As we celebrate a decade of investing in the Southeast Asia tech ecosystem, we look back at our fundamental objectives when we started Monk’s Hill Ventures. They were two-fold: to bring our experiences as founders and operators to bear in the fledgling Southeast Asia tech ecosystem; and to invest fairly and form partnerships with founders and entrepreneurs, almost as co-founders, on the long journey of building significant companies.
Today, the landscape has evolved beyond expectations, with the potential emergence of large tech companies from Southeast Asia no longer in question.
In 2021, MHV took a decisive step in aligning its investment strategy with broader societal and environmental concerns by formalizing the integration of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors into its investment process, led by our Partner Susli Lie. This strategic shift not only cemented the firm’s commitment to achieve outsized financial returns, but also its recognition of the responsibility to drive non-financial outcomes.
Our inaugural Impact and ESG Report addresses that commitment. MHV’s ESG journey is not merely symbolic. We recognize the transformative potential of tech startups in addressing societal challenges – be it farmers lacking access to markets, students struggling with educational expenses, or small businesses grappling with scalability. The Impact and ESG Report signifies the beginning of a transparent and iterative process. It showcases our achievements but also outlines the challenges faced and the commitment to learn and improve.
Across our diverse portfolio of 40 companies, we have had a lasting imprint positively impacting 75 million lives and businesses in Southeast Asia. This impact extends beyond the number of users, with over 33,000 people employed and $4 billion generated in revenues. Inclusive leadership is intrinsically at our core – with 36% of our companies having at least one female founder, 28% led by a female CEO, and 60% featuring at least one female board member. Internally, MHV boasts a team representing 12 nationalities, with women constituting 63% of the workforce and 53% at the leadership level.
Much of our ESG journey is rooted in respect for the challenges faced by early-stage startups. We actively seek to shape the narrative of meaningful ESG engagement for early-stage fund managers by engaging in thought leadership, participating in dialogues, and joining industry-wide initiatives. As an example, our recent membership in the ESG Data Convergence Initiative (EDCI) as the first Southeast Asian early-stage fund manager positions MHV as a trailblazer in the venture capital landscape. Launched in 2021, the EDCI is a coalition of 350 major PE/VC general partners (GPs) and limited partners (LPs), led by a steering committee chaired by The Carlyle Group and CPP Investments.
Our inaugural report encapsulates past achievements even as it sets the stage for an exciting future, emphasizing collaboration, transparency, and a shared commitment to building truly iconic companies that transform millions of lives with technology.
For a deeper dive into our ESG journey and insights into shaping early-stage ESG engagement, download the full report here