An impending winter for startup investment and growth was a hot topic of discussion at Tech in Asia Singapore 2016. Strategies for how to prepare for battle were debated on the “No Winter Lasts Forever” panel – featuring Carmen Yeun of Vertex Ventures, Akiko Naka of Wantedly, and Sid Talwar from Lightbox.
Sid – in his usual straight-talking mode – told the audience that the majority of his time is utilized in helping the Lightbox portfolio grow, with the rest in deal flow. A typical investment for his firm – which usually does late stage investments – is US$8 million in series A and can range, on average, between US$15 – 17 million across multiple rounds.
“Our fortunes are directly tied with the fortunes of our companies. We put our money where our mouth is,” he said.
Carmen, whose fund is a member of Temasek, the venture capital arm of the Singapore government, clarified that they look to invest anywhere between US$3 million to $10 million, primarily in late-stage investments.
According to Sid, winter is a “very ominous term,” but it’s actually a normal part of any economic cycle. India, unlike Southeast Asia, has already experienced several winters. The positive thing to take away, Sid says, is that despite these hiccups, India continues to see money coming in. The direct impact of all this cash is that consumer behavior is rapidly changing, which would not be the case otherwise.
“Bubbles are necessary,” he added.
Sid also explained that the investor ecosystem in Asia is still in its nascent stage. There aren’t enough large local funds that are ready to put in money after a series B or C, he lamented. The ones that do are sitting far away from the region, in Europe, the US, or Russia, and they “think about the world differently.”
He drove home the point that there need to be more large investors on the ground in Asia, understanding local needs and addressing challenges.
For Carmen, the growth trajectory of Grab was a compelling example of how companies have executed efficiently and learned from these changes in consumer behavior. This shows that despite uncertain economic climates, startups can remain lean and focus on execution.
“That’s why they’re now the leader in Southeast Asia,” she added.
Akiko Naka, CEO of Japan-based social recruiting site Wantedly, said that founders can no longer think locally from day one. They need to be more mobile, flexible, and cognizant to regional opportunities, she exhorted.
Carmen explained that the ethos of her fund is to “invest in regional champions, preferably global.”
“[Successful] entrepreneurs have to sacrifice quite a bit of their personal lives. Either they’re strategizing, talking to their team, meeting with investors, or traveling, which means there’s not a lot of time left over. People need to be very nimble, they must know how to outsource things that they’re weak at.”
Read more here.
Parabo Press is a breeze to use: It’s clean and easy to read, your options are straightforward, and there are no annoying upsells. Prints from its Risograph machine, which uses soy-based ink and is described by Parabo as having “a cult following since its invention in 1980s Japan.”
“We are creating solutions specifically for the Indian rental community. For Aibnb, we are creating a separate set of packages, more attuned towards travellers, which will allow the hosts to pick and choose from these packages and furnish their house,” Ajith Karimpana
The Make in India programme needs design, in order to succeed in its fundamental endeavour. Melorra has integrated design and manufacturing with processes, people working in manufacturing are involved in product design concepts as a result delivery times are almost half those of competitors.
Red Chillies Entertainment partnered with Furlenco for its forthcoming Shah Rukh Khan and Alia Bhatt starrer ‘Dear Zindagi’. Furlenco and Red Chillies have also launched a TVC and an exclusive ‘Dear Zindagi’ store for the movie buffs.
Sub-cultures drive the products that emerge out of tech startups. Sub-cultures push the envelope on thinking about how society might develop. The ones that interest investors are those with the potential to indicate where the world could go next.
It is a combination of 50% equity and 50% debt, making them one of the largest debt funded start-ups in India. While Furlenco plans to utilise the equity component to grow its business into more cities, the debt will be used to purchase inventory.
Droom has clocked a GMV of Rs 104 crore in a short span of 19 months. They have registered over Rs 1,200 crore in annualised GMV, with plans to achieve Rs 3,000 crore by March 2017. The achievement has come despite low marketing spends at 3.75 per cent of the entire GMV.