In episode 310, Justin Hall, partner from Golden Gate Ventures joined us in a conversation to discuss the state of venture capital in Southeast Asia. Justin shared his career journey in how he progressed from an associate to a partner within one of the well-known venture capital firms in Southeast Asia and explained what he has learned over the years from working with startup founders and companies. From there, Justin extended the conversation to offer his perspectives to how the infrastructure has evolved and the importance of exits for startups in Southeast Asia.

Here are the interesting show notes and links to the discussion (with time-stamps included):

  • Justin Hall, partner in Golden Gate Ventures (@JVinnyHall, LinkedIn) [0:15]
    • How did you start your career? [0:46]
    • Does the Kauffman program help you in advancing your venture capital career? [2:30]
    • Prominent alumni in Kauffman Fellowship within Southeast Asia [3:15]
    • In your career journey, what are the interesting life lessons you can share with my audience? [4:02] 
  • Golden Gate Ventures and Venture Capital in Southeast Asia (or ASEAN) [6:12]
    • Can you introduce Golden Gate Ventures to the audience (and yes, just a refresher as I have interviewed Jeff and Vinnie) years back? [6:34]
    • How has the fund evolved since you have started as an associate and eventually now as a partner? Can you talk about some of the successful startups within Golden Gate Ventures portfolio? [8:01]
    • What is your current role in Golden Gate Ventures? [11:09]
    • How do you think about making decisions on whether to invest in startups within the investment committee? [12:35]
    • What is a typical day for you as a venture capitalist? [14:23]
    • What are the industry verticals which you are most excited about in the venture capital space lately? [16:10]
    • Where are the opportunities that you have identified in the logistics space given that last mile delivery is commoditized? [19:09]
    • How about any other interesting verticals other than logistics? [21:27]
    • What do you look for in a startup team when you invest in them? [23:17] 
    • We are now at the tail end of the first institutional funding cycle for Southeast Asia but most VC funds in the region have raised at least 2nd and 3rd rounds of funding, how has the VC scene changed since you first started? [26:15]
    • How do you see the signaling risk for startups within the venture capital circle in Southeast Asia? [29:09]
    • How does the infrastructure within the Southeast Asia market has changed from your opinion? Does it enable more or less startup activity? Let’s exclude Singapore given that it is well developed as a city state. [30:20]
    • Recently, in the past two years, there has been a strong interest from tech giants in China and US on Southeast Asia, what are the strengths and weaknesses of the ecosystem from the perspective of startups and venture capital? [33:40]
    • How does a startup founder look at Southeast Asia market? If you are asked to advise a founder in Singapore or in Jakarta to expand into another market, what will be the first advice you give them? [36:18]
    • One major criticism, pointed out by many is the lack of startup exits in the startup ecosystem. How do you define startup exits and what does success in startup exits would mean for Southeast Asia, and if you have any examples, please share them? [39:38]
  • Closing [43:04]
    • Can you recommend a book or movie or podcast or anything which recently made an impact to your work and personal life? [43:25]
    • How can my audience find you? [44:54]

Podcast Information:

The show is hosted by Bernard Leong (@bernardleong & weibo) until 30 June 2019 and are sponsored by Ideal Workspace (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) with their new Altizen Desk (Twitter, Facebook, Medium). Sound credits for the intro music: Taro Iwashiro, “The Beginning” from Red Cliff Soundtrack and this episode is edited by Carol Yin, and co-produced by Carol Yin and Bernard Leong. This episode is recorded and produced in June 2019.