July 22, 2020
After Taking Grab Regional, Eugene Strives to Help Southeast Asian Startups Execute Their Way to Success

We live in exciting times. Recent years have seen the emergence of Southeast Asia’s very first unicorns—startups valued at over $1 billion—the stories of whom we’re now all too familiar with.

Continue Reading
July 16, 2020
The New MHV Website is Now Live!

We’re very excited to launch our new website! After months of hard work, we’re proud of the final result – an intuitive, informative, and content-rich platform. This initiative was undoubtedly a team effort that everyone at Monk’s Hill Ventures (MHV) contributed to.

Continue Reading
May 5, 2020
Ninja Van’s Big-Ticket Funding Signals Startup Deal Resilience

Singapore’s Ninja Van has raised $279 million from backers including France’s GeoPost SA and ride-hailing giant Grab Holdings Inc., scoring one of Southeast Asia’s largest startup investments since Covid-19 was declared a pandemic.

Continue Reading
April 23, 2020
Being a Rainmaker

Over the last few weeks, we have seen and will continue to see who will be the survival of the fittest. At MHV, we’ve started breaking down companies into three buckets.

Continue Reading
April 13, 2020
How to Fundraise During a Crisis for Startups

The world is a radically different place from where it was early this year. In early February, COVID-19 still felt like a faraway problem to many investors – something that people read about but did not expect to encounter firsthand.

Continue Reading
April 13, 2020
Downturn a Reset Button for Lofty Startup Valuations

The economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 outbreak could be a "reset button" for lofty startup valuations in Southeast Asia, while presenting an opportunity for venture capitalists to invest in fundamentally sound companies at a cheaper price.

Continue Reading
April 8, 2020
How Startups Can Survive COVID-19

2019 was a good year for Vietnam’s startups. More still was expected from 2020. But the coronavirus outbreak and the looming cash crunch mean the current prognosis is rendered in much more sombre tones.

Continue Reading
April 1, 2020
Advice for Startups During Coronavirus

As we saw the coronavirus situation unfolding in China and then snowballing throughout Southeast Asia, we knew from experience as investors and former operators in the region that, for some of our founders and CEOs, there would be difficult times ahead and they would need to start acting quickly and decisively.

Continue Reading
March 12, 2020
The Good, The Bad and the Ugly When Dealing With Media

There’s a great scene in HBO’s Silicon Valley that takes place at TechCrunch Disrupt where each Founder is pitching their big idea at Demo Day. We see each Founder going up to the stage one by one where they start with “We’re making the world a better place by [insert super technical business proposition].

Continue Reading
November 22, 2019
Betting Big on Technification in Southeast Asia

There has never been a better time than now to be a tech investor in Southeast Asia. Tech companies are transforming traditional industries today. An exciting phenomenon is powering the rise of such transformational tech companies today: technification.

Continue Reading
November 12, 2019
How Will Tech Meet Evolving Healthcare Need in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia’s healthcare system is struggling to meet the changing needs of its increasingly affluent population. Going forward, technology will play a key role in delivering cost-effective, high quality and convenient treatments.

Continue Reading
September 18, 2019
5 Little-Known "Gotchas" That Make or Break a Pitch

At Monk’s Hill Ventures, we receive dozens of pitch decks every day. I personally look at hundreds of pitch decks every year. As a venture investor, it comes with the territory.

Continue Reading
September 4, 2019
The Rise of Third Generation Companies in Southeast Asia

The coming generation of technology companies, which I call the ‘Third Generation’, mark a significant improvement on ‘Second Generation’ businesses that simply looked at one part of the customer journey i.e. from an offline on to an online platform.

Continue Reading
August 28, 2019
5 Ways to Localize as Your Startup Expands Regionally

In a vibrant region like Southeast Asia, expanding your business beyond the borders of your original market holds tremendous opportunities. A larger audience is only the beginning.

Continue Reading
July 31, 2019
5 Questions LPs Often Ask Me about Venture Capital in Southeast Asia

More and more investors and LPs are becoming interested in Southeast Asia. This is no surprise, given the region’s strong long-term track record of economic growth.

Continue Reading
May 9, 2019
5 Steps to Scale Up Successfully in Southeast Asia's Diverse Ecosystem

Scaling in SEA can be a challenge. It is one of the most diverse regions of the Asian continent, divided by politics, language and culture. But for startups, there are ways to overcome these challenges and turn this diversity into an opportunity as you expand your business across the region.

Continue Reading
April 18, 2019
For Entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia, Regulations are a Runway, Not a Roadblock

Existing regulations are difficult to navigate, while the implementation of new ones can sink entire business models. To add to that complexity, regulations tend to vary widely from country to country within a region. However, to be blunt: that’s simply no excuse.

Continue Reading
March 27, 2019
Why the Next Wave of Vietnamese Startups Won't Be Clones

Vietnam’s thriving startup ecosystem is expected to reach $33 billion by 2025. But so far, the top tech companies have mostly cloned successful companies elsewhere rather than brewing something specific to Vietnamese culture and society.

Continue Reading
February 25, 2019
How to Pitch to VCs

Fundraising is not supposed to be inhibitive, by preparing and strategizing your pitch you can save up a lot of valuable time - time that you can spend building your startup. The reality is that VCs are constantly looking for great startups to invest.

Continue Reading
February 11, 2019
In an AI World, Drop the Idea That Empathy is Feminine

Empathy makes someone a better employee, and we also need to build empathy into our artificial intelligence applications.

Continue Reading
January 14, 2019
Watch, Absorb, Trust: Your Job as a Mentee

Being a mentor is challenging. No question about it. It requires time, energy, and dedication. Not everybody is cut out for the gig. But here’s what no one tells you (or at least no one told me): being a mentee is also challenging.

Continue Reading
December 21, 2018
2019 Will Be A Pivotal Year For Southeast Asian Tech Startups

With a rising middle class and a booming tech startup scene, Southeast Asia sits where China did 10 years ago—on the cusp of a major economic boom fueled by the tech industry.

Continue Reading
December 6, 2018
The Next Big Thing in Fintech Isn't Mobile Payments

What’s the secret to fintech’s appeal? It’s not just the vast numbers of unbanked people in the world, who represent a ready-made user base for innovative financial products.

Continue Reading
November 23, 2018
Is Indonesia's Startup Ecosystem Overhyped?

Indonesia’s startups are gaining serious traction from international investors, positioning the country’s ecosystem to lift off as a dominant destination in Southeast Asia. But that success is not guaranteed.

Continue Reading
November 9, 2018
Why Entrepreneurs Should Think About the Social Impact of Their Social Media

Society is now developing a better understanding of how our social media accounts impact our lives in the physical world, and startups have a new chance to disrupt the market and move beyond some of the mistakes that major social media platforms are dealing with today.

Continue Reading
September 18, 2018
The Secret to Extraordinary Growth, According to Ninja Van

The startup’s founding team attributes their sprint to success to their staff, and as they move into the next stage of their company, they aim to improve the networks they’ve forged so quickly.

Continue Reading
August 16, 2018
Why I Don't Invest in AI

Last year AI companies attracted more than $10.8 billion in funding from venture capitalists like me. AI has the ability to enable smarter decision-making. It allows entrepreneurs and innovators to create products of great value to the customer. So why don’t I don’t focus on investing in AI?

Continue Reading
July 24, 2018
A Startup Playbook

When I got to Singapore in 2011 and was starting my own startup, Perx, the ecosystem looked a lot different than it does today. I am committed to the region for the long-term, so I really want to see the ecosystem expand and mature here.

Continue Reading
June 30, 2018
Find a Robust Mentor, Then Adopt Their Strengths

As innovators, we often aim high when seeking out a mentor, hoping that proximity to a Steve Jobs or Elon Musk-type character will help us to reach our own ambitious goals.

Continue Reading
May 17, 2018
My First 100 Days as a VC Analyst

The first 100 days in any new job can be daunting. Acclimatizing yourself to new faces, new methodologies, new job functions, and new industries is hard for everyone. Below are some of my personal tips working in a Southeast Asian venture capital fund to help you beat the learning curve faster:

Continue Reading
April 20, 2018
Three Things to Consider Before Starting Your Startup in Southeast Asia

Every now and then in conversations with founders and friends, the question “would you do a startup again” will most certainly creep up.

Continue Reading
March 1, 2018
So You Want to Join A Startup (in Southeast Asia)

VCs evaluate a lot of startups. This gives us a good look into how they operate, what they care about, and the type of people they want to hire. VCs also meet a lot of people, including those who are looking for their next job.

Continue Reading
December 8, 2017
The Heavy Burden of the Edtech Industry

Technology has had a profound impact on every aspect of our life, and education is no exception. With the commoditization of information and the rise of AI, our methods of education are obsolete.

Continue Reading
November 30, 2017
Building and Scaling Data Science Teams for Your Startup

Today, data is an important competitive advantage for companies. Companies use it to understand their customers, decide on a business strategy, and optimize their business.

Continue Reading
September 11, 2017
Vietnam: A Tech Hub Ready to Boom

Everywhere I look these days I see cranes. Not the kind that fly, but construction cranes. While some look at them and see ugliness, I see something else: the towers reaching skyward symbolize Vietnam’s striving ambition, Vietnam’s promise.

Continue Reading
August 16, 2017
The Sales Engine

Why do big corporations find it so hard to innovate? Why is it difficult to create products that are somewhat different from what they have already produced or using different distribution channels?

Continue Reading
July 31, 2017
10 Things I Learnt as a VC

I have a lot to be thankful for in MHV – a fantastically diverse team, a growing ecosystem that offers many learning opportunities, and two tremendous mentors who demand results but accord autonomy and responsibility in abundance.

Continue Reading
May 22, 2017
A Chance Meeting Leads to Opportunities: On Making Your Own Luck

I often say that success is half luck and half what you make of it. But the thing is, you can make your own luck.

Continue Reading
April 1, 2017
Confessions of an Investment Banker Turned VC

Venture investing presented opportunities to discourse with visionaries from a myriad of industries, play a critical role in the innovation life-cycle of companies, and create value and jobs in the process.

Continue Reading
February 15, 2017
A Frequently Asked Question: What's a VC Fundable Startup?

For the benefits of the general public, this article seeks to shed light on our thought process in determining whether a startup is VC fundable and whether it is ripe for a Series A round.

Continue Reading
December 8, 2016
Top Mistakes to Avoid When Raising Capital from VCs

So you’ve worked hard at setting up and launching your startup, and now you’re ready to take it to the next level. VC could be just what you need to accelerate your growth.

Continue Reading
October 4, 2016
Let's Talk Compensation

In 2016, we ran a survey on compensation in tech startups in Singapore. This topic is very much top-of-mind for many founders. Compensation data - base pay, bonus, stock options etc - are hard to come by.

Continue Reading
July 26, 2016
Transcending Irrationality in the Funding Market

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.

Continue Reading
July 12, 2016
Things You Need to Be Good at As a VC

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.

Continue Reading
April 5, 2016
Founders vs. Professionals: Who Makes the Better CEO

At MHV, we invest in the early period of a company’s life cycle. By this stage, the start-up has only been in operations for 1-2 years, and usually the entire team has less than 20 people.

Continue Reading
September 14, 2015
Virality-by-Design

One topic I find myself talking to entrepreneurs a lot about recently is the need to have intentional design for virality of user acquisition. If at all possible you should be deliberate about designing your business/product for virality.

Continue Reading
February 7, 2015
A Modified Starfish Story

The moral of the story is not about whether it is better to do good for one person at a time, or to operate an impersonal machinery to save many.

Continue Reading
November 23, 2014
Sometimes Doing The Right Thing Should Suck

Recently I caught up with an old friend and colleague. My friend is one of the most competent, smartest, and hard-working executives I know. He is also one of the most principled.

Continue Reading
August 31, 2014
Startup Basics: Treat Your Fundraising as an Event

You need to raise funding for your startup, so your friends start introducing you to investors – angels, venture capitalists, 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. So you turn it down.

Continue Reading
July 9, 2014
Startup Basics: The Sales Learning Curve

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

Continue Reading
May 8, 2014
Building Out A Silicon Valley Caliber Engineering Team in Asia

Many CEOs asked me if they can actually locate their engineering and product teams here and expect the same level of quality they get in the Valley. My simple answer is: absolutely.

Continue Reading
May 4, 2014
The Democratization of Entrepreneurship

A new generation of tech entrepreneurs from around the world have opportunities not available to previous generations. The democratization of entrepreneurship is a new phenomenon that will change the global tech landscape.

Continue Reading
May 4, 2014
Entrepreneurial Leadership: Systems, Energy, Courage

My passion for understanding leadership began long before I incorporated by first startup. At the global level, for understanding how the one right leader can move entire economies.

Continue Reading
January 24, 2014
Is It Possible to be Both a Founder & a Daddy?

“You can’t have kids and run a startup.” That made me do some deep introspection. Was I doing a disservice to my startup since I was now a father?

Continue Reading