone’s second fund local Vietnamese? How is that advantageous for the fund?Why does Do work with just five startups at a time at Thinkzone accelerator? Why is the due diligence process one month long?What are some of the difficulties facing startups and VCs that can be solved with better public policies?AboutMr. Bui Thanh Do is the Founding Partner & CEO of ThinkZone Ventures, Vietnam's largest local-resourced venture fund with $60 million in fund size, investing in technology startups from Pre-Seed to Series A in various verticals. Before founding ThinkZone, Do Bui had more than 11 years of experience in startups and startup-support activities in the field of technology. He has also operated as a C-level leader in many large companies and corporations.Vice President & CPO of Five9 Vietnam - One of the leading companies in Vietnam in telecommunications, big data, and providing a credit-scoring platform for banks with more than 50 million USD in annual revenue.Co-founder of TechElite (with its products including &, CCO of Co-Well Asia - One of Japan's leading IT solution providers with more than 500 engineers.A former manager at Microsoft Vietnam, one of the first members of Money Lover (a personal financial management application with more than 10 million users
35:35 06/12/2022
UVC: Joseph Mocanu from Verge HealthTech Fund on interesting innovations in healthcare tech, 3 strategies that startups can use to ace fundraising and why it’s important for startups to do competitor
In this episode you will learn:Why Joseph started a VC fund specializing in healthcare?What are some of the interesting innovations happening in the three areas of focus for the healthcare tech industry namely prevention, diagnosis,and absolute cure?3 strategies that startups can use to ace fundraisingWhy it’s important for startups to do a competitor analysis before approaching VCs and how startups can do it well?If a VC withdraws a term sheet, who looks bad? The VC or the startup?What were the challenges that Joseph faced while raising capital for his VC fund and the lessons he learned?Why is Joseph interested in investing in healthcare startups focusing on respiratory health?Can we ensure that this is the last pandemic? If not, how can we do things better in the future?AboutJoseph Mocanu is an angel investor and the founding partner of the Verge Healthtech fund focusing on seed-stage healthcare technology companies relevant to emerging markets based in Singapore. He was born in Romania, and he was a scientist researching new cancer therapies, a medical device entrepreneur, and a management consultant for Oliver Wyman where he led life sciences and digital health across Asia before he started his journey as an investor.
44:08 05/25/2022
Deep Dive: Startup fundraising with Nathan Beckord
In this episode you will learn:What is FounderSuite? What are the ways in which FounderSuite facilitates fundraising?Why FounderSuite over spreadsheets?How did Nathan redirect his entrepreneurial spirit to create a SaaS product aimed at entrepreneurs?How can founders lookout for clues for a good founder-VC fit?What’s the roadmap for a founder to materialize their ‘dream team’?What’s the right way to make yourself conspicuous in the industry before approaching your A-list investors?How to deal with rejection and contradictory feedback from various investors?How valuable are Investor Updates to propel a startup’s growth prospects?How can founders get a quicker ‘no’?The seasonality of fundraising in the westAboutNathan Beckord is the CEO of a venture-backed company that makes the leading “funding stack” (investor database, CRM, pitch deck hosting, and Investor Update tools) for startups raising capital. Since launching in 2016, users have raised over $3 Bln in seed and venture capital.Prior to starting Foundersuite, Nathan spent ten years working with over 150 startups as interim CFO, Business Developer, and Advisor. Nathan has an MBA in Entrepreneurship, a BSC in Finance, and is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). In his free time, he enjoys sailing, traveling, and riding motorcycles.
44:09 04/12/2022
UVC: Jeffrey Paine from Golden Gate Ventures on the importance of research for VCs, the flawed approach of copy-cat founders, and the urgency to discuss the suppressed issue of entrepreneurs’ debilita
In this episode you will learn:What is the key quality required in an entrepreneur or VC entering 2022’s breakneck technology sector?Can speed of execution be an appropriate criteria when tracking a startup’s progress?How do VCs navigate the equivocality of a business’s input and output?What is the one hubris that usually afflicts entrepreneurs?How has abundant capital hampered the process of decision-making in startups?Why do most copy-cat founders end up chasing their own tails?Jeffrey’s estimation of the importance of mental health and skill coaching for founders and employeesWhy is there a staggering proportion of entrepreneurs who helplessly suffer from mental health issues? Is this a business-specific phenomenon or a fog hanging over all of society?Why is immunity to disappointments a superpower for founders when they are just starting off?Does a high management fee diminish the intangible incentives that are requisite for motivating a VC for calculated progress and returns?AboutJeffrey Paine is a Co-founder and Managing Partner of Golden Gate Ventures, an early stage technology venture capital fund based in Singapore investing in Southeast Asia with over US$175 million under management investing in over 45 companies since 2012.Jeff started and manages the Founder Institute in Singapore where he is currently overseeing its expansion in Southeast Asia, and Japan. Since 2010 the Founder Institute in Singapore has graduated over 100 companies. He is a recipient of the Founder Institute Director Award 2012 for “Greatest Ecosystem Impact” Worldwide (Singapore).He is a Singapore native and graduated with a Bachelors of Business Administration (Information Systems) from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
38:18 03/24/2022
UVC: Hian Goh takes us through Openspace Ventures, the reasoning behind his The Unreasonable Podcast, and ‘magic’ that grows businesses
In this episode you will learn:Hian’s meandering journey from Singapore to England, from computers to law, and how he ended up becoming an investment banker.Why does Hian liken entrepreneurs to underdogs? How can entrepreneurs transcend the underdog mentality?The success story of Kumu, a Filipino video sharing and e-commerce social networking serviceHow does the face-off between tradition and innovation complicate decision making in VCs and startups? What is the best way to tackle such a situation?What was Hian’s vision for creating the The Unreasonable Podcast?Why does Hian ascribe immense importance to humanizing VCs? What personal efforts has he made to meet that end?What’s the best way to sift through and imbibe feedback?Hian’s definition of a ‘magical’ productHow and why does Openspace nurture largely variegated expertise?Openspace’s data-driven approach to investing which employs active intelligenceAboutAs a co-founder of Openspace in 2014, Hian has worked side-by-side with Shane Chesson to build the firm and lead significant investments. He sits on the Investment Committee, focuses on new growth strategies, and represents Openspace on the Boards of some of our fastest growing investments, including Kumu, Nutrition Technologies, Love, Bonito and FreshKet.He also led the first institutional fundraising round for Gojek. He has a great deal of practitioner experience having founded and built Asian Food Channel, a 24-hour pay TV channel, which was sold to US media giant, Scripps Interactive in April 2013. He is currently active on the Board of the Singapore Science Centre and sits on the A*STAR portfolio management committee.Hian holds an MBA from INSEAD Singapore and a Law Degree from Trinity College, Oxford.
56:54 03/19/2022
UVC: Jessica Liu from Appworks Ventures on their accelerator program, the emergence and implications of current digital developments for businesses and investors, and some tips to be on time at the We
In this episode you will learn:Jessica Liu’s journey from Associate in charge of the accelerator to a Partner at Appworks, a platform that connects investors and businesses, acting as an integral catalyst in Taiwan’s VC ecosystem in addition to being a venture fund.What is the equity-free Appwork Accelerator Program? How does it offer support and guidance to founders?The importance of the ‘dating period’ for the sustenance of a startup-VC relationship.Which domains is Appworks looking to invest in? What does Appworks’ portfolio spectrum look like?Jessica’s idea of ‘founder exchange’, one of Appworks’ best strategies to boost founders’ growth and optimize outputs. Appworks’ customized method of mentor-mentee relationship building, while staying clear of the matchmaker role.As an industry expert, what does Jessica think about the emerging possibilities of Web3? How would the ongoing digital revolution change the startup and investment landscape?AboutJessica is a Partner leading our efforts in Southeast Asia and the region’s burgeoning blockchain ecosystem. She loves helping visionary founders realize their full potential. Jessica has been active in the digital industry since 2010, starting her career managing online marketing for Standard Chartered Bank’s cross-selling strategies before joining AppWorks in 2014. At AppWorks, Jessica has been closely watching the development of consumer internet applications, especially as they intersect with the increasing ubiquity of deep technologies. She previously served as an Associate in charge of our Accelerator and Southeast Asia initiatives amongst many other major projects before becoming a Partner in 2019. Jessica received her B.B.A from the University of Southern California. 
29:20 02/21/2022
UVC: Yinglan Tan and Linh Dang on the entrepreneurial journey of Edmicro with Insignia Ventures Partners, Linh’s insights on the Vietnamese ed-tech matrix, and Yinglan’s perception of the product-serv
In this episode, you will learn:What is Edmicro’s macro approach in handling the Vietnamese ed-tech ecosystem?How does Edmicro add value to the education sector?What is the reasoning behind Edmicro’s predominantly B2B approach?How has technology and accessibility reformed the Vietnamese education system?Why do Linh and Yinglan ascribe as much importance to founder-product fit as to product-market fit?What are the key elements of a sustainable startup-VC relationship?What are the intricacies of Venture Capital as viewed from service-oriented and product-oriented perspectives? Are these two facets of VC complementary or contrastive?What were the factors that facilitated not just a tenable but an amiable relationship between Insignia and Edmicro?AboutYinglan TanYinglan Tan founded Insignia Ventures Partners in 2017. Insignia Ventures Partners is an early-stage technology venture fund focusing on Southeast Asia and manages more than US$450 million from sovereign wealth funds, foundations, university endowments and renowned family offices. Insignia Ventures Partners is the recipient of “Deal of the Year (Small Cap / VC)” for Ajaib (2021) by AVCJ and two back-to-back “VC Deal of Year” awards for Payfazz (2019) and Carro (2018) from the Singapore Venture Capital and Private Equity Association and its portfolio include many other technology leaders in Southeast Asia. He also co-hosts the On Call with Insignia Ventures podcast, where he chats with portfolio founders and regional investors. An author on venture capital, startups and innovation, he recently published his fourth book, Navigating ASEANnovation (World Scientific, 2020). He also serves on the International Board of Stars – Leaders of the Next Generation, the Singapore Government’s Pro Enterprise Panel and is a Board Member at Hwa Chong Institution.Linh Dang BaoLinh Dang Bao is the CEO and co-founder of Edmicro. He is a seasoned operator in Vietnam’s education sector, having worked several years driving adoption of Intel Vietnam’s edtech solutions across the country through partnerships with government agencies and schools, prior to starting Edmicro. He took up his PhD in the Netherlands before he returned to Vietnam.
23:21 02/14/2022
UVC: Swapna Gupta from Qualcomm Ventures India on the fund's consistent success in India, their QWEIN initiative to overcome gender disparities, and changing trends in the Indian startup ecosystem
In this episode, you will learn:Swapna's journey towards becoming a VC, and how her culture, upbringing, and work experience influenced the processHow is Qualcomm any different from other corporate VCs in the industry? How does their portfolio thesis set them apart?Qualcomm's fulfilling journey with MapMyIndia, culminating in its stellar IPO performanceHow should founders practice prudence while utilizing capital, and intangible resources? An illustration of ShadowfaxWhy is Qualcomm particularly interested in logistics and supply chain startups? How can better infrastructure fully tap this sector's potential in India?What is Qualcomm Women Entrepreneurs India Network? How does it aspire to motivate women entrepreneurs in Deeptech?What are some inequalities and prejudices miring the Indian startup ecosystem?What are the changing trends in the Indian startup industry? What composes its potential as a global investment market?AboutSwapna Gupta is a Director at Qualcomm Ventures India, based out of the Bangalore office. She manages investments across all sectors in the technology related ecosystem. She spends a significant amount of time building a high-quality deal pipeline, executing deals and portfolio management. She has led and manages investments in companies such as Locus, Zuddl, Shadowfax, Ninjacart, Stellapps, Moveinsync and Reverie (Acquired by Reliance) among others. Prior to joining Qualcomm, she was part of the Investment Banking team at EY, India where she concentrated on Private Equity and M&A of Technology/Telecom companies. She is also part of class 25 of the prestigious Kauffman fellow program.
32:10 02/07/2022
UVC: Joshua Agusta from Mandiri Capital Indonesia on Corporate VCs, the shifting landscape of Indonesian startup ecosystem, and the hallmark unpredictability of Venture Capital
In this episode, you will learn:What was Joshua's first working experience and how did it propel him to enter the world of VC?What are some of the prejudices that lead VCs to lose out on great startups?What are the two types of founders? Is one better than the other?What are the characteristics of a great entrepreneur?The one question that no one tells you to ask yourself before fundraisingHow does Mandiri Capital add value to its portfolio companies?What is Mandiri Capital's 'Inclusive Incubator Program'? How can it benefit you?What are some of the changing trends in the Indonesian startup ecosystem? How can entrepreneurs and investors steer its wheels in the right direction?AboutJoshua is an experienced tech investor in Indonesia. He has 8+ years of experience in the venture capital industry and has been managing a total of 6 funds to date. He is currently serving as Director of Venture Funds in Mandiri Capital Indonesia - the corporate VC arm of Bank Mandiri, which is the largest corporate bank in Indonesia. He is responsible for leading fundraising and investment operations of Mandiri Capital’s new venture fund vehicles.Prior to Mandiri Capital, Joshua was the Vice President of Investments in MDI Ventures, corporate VC arm of Telkom Indonesia. Under his tenure, he led MDI Ventures’ investment department and managed to achieve a track record of 9 exits in 6 years of fund life with 100% DPI and managed to source 3 unicorns (startups with valuation > US$1Bn). Besides investment activities, Joshua is also actively involved in industry and market research where he co-led MDI Ventures' 2 whitepaper publications. Joshua holds a bachelor's degree in Economics (Cum Laude) from the University of Indonesia and was inducted into Forbes Asia 30 under 30 2021 in Finance & Venture Capital category. Notable deals: Kredivo, Mobile Premier League, Payfazz, PrivyID, Bukalapak, Whispir
32:56 01/11/2022
UVC: Michael Lints from Golden Gate Ventures on later-stage fundraising, the questions worth preparing for well in advance, and a 2022 vision for southeast asian startup ecosystem
In this episode, you will learn:How did Michael’s four years at ING Insurance fuel him to explore entrepreneurship?The coincidence that introduced Michael to venture capital, and made him a partner at Golden Gate Ventures.What are the parallels and differences between fundraising as a fund manager and as a founder?What are the nuances of identifying suitable investors for series A and B fundraising?Why should founders pitch to only a handful of their choicest VCs when they are starting off?What is the technique for getting certain and prompt responses from investors?Why does the need for diversification of investors on your cap table increase with every succeeding stage?What are the introverts’ strengths which have the potential of building a prolific and responsive network? How can one network effectively without speaking in front of crowds?Michael’s speculations about the evolution of the Southeast Asian startup landscape in 2022, and some measures that founders should start takingAboutMichael Lints has over 20 years of experience helping innovative businesses obtain the resources, insights, and expertise they need in order to be successful.  Michael has been a startup operator, investor, and mentor, and is currently a Partner at the Singapore-based venture capital firm Golden Gate Ventures.  He joined the firm in 2013 and is currently leading growth venture efforts, which include LP fundraising and portfolio management for Golden Gate Venture's investments at Series B and beyond.Michael’s entrepreneurial journey began in 2000 when he co-founded an IT managed services startup in Europe that was acquired by a large data and telecom company six years later. In 2007, Michael founded a venture fund focused on Dutch small- and medium-sized enterprises to help them with capital financing, business development, and strategy. During the same period, he was invited to join the Economic Development Board Rotterdam as Vice Chairman. In that role, he launched the Young Economic Development Board where he brought together a highly influential Dutch network to develop a sustainable framework for public-private relationships that increased local business investment while leveraging the public infrastructure.Michael has helped support firm and portfolio-level priorities that have spanned fundraising, capital allocation, and corporate development.  He has helped to raise over USD $60M for Golden Gate Ventures and its portfolio companies, including helping to raise later stage rounds from external investors as well as leading two early strategic acquisitions.Outside of work, sport is an essential part of Michael’s life. He is a former member of the Dutch karate team and the former ambassador for Treknology (Trek bikes distributor in Singapore). Michael actively participates in Ironman 70.3 races and marathons. He is also passionate about social justice and uses sport as a vehicle to raise awareness for important issues such as civil rights, economic opportunity, and education. Besides sport, Michael is an active writer and writes articles regarding life, balance, and venture capital on
36:35 12/31/2021
Deep Dive: Strategy for VC fund growth and portfolio development with Brian Ma
 In this episode, you will learn:The distinction between responsibilities handled by fund managers, LPs, and foundersWhy is fundraising harder for VCs than it is for founders?How can you set your VC fund apart?A comparison between the portfolios of LPs and VCsParallels between the roles and responsibilities of emerging managers and foundersWhat are the implications of fund size on fund strategy?Why is it better to keep your portfolio concentrated?What is the relationship between TVPI, graduation rate, and returns?What is the process of recycling money? Why is it important?AboutBrian Ma is a partner at Iterative Capital and 3x founder turned investor. Brian was previously founder and CEO of Divvy Homes ($2B valuation), Weave (YC S14, acquired), and Decide (Series C company, acquired by eBay). In non-existent spare time, Brian enjoys dog parks with his german shepherd mix, rides on his motorcycle, and aping into interesting crypto projects.Iterative is a YC style accelerator focused exclusively on Southeast Asia by the founders of Divvy (a16z, GIC), Weave (YCS14), and Decide (acquired by eBay) who have collectively raised $100M+ in VC. Iterative invests US $150K into early stage startups twice a year then works with them intensely for 3 months culminating in a Demo Day. Founded in 2021, Iterative's mission is to increase the GDP per capita of Southeast Asia through entrepreneurship.
31:35 12/23/2021
UVC: Prayank Swaroop from Accel Ventures on the Accel Atoms Program, the 5 Why(s) requisite for predicting a startup’s chances of success, and the one quality shared by all smart founders
In this episode, you will learn:Prayank’s journey from IIT Delhi to becoming a VCHow did Prayank discover venture capital as a complete beginner? How did his missed opportunity with Flipkart lead him to Accel?What are some unique customer acquisition and retention strategies that Accel’s portfolio companies employ?Why does Prayank give precedence to NPS while evaluating product-market fit?What is the Accel Atoms Program? How does it aim to aid founders?What are the 5 Why(s) that Prayank asks before choosing any startup?Do founders really get to pick and choose between different VCs?What is the B2B thesis of Accel?What is the one quality shared by all smart founders?What are Accel’s plans for Southeast Asia?Prayank’s take on the evolution of the Indian startup ecosystem, the pros and cons of arriving a little late to the party.AboutPrayank is a Partner at Accel, and joined the firm in 2011. He focuses on cybersecurity, developer tools, marketplaces, and SaaS investments. Some of the investments led by him are - Aavenir, Bizongo, Maverix, OnsiteGo, Securden, Slintel, Skeps, and Zetwerk. Prior to Accel, he worked at Adobe and Standard Chartered Bank in India and Singapore. He held positions across engineering, product marketing, pre-sales, and product management. Prayank is from Ghaziabad. He has an integrated master's degree in Mathematics and Computing from IIT Delhi and an MBA from the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad. 
37:38 12/16/2021
UVC: Erwin Arifin from on bridging the gap between founders and VCs, their method to rate the investability of a startup, and the dynamics of reverse pitching in increasingly compe
In this episode, you will learn:What is StartupIndonesia? What are the services it provides to founders and VCs?How relevant is the founders’ background to the fate of their startup? What comprises that background?What do SID points signify for startups? What are the factors that affect these points?How does StartupIndonesia facilitate more compatible matches between startups and VCs?What is the foremost indicator of a startup’s potential according to most VCs?What motivates VCs to reverse pitch to certain startups?What is the Indonesian market lacking despite the presence of ample capital?What are the ways soonicorn companies can expand their markets and eventually turn into unicorns?AboutErwin is the Head of, an online market database and intelligence platform that connects Indonesian founders with investors. He was formerly an Investment Analyst at Angel-eQ – an angel investor’s network, before joining DBS as the Innovation Manager of Digibank. In 2018, Erwin was invited as one of the 35 international delegates at the ASES Summit by Stanford University. Afterwards, he then took the role of Project Manager of Idbyte Esports 2019, a biennial tech event by
31:48 12/06/2021
Deep Dive: What you should know about early stage venture capital with Jyri Engeström
Jyri's deck - What You Should Know About Early-Stage Venture CapitalJason Lemkin's tweet that started this discussion.In this episode, you will learn:The mechanics of early-stage VC, their 2 and 20 compensation structure and the brutal math of VCWhy do VCs raise new funds every 2-3 years?How are rolling funds and evergreen funds different from traditional VC funds?What is a capital call and why don't VCs hold a lot of cash in the bank?Why is it important for VCs to negotiate pro rata rights with startups?Why was minimum ownership in a startup traditionally important for VCs and what are the reasons that seems to be changing?What are the different approaches VCs adopt to support their startups with better alignment?What is the most consequential decision that you would make when building a startup?How does building products and services for growing social movements create multi-billion startups?Why do early-stage firms succeed by saying 'Yes' more than saying 'No'?AboutJyri Engeström is an early investor in Unity, Dapper Labs, Oura, and many other successful companies. Together with his partner Caterina Fake he runs Yes VC, an early stage firm based in San Francisco. Before starting Yes VC he founded two companies. The first one sold to Google, the second one to Groupon.
68:40 11/29/2021
UVC: Chris Smith from Playfair Capital on his transition from law to venture capital, the 2Bs of an ideal pitch deck, and ways VCs can harm startups
In this episode, you will learn:What are the pivots that propelled Chris’s successful transition into a VC?What are the three crucial stages of fundraising that Chris deems indispensable?What are the 2 Bs that every founder should keep in mind while creating their pitch deck?Story of how the founder of Continuum Industries  reached out to Chris and chased him during a conference to pitch him and raise fundingIs fundraising really as easy as people make it out to be?How should VCs allocate their time investment to their two customers - LPs, and founders? How does Playfair do it?What are some of the ways in which VCs can harm startups?Why does Chris prefer a hybrid work structure at a time when most companies are going completely remote?What are the pros and cons of investing in Europe and SouthEast Asia? Is one better than the other?AboutChris is Managing Partner at Playfair Capital, a Kauffman Fellow (Class 25) and a Contributor to Forbes.He focuses his investing activities on seed (and pre-seed) deals in the UK, Europe and Israel. Chris is particularly interested in autonomous transportation, business and industrial automation (especially through AI, ML and computer vision), HealthTech (except diagnostics and therapeutics) and B2B SaaS. He loves finding companies operating in unloved/overlooked sectors that are ripe for disruption.Prior to joining Playfair, Chris held senior roles at including Sales Director, Head of Tech/BI and Head of Product Development. He was the 8th member of the team and over a 5 year period built an award-winning sales team, introduced new products (organically and through acquisition) and lead the rollout of version 4 of the platform. Revenues grew to £50m in 2018 and the company ranked #1 in The Sunday Times Tech Track 100.In addition to his roles at, Chris worked on the re-launch/re-branding of Vannin Capital (another Bramden Investments' portfolio company which was acquired by Fortress Investment Group LLC in September 2019).Chris executed 14 angel investments across the UK and US from 2008 to 2018 with five exits to date including SuperAwesome (acq. Epic Games), Nearbuy Systems (acq. RetailNext) & Bidstack (LON:BIDS). He is passionate about investing in tech companies and supporting founders using his extensive operational and legal experience.In his previous life, Chris spent nearly a decade in the City as a transactional lawyer. He has worked with some of the world’s leading private equity and venture capital funds on predominately international acquisitions, disposals and restructurings. At Weil, he spent time on secondment to the Silicon Valley office’s patent litigation team, UK-based food manufacturer Premier Foods and the Asset Protection Agency.He also setup a telecoms business offering discounted international calling from 14 countries in 2001 which he partially exited via an MBO in 2005. 
38:37 11/23/2021
UVC: Aldi Adrian Hartanto from Arise, MDI Ventures on his “language of business”, why being a genius is not a prerequisite for success, and Arise’s unique model of due diligence which goes beyond a si
In this episode, you will find out:Aldi’s early real-life experiences which fanned his interest in understanding financeAldi’s experience working with Japanese LPs. What are the differences and similarities between their approach in business and that of other Asian countries?What was the driving force which led to the establishment of Arise, a fund in limited partnership with MDI Ventures?How has the business of innovation evolved over the last decade? Have VCs been able to keep up with this evolution?Why does Aldi not endorse the “spray and pray model”? What is his alternative strategy? How is it beneficial to founders trying to raise early stage funds?Arise’s robust due diligence structure which ensures a business relationship based on not just trust and faith, but also facts and data.Aldi’s concept of “venture indexing”. How is it better than good old venture investing?Why should startups have a sound budgeting and finance model? How can Arise help them achieve that?What is Aldi’s method for filtering the best investment prospects? How is it different from the general approach of “investing in founders, not companies” which prevails in startup ecosystems?What is a Corporate VC? Is it the devil it is made out to be, or do we lack the conceptual understanding of how VCs operate?Where does Aldi see the Indonesian market a couple of decades down the line?What is Aldi’s personal value system which encourages him to continue his journey as a VC?AboutAldi is the Partner at Arise, an early-stage VC fund in partnership with Telkom Indonesia-backed MDI Ventures and Bank BCA-backed Finch Capital. Arise enables the next generation of startup founders to scale up and build a real business with interesting tech in Southeast Asia.He is also the Vice President of Investments at MDI Ventures, an $830 Million AUM Global Multi-Fund VC Firm investing in local founders. Aldi is leading the overall global investment activities to focus on seed-to-growth equity stage startups across 5 Funds and 3 Offices (ID, SG, USA) with portfolios that represent 12+ Countries including 3 Unicorns (Nium, FinAccel, and MPL) and leading Centaurs such as PayFazz (YC S17), aCommerce, SiCepat, ObserveIT (Exited to Proofpoint), Wavecell (Exited to 8x8), RDP (Exited to PayU Naspers), Whispir (IPO at ASX), and Geniee (IPO at TSE).Prior to MDI Ventures, he was in charge of setting up, leading, executing, and managing investments of a Silicon Valley-based Venture Capital firm in the SEA region and #1 Fintech focused VC arm of Indonesia largest Corporate Lender with top SEA portfolio which includes Alodokter, Investree, Koinworks, Amartha, Bridestory (Exited to Tokopedia), Moka (Exited to Gojek), Urbanindo (Exited to Jurnal (Exited to Mekari), Talenta (Exited to Mekari), and Cashlez (IPO at IDX).Recently, Aldi was awarded as the only GCV Powerlist Top 100 from SEA region among other top global CVCs such as Softbank, Intel Capital, GV, M12, Naspers, Tencent Investment, and Alibaba Innovation Ventures.
50:05 11/10/2021
UVC: Tu Ngo from Touchstone Partners on her first startup YOLA, her journey towards becoming a VC focused on macro-changes, the perks of working with early-stage startups, and the Touchstone Fellowshi
The episode will answer:What’s the quest which commanded the trajectory of Tu’s brilliant career?What did Tu learn from her first internship at a VC firm?Tu’s working experience with VietAbroader, a student-run non-profit organization whose commitment for promoting sustainable development aligned with Tu’s personal quest since college.What were the challenges that Tu faced while building her first startup, YOLA? How did she manage to overcome them?What is Tu’s criteria to identify the right co-founders and investors?What are the factors which promote positive team-building in an early-stage startup?What are the perks of working as an early-stage startup employee?What is the Touchstone Fellowship Program?Which sectors does Touchstone focus on while investing?What are the ESG principles? How have they dictated Tu’s growth as an entrepreneur and an investor?AboutTu believes everyone has an inner potential but opportunities are not equally distributed, hence as a startup founder, VC investor and community builder, she wants to build solutions to enable especially young people, entrepreneurs and women to grow their skillsets and lead their own lives. She's the co-founder and Chairwoman of YOLA, a leading online-offline English education services company in Vietnam and the founding General Partner of Touchstone Partners, an early-stage US$ 50 mil VC fund focusing on Vietnam with interests in education, healthcare, consumer tech, hardware and climate action related solutions.
41:08 10/20/2021
UVC: Binh Tran from Ascend Vietnam Ventures on the founding story of Klout, his investment in Axie Infinity, building a culture that serve as a magnet to attract exceptional performers and the one ski
This episode will answer:The founding story of Klout, “a Google for people”, where Binh was a co-founderBinh’s participation in pioneering the Vietnam startup ecosystem Why does Binh think that the Southeast Asia tech industry has a promising future?How did Binh become one of the first investors of Axie Infinity, currently the most successful blockchain game in the world? Being a founder, how can you employ and lead people who are smarter than yourself?Why does Binh attribute immense importance to culture-building and expansion? How do founders build cultures that serve as a magnet to attract exceptional performers?What are the differences between the story founders must present to their employees, customers, and investors in order to garner faith and interest?How can you hit the sweet spot when it comes to time invested in fundraising? How can you optimize operations and fundraising simultaneously?Why is fudging the numbers a severely mistaken technique to impress investors during fundraising? Can it bring any benefit at all?AboutBinh Tran is the co-founder and General Partner of Ascend Vietnam Ventures, a seed stage venture capital firm investing in Southeast Asia's next wave of market leading tech companies that begin their journey in Vietnam. Prior to Ascend Vietnam Ventures, he was the co-founder and General Partner of 500 Startups Vietnam, the first tech focused seed stage VC firm in Vietnam. Prior to that, Binh co-founded Klout, the Kleiner Perkins-backed social analytics company in San Francisco that was acquired for over USD$200M. Binh has completed over 50 seed investments since 2012 and currently resides in Ho Chi Minh City.
51:12 10/13/2021
UVC: Adrian Li from AC Ventures on parallels between triathlons and startups, being a venturepreneur and his ‘barbell balance’ technique for work-life balance
This episode will answer:Why is Adrian drawn to developing markets like China and Indonesia? What role does technology play here?What motivated Adrian to develop Idapted, a one-on-one English test preparation platform for Chinese students? What were some of the challenges he faced in the process?What is Adrian’s science of hiring, and what inspires it?Why does Adrian refer to himself as a “Venturepreneur”?What is AC Academy? How does AC Ventures aim to  educate entrepreneurs through it?Why doesn't Adrian endorse the Chinese 996 work culture?What is Adrian’s Barbell Strategy to achieve work-life balance?How does Adrian compare a triathlon with the evolution of a startup? What are the ways to reach the finishing line?What is Adrian’s perception of the Indonesian tech startup ecosystem, its qualities, and shortcomings?AboutAdrian Li is Founder and Managing Partner at AC Ventures, a merged fund between Agaeti Ventures and Convergence Ventures. ACV is an early stage Indonesia focused technology venture capital fund. ACV manages 3 funds with a portfolio of over 80 businesses. Some of their noteworthy investments include Payfazz, Koinworks, Julo, Carsome and M17. Previously, Adrian has also been the co-founder of several ventures in Indonesia and China. Adrian’s 1st Internet venture was Idapted where as CEO & cofounder he raised 2 rounds of venture financing and led the company to be the largest live one-on-one online English test preparation service  in China. Adrian is also passionate about non-profit work. He founded and chairs a UK Charity called CNYTrust, which supports children in rural China to continue schooling. He is a business mentor at several organisations including Endeavour, Founders Institute and Antler. He has served on the board of Entrepreneurs Organisation in several roles including Beijing Chapter President and Regional Communications Director. He is also a member of Young Presidents Organisation (YPO) in Indonesia. Being a master of several trades, Adrian is also a sponsored endurance athlete, ranked in top 5% in his age group for Ironman 70.3 distances. He has completed several marathons in New York, London, Tokyo and Beijing & triathlons including a full Ironman. Adrian graduated from Cambridge University with a BA and MA in Economics and MBA from Stanford while studying in the dual degree MBA & Education MA program. He is currently enrolled in the Tsinghua OBOR EMBA program. Additionally, he is a Kauffman Fellow in Class of ‘21. He speaks Mandarin and English fluently and is proficient in Cantonese and basic Bahasa.
36:16 10/06/2021