“Entrepreneurs Backing Entrepreneurs”
Singapore & Jakarta, May 15, 2014 — Monk’s Hill Ventures launches with a S$100M venture fund and a team of seasoned entrepreneurs focused on early stage technology startups across Asia. The partnership comprises Peng T. Ong, Kuo-Yi Lim and Stefan Jung, and Thomas Clayton as special advisor. The concept of the fund is simple: entrepreneurs backing entrepreneurs. The partnership sees the lack of operational experience as a critical deficiency across the VC landscape in Asia today.
“There are clearly two big gaps in the market. One is the much talked-about Series A funding gap. However, the more significant one that we see is the lack of seasoned entrepreneurs, with deep operating experience, as investors—people who can roll up their sleeves and really help entrepreneurs,” says Peng T. Ong, partner at Monk’s Hill Ventures, “This is what separates the best VCs from the rest.”
The partners of Monk’s Hill Ventures have built numerous Silicon Valley and Asian VC-backed companies over the past two decades, with operating experience in all of the major countries across Asia—from China and Japan to India and Indonesia. They want to leverage this experience to help entrepreneurs build big companies on a global scale. They also bring strong networks across Asia and the US, to help entrepreneurs with further fundraising, landing key enterprise customers, recruiting top talent, and expanding internationally.
“We also want to set the bar for how venture is done in Asia, by bringing the best practices we have personally experienced through working with top VCs ourselves,” said Kuo-Yi Lim, partner at Monk’s Hill Ventures, “a straightforward and transparent process which treats entrepreneurs as partners.”
The partnership views Southeast Asia to be ripe for an explosion of leading technology companies, driven by a confluence of favorable macroeconomic conditions, exciting talent and available capital. “When I first moved to Asia seven years ago, there were only a handful of VC-backed startups,” says Tom Clayton[TC1] , special advisor at Monk’s Hill Ventures, “in just the past three years, there has been a rapid emergence of new entrepreneurs and great startups across Southeast Asia with vibrant ecosystems forming, from Singapore and Jakarta to Bangkok and Manila.”
Monk's Hill Ventures will invest in high-growth technology companies that will take advantage of the fast growing Asian markets. The fund has two primary areas of focus. First will be on early stage, Series A and B, technology startups primarily across Southeast Asia. Second will be on growth rounds of leading startups in Silicon Valley and from around the world that want to expand in Asia.
“I learned a tremendous amount about what it takes to build successful businesses across Asia, and the nuances of each country, as we incubated and scaled up a number of businesses— including Zalora, Lazada and FoodPanda,” says Stefan Jung, partner at Monk’s Hill Ventures, “moreover, we have hired and trained many budding entrepreneurs and now many of them are building some of the top startups across the region.”
Most importantly, Monk’s Hill Ventures wants to help build the overall startup ecosystem—not just its portfolio companies. They aim to help as many startups and entrepreneurs as possible in order to help accelerate the growth across the region. The firm will start off with offices in both Singapore and Jakarta, but plans to continue building out and spending time across the major Asian markets.
“The last mile fulfilment problem in Southeast Asia has been exacerbated by the rapid rise of e-commerce – with parcel sizes varying significantly, larger shipping volumes, cyclical demand, and wider distribution requirements. We firmly believe that optimization of logistics in the region revolves around a routing software layer that controls legacy assets while concurrently building our own hardware, infrastructure and assets if necessary to enable the new age of logistics,” said Lai Chang Wen, CEO and co-founder, Ninja Logistics.
Kuo-Yi Lim, partner at Monk’s Hill Ventures, added, "Our investment in Ninja Van reflects our belief in the team, their innovative approach and execution ability. The fast-growing online e-commerce spend and the current state of last mile logistics in the metro cities of Southeast Asia present a very attractive market opportunity. Ninja Van is well-placed to address that and we are excited to be working with the team and fellow investors in this effort."