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: 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 mins
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 michaellints.com.
36 mins
Deep Dive: Strategy for VC fund growth and portfolio development with Brian MaUVC: 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
37 mins
UVC: Erwin Arifin from StartupIndonesia.co 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 competitive markets like IndonesiaDeep Dive: What you should know about early stage venture capital with Jyri EngeströmUVC: 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 plan.com 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 plan.com, 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 mins
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 simple pitch or product idea
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 99.co) 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 mins
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 Fellowship Program for founders
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 mins
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 skill to do right by your investors, customers & team
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 mins
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 mins
UVC: Rajesh Sawhney from GSF Accelerator - Do IITians have unfair advantage in tech startups? Should founders be money-magnets or talent magnets? How to crack the love-code with your customers?
This episode will answer:What does Rajesh mean by “build a company, not a startup”?What are Rajesh’s thoughts on GSF India’s 80% portfolio founders being IITians? Is this a result of unequal opportunities?What are the three green-flags that investors look for in founders?What are the dos and don’ts of making a startup pitch? How can you optimize your pitch by employing both facts and emotions?In what ways does GSF India support its portfolio companies apart from monetary investment? How involved should the investors be in a company’s administration?Why is creating market disruption an important element for generating profits?What are the non-commercial problems that plague startups during the early stages? How to deal with them?What’s the right way to build your core team? Why is it preferable for founders to scout employees from their immediate network?What is the reason behind Rajesh’s intensive interest in early-stage and Series A investing? AboutRajesh Sawhney is one of the leading angel investors in India, with an impressive record of nurturing over 100 startups. He is the founder of GSF, India’s leading tech startup accelerator which provides initial capital, mentorship, and global exposure to entrepreneurs and founders.His current portfolio consists of successes like Whatfix, Quizizz, Slintel, FlintoClass, Citymall, and more. Rajesh serves on multiple boards, including that of Indiamart (India's target B2B marketplace) and Ixigo. Previously, he was on the boards of Microland and Nielsoft on behalf of Trident Capital, a prominent venture firm based in Palo Alto, California. Rajesh is an alumnus of the Harvard Business School (AMP), and has a fellowship from the London School of Economics.
54 mins
UVC: Aloke Bajpai from ixigo on dealing with a crisis like COVID, how startups can create a great work culture, how late stage fundraising is different from seed & series A, and how startups should think about going for IPOUVC: Vy Le from Do Ventures on their 2 investment models, automated reporting system that they use to support their portfolio companies and the qualities of a great startup team
Vy Le is the Co-founder and General Partner of Do Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm that focuses on making investments in information technology companies in Vietnam and Southeast Asia. The fund is looking for pioneers with a desire to create disruptive products that can bring about outstanding values to society. Vy is an innovative serial entrepreneur with extensive experience in operations and keen insights into the Vietnam market. At 13, she founded TmSpeed Network, specialized in web development and hosting service. In 2010, Vy founded Chon.vn and served as CEO, developing the platform into one of the most popular online fashion shopping centers in Vietnam. In 2014, she exited Chon.vn to Vingroup, the largest private conglomerate in Vietnam. She then served as the CEO of Vingroup’s e-commerce subsidiary, Adayroi.com, and successfully scaled the company from scratch to reach a few hundred million USD in revenue. Throughout her career, she is known as an innovative leader with an outstanding ability to inspire employees and facilitate teamwork, creativity, and productivity.Vy graduated as Valedictorian from Georgetown University (United States). She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Finance.Key Takeaways2 investment models(B2C & B2B) of Do VenturesQualities of a great startup team and red flags for VyHow DO ventures use a data-driven approach in tracking their portfolio companies’ progress and optimise their supportVy’s approach to advising startups and helping them overcome setbacksTech trends that Vy is watching both in Vietnam and the rest of Southeast AsiaWhy she is excited to be part of Vietnam’s transformation into a major tech hub
32 mins
UVC: Martin Tang from Genesis Alternative Ventures on venture debt, how it’s different from revenue based financing and dos and don’ts for startups raising a venture debt roundUVC: Hsu Ken from Iterative VC on his journey as a founder, importance of quick validation of your hypothesis while building a product, and about Iterative, a YC-style accelerator focused exclusively on Southeast Asia
58 mins
UVC: Olivier Raussin from FEBE Ventures on why VCs should have a founder first approach, how FEBE support their portfolio companies and why he decided to setup the fund in VietnamUVC: Sony Joy from Truecaller on his entrepreneurial journey with Chillr and MobME, major trends in fintech especially credit and why growth is key to a successful fundraise
Sony is a serial entrepreneur who founded multiple startups in the telecom & fintech space. His first startup MOBME was founded while he was half way into his engineering degree back in 2006. MOBME monetised a bouquet of B2B & B2B2C products in the telecom space, creating employment for hundreds.  His last startup Chillr, founded in 2013, was funded by Sequoia, Blume & Uniqorn. Chillr was the pioneer in seamless inter-bank mobile payments years before UPI & during this stint, he worked closely with numerous banks including the likes of HDFC Bank, Bank of Baroda etc.In 2018 Chillr was acquired by Swedish HQ Caller ID app Truecaller, post which he has been heading Truecaller's fintech arm. More recently, he took responsibility of building the Enterprise Business vertical for Truecaller from the ground up. It's now an extremely fast growing business unit that's operating like a full fledged SaaS company and is focused on making business communication safe & efficient. The division already boasts of hundreds of active clients across BFSI, Fintech, EdTech, Healthcare, Automotive etc and is becoming an indispensable tool for businesses that rely on telephones as a communication channel.Key TakeawaysSony shares his entrepreneurial journey founding MobME with friends in college and innovations they brought in the telecom and banking industryThe insightful Chillr story including its founding, Series A fundraising, and strategic reasons behind selling the business to TruecallerSome of the biggest lessons from Chillr and how Sony managed the Truecaller acquisition processWhy growth is the key for a successful fundraise for any startupWhy you should be prepared to spend a significant amount of your life(7-10 years) when you decide to build a startupMajor trends in fintech especially credit and why financial data is the key to building inclusive products and services
51 mins
UVC: Anand Datta from Nexus Venture Partners on why calm is a superpower, importance of product communication and why lending is a business of collections
Anand is passionate about helping entrepreneurs build high impact enterprises in Fintech, InsureTech, Education, Logistics. With a background in operations at high growth companies, Anand is keen to help start-ups with his experience. He believes in the immense scope that “Bharat” presents for innovative India specific models.Anand was an entrepreneur and business leader prior to joining Nexus. He was a founding team member of MagicPin, a hyperlocal deal discovery platform. Most recently he was heading New Market P&L and Growth across Asia for BIMA (Milvik) – a global insure tech company. Previously Anand worked with Bain & Co. as a strategy consultant where he advised Technology and Consumer Goods companies in India and Silicon Valley.Anand holds an MBA from IIM Ahmedabad and B.Tech from IIT Kharagpur.Key TakeawaysHow a background in consulting has helped Anand in his career as an entrepreneur and a VCWhat is first principle thinking and how you can apply it to solve large problemsWhy ‘being calm is a superpower’ for a founder going through the topsy turvy journey of building a startupWhy founders should focus on communication as part of their product’s distribution, marketing, customer onboarding, customer support, and how startup teams can develop their communication skills2 startup pitches that stood out out for Anand, the core questions a startup should be answering while pitching to VCs & control rights to keep in mind while working with a VCWhy lending is a business of collectionsChallenges of a category building business and why your story matters more than anything else while you are building a category building businessHow the Indian tech ecosystem has matured and why now you see startups building products for the global marketsWhy lesser the regulation, the better for the tech ecosystem and why the next 10 years is going to be a golden period for the Indian tech ecosystem
43 mins
UVC: Prachi Sinha from Axilor Ventures on healthcare tech startups in India, how Axilor is unique and common fundraising mistakes