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Startup Asia Jakarta

 

Monk's Hill had a massive presence at Tech in Asia's Startup Asia Jakarta this year and we can not thank the entire TiA team for such a great conference. The quality of speakers, attendees, startups, and entrepreneurs was exceptional.

There is a lot of focus on Indonesia because of sheer population and high GDP, but unless one is on the ground interacting with the local startups, it's difficult to gauge the potential of this market beyond population and GDP. 

Indonesians, adapt rapidly. New tools, technologies, and methodologies are embraced quicker by the masses than a lot of the surrounding markets. In only one year, the conference turn-out nearly tripled -- an outstanding year over year growth and proof of concept of how quickly things change in Indonesia.

Hanifa Ambadar, founder of femaledaily.com, mentioned 84% of Indonesian women convert on social media with Instagram leading the pack.  Even if it takes multiple steps and even opening apps to complete a transaction on Instagram (Instagram -> WhatsApp -> receive code -> transact), people still shop. 

We saw multiple local startups building products to solve local and regional problems like farming and domestic help. 

The abilities of Indonesians to rapidly adjust to growth and change, is only one of the reasons that makes Indonesia such an attractive market.

Quick wrap-up from the partners:

Stefan took the stage several times -- here is the video of him judging the winner of the startup battle with Khailee Ng of 500 Startups, Jayesh Parekh of Jungle Ventures, and Willson Cuaca of East Ventures. The banter between the judges and entrepreneurs made the entire audience smile and even laugh out loud at times -- if you haven't interacted with any of the judges in person, this video will definitely give you an idea of their personalities. Watch it here.

Peng's keynote on 7 Elements You Need to Build a World Class Startup's video is here

Kuo-Yi rocked the stage discussing Indonesian regulations with Mahendra Siregar, former chairman, Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM), and Daneil Tumiwa, chairman of the Indonesian ecommerce Association.

There is no video (yet) but a few soundbites:

"(Regulations) are a chance for the Internet community to shape and flow government -- not work against."

"Genesis of sustainable sources of business: local knowledge, local operation."

Hopefully TiA will put the video up soon.

Thanks again TiA for such a great conference, getting the videos and photos up so quickly. And congratulations all around to such a successful event!

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Kuo-Yi at Asia Leaders Summit 2014

Get to know the partners [from the archives]

Kuo-Yi was at the Asia Leaders Summit early 2014 and participated on a panel dicussing "Navigating investment landscapes of Asia" with Daniel Kang (Managing Director, Softbank Ventures Korea), Nobuaki Kitagawa (Managing Director and CEO of Cyber Agent Ventures Beijing), and Willson Cuaca (co-founder and Managing Partner of East Ventures).

Soundbites:

Lim says that in the early days, Singapore has a lot of early stage funds. Not many startups in Southeast Asia are available for Series A. He says that VCs are in the service business with startups as clients. So the clients have to be ready before the VCs come in.

Lim likes founders who have both local and global thinking.

Thanks to Tech in Asia for live-blogging. 
Read the whole thing here

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CEO Lessons

Yishan Wong announced his resignation as CEO from Reddit today and shared very personal reasons as to why.

From his Quora post:

 

The job as CEO of reddit is incredibly stressful and draining.  After two and a half years, I'm basically completely worn out, and it was having significantly detrimental effects on my personal life.  If anything, I probably pushed myself way too far - as a first-time CEO, all I knew was that such jobs are supposed to be stressful, so I never really had a good baseline, i.e. how stressful is too stressful, until multiple outside people and coaches I was working with remarked to me that I looked incredibly worn down for months on end and it wasn't supposed to be this hard.

Entrepreneurship is hard. Starting and building a company is hard -- even with established companies such as Reddit. Which is why first time founders should ask themselves: "Am I ready for the challenge?", then, be prepared to be honest with yourselves, to know when to ask for help. 

From a VC standpoint, an investor's job isn't just providing money to get entrepreneur's visions started. Investors are also there to help coach and mentor. 

Having a solid support network can make a world of difference. Things to in mind as you begin your entrepreneurial journey.

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Stefan on Raising Money

Get to know the partners [from the archives]

Stefan was on a panel at Startup Asia Jakarta in 2013 with Tom Clayton (Bubble Motion, Inc) and Saemin Ahn (Rakuten Ventures) about raising money in Indonesia and SE Asia.

He talks about the two qualities he looks for in an entrepreneur and shares invaluable insights on how he gets to know startups and the people behind them.

Soundbites (paraphrased)

Every year in Europe, there are 2,000 new tech companies. Of those 2,000, 50 raise a series A. In the US, there are 10,000 new startups - 5 times more than Europe. 400 receive series A - 8 times more venture money. In Indonesia, there were 30 VC investments across all stages. In 2012, there were 20 deals. In 2011, there were 10 deals. The ecosystem is still small but growing fast.

 

The video can't be embedded, watch the entire discussion here

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Kuo-Yi on Hustling

Get to know the partners [from the archives]

“Keep hustling — you have to keep the pressure on yourself to move fast,” said Kuo-Yi Lim, Managing Director, Monk's Hill Ventures

Kuo-Yi's interview with e27, where he shares his thoughts on Southeast Asia and criteria for investing. 

Read the whole piece here.

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50 in 50 and Two Types of Questions

Congratulations to Peng, who was chosen as one of the 50 accomplished alumni for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's 50th anniversary celebration!

Peng on his time at UCIC:

 

My biggest learning was being comfortable with questions which I know I'll probably never have answers to, and with questions I don't have answers to but can (easily) find out... and knowing the difference between the two types of questions.

Important and inspiring life lesson.

 

One challenge many first-time entrepreneurs have difficulties over-coming is delegation. All CEOs and founders feel responsible -- responsible for themselves, their company, and employees. Knowing how and what to effectively delegate, separates a good leader from a great leader. 

Being scrappy and scrambling to execute is part of being an entrepreneur but no matter how smart and resourceful you are, there are times one has to let-go and trust in the people around you to help you with.

Identifying what you realistically can or can not do, starts with the difficult task of asking yourself: Can I (easily) do this? to make time for the work that matters. Once you are able to be honest with yourself, not only are you more productive, you will become a better leader. 

Here is a good article on Harvard Business Review on eliminating or delegating unimportant tasks and replacing them with value-added ones. 

 

 

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The Partners at Indigo Digital Valley Incubator

On October 28th, the partners led a mentoring session on global business scaling at Bandung Digital Valley's incubator, Indigo. 

Indigo is an initiative from TELKOM, one of the largest telcos in Indonesia, to move Indonesia's tech community forward. It provides opportunities for 20 startups that will get work space, services, market access, and financing of IDR 250m (USD$19,530). One startup will be rewarded an additional IDR 2b (US$156,250) funding at the end of the incubation period.

The partners will mentor Indigo's second batch from July, 2014.

Here is the last slide from their presentation, in which Peng summarizes his thoughts on SE Asia:


Event details

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Stefan on Building Companies in SE Asia

Get to know the partners [from the archives]

Before MHV, Stefan Jung was co-founder and managing director of Rocket Internet, Southeast Asia. He launched Zalora, Lazada, and Office Fab across the region. 

Here is an interview of him at Startup Asia Singapore in April, 2013 of how he attracted and grew talent to focus and scale with market opportunities in Southeast Asia.

 



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A perspective on risk

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A perspective on risk

By Peng T. Ong

As an entrepreneur, I'm regularly asked, "Why are you so tolerant of risk?"

I am not, actually. I'm pretty risk-averse. It's just that I look at risk very differently from most. [...]

6 Comments

Excellence is about extremes

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Excellence is about extremes

By Peng T. Ong

"Excellence is not about balance, it's about extremes." I can't find the source of this quote now, but I think it was Tom Peters quoting someone else.

If you look at any area in which "the world" defines as excellent, and you will see extremes. The divorce rate of US Navy SEAL is 90-95%. Look at the lives of corporate CEOs, for example. [...]

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Startup basics: treat your fundraising as an event

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Startup basics: treat your fundraising as an event

By Peng T. Ong

You need to raise funding for your startup, so your friends start introducing you to investors – angels, venture capitalists, rich folks, and so on. After a few weeks and a number of conversations later, you get a term sheet. You think it’s a low-ball offer. [...]

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Startup acquisitions in Asia: more than $12b spent; more than $2.6b in Southeast Asia

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Startup acquisitions in Asia: more than $12b spent; more than $2.6b in Southeast Asia

By Cheryl Ho

More than US$12 billion has been spent in Asia on acquisitions of startups in the last 6 years. The Asian technological market is showing boundless potential, waiting to be unleashed in the coming years.

Of this US$12 billion, about a quarter of the sum came from Southeast Asia (SEA) countries, totalling up to US$2.8 billion. SEA countries in this article would refer to Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, [...]

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The Burden of Leadership

There is a burden associated with leading that leaders must be willing to bear.

The best way I can clearly describe this burden is to use an extreme example of a war-time situation. Fortunately, outside of war-time, we do not frequently encounter life and death situations. [...]

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Play to Win

By Peng T. Ong

Champions play to win. There is not a single world-class champion, person or team, that got there by playing not to lose.

Playing not to lose is similar to building the minimum functionality for a particular feature. Playing to win is building an Oh-My-Gosh feature. [...]

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The OMG Experience

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The OMG Experience

By Peng T. Ong

I just came back from a Stanford GSB (Graduate School of Business) dinner awarding the most entrepreneurial company of 2004.

Apple won.

Steve Jobs <sjobs@apple.com> was one of the entrepreneurs that inspired me to come to Silicon Valley and start companies. He had several inspirational things to say tonight, and I thought I'd just share one thought with you [...]

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Startup Basics: The Sales Learning Curve

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Startup Basics: The Sales Learning Curve

By Peng T. Ong

The purpose of a startup is not to make a lot of money. The purpose of a startup is to find a repeatablescalable, and profitable way to make a lot of money.

I talk to entrepreneurs for a living. One concept I repeat very often is the concept of the Sales Learning Curve [...]

2 Comments

A service company for startups

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A service company for startups

By Peng T. Ong

Each of the partners of Monk's Hill Ventures has had many years of operating and investing experience in Asia. Last year, as we looked at the momentum of early stage companies in Southeast Asia, we realized that there was a rising demand for quality investors who understand and can empathize with the challenges faced by local entrepreneurs. We have had significant experience in Silicon Valley as well, where it is practically a requirement for the top VCs to be successful entrepreneurs. However, we started to realize that this was a huge blind spot in Southeast Asia. [...]

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