We recently ran a survey on compensation in tech startups in Singapore. This topic is very much a top-of-mind for many founders. Compensation data - base pay, bonus, stock options etc - are hard to come by. Existing salary surveys tend to focus on established IT companies and their roles (e.g. sales, marketing), but don’t quite capture the nuances that startups face.
So we decided to ask startup founders in Singapore. We sent out a survey that asked 4 questions. The intent was to keep the survey brief - founders are busy. We also wanted to get the information out there fast and then iterate later. Responses from 13 founders came very quickly, almost all commenting that they have been looking for compensation data.
A sneak peak into the background profile of MHV's team members. First up on our profile series is Dimitra Taslim, our Sr. Investment Analyst.
1) So, what's your story?
I'm Chinese Indonesian. I moved to Singapore when I was nine years old and later to the UK, where I studied and worked for eight years. I also spent about one and a half years travelling across Africa, Europe, the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia.
Despite the constant lamenting of low female-to-male ratio in the tech industry, the poor representation of women in technical roles hasn’t always been the case. According to some NPR research, some of the world’s computing pioneers were women. And for a while, there were actually more women studying computer science than men.
But ever since personal computers arrived in American homes, that number began to plummet. This was thanks to the notion that computers were for boys -- so male students naturally had a leg up because they had the opportunity to learn programming languages in their spare time.
According to Girls Who Code, 74% of young girls in the US are interested in STEM fields and computer science but by the time they make a decision on their academic or professional careers, a shifts occurs.
In the world of startups, there is a schism between real value creation and the irrational funding market. Strange as it is, these two things can co-exist without much correction for a sustained period of time.
What is this schism?
On one hand, there is an ecosystem of startups hard at work, disrupting incompetent, traditional models of business, whilst making markets more efficient and creating real economic value. This faction works for the long-term and is completely rational.
On the other hand lies the venture capital industry. It thrives on opacity and is driven by egos and primal instincts. It is fearful during bad times and greedy during good times. It is an almost dysfunctional utopia where valuations could shift by the billions in a day, even when the needle hasn’t moved on value creation. This faction is emotional and largely irrational.
What is the truth that everyone knows?
An insider observation on what kind of person you need to be to work in a VC by Omid Scheybani, our MBA intern this summer. Coming from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Omid previously worked at Google, specializing on product distribution in emerging markets.
As someone who is doing his MBA right in the heart of Silicon Valley, I notice a lot of people talking, dreaming, wishing to work in Venture Capital. In fact, not that surprising considering that a recent study of 151 VC Partners in the US found that 53% of them had MBAs — 60% of whom from either Stanford or Harvard (source).
At some point I was so intrigued by the industry that I decided to find out for myself. Given my passion for emerging markets, I wanted that experience to take place in South East Asia, so I ended up with Monk’s Hill Ventures (MHV) which is an industry-agnostic fund that invests across the region (focused on Series A investments). [more]
We hosted 25 amazing entrepreneurs at the recent Monk’s Hill Ventures founders’ dinner. Ninja Van CEO Chang Wen Lai spoke with Managing Director Kuo-Yi Lim about his fundraising experience, and the lessons learnt whilst helming Ninja Van to a US$30M Series B. [more]