"An Entrepreneur Needs to Be Both, Humble and Arrogant"
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The Indian startup ecosystem has witnessed tremendous interest from investors and VC firms overseas. One of the countries is Japan – which has shown tremendous interest in Indian companies. Conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp Ltd has poured in enormous amount of wealth in the form of funding, especially under the helm of its ex- President Nikesh Arora.
In a brief conversation with Entrepreneur Media Willson Cuaca, Co-founder and Managing Director of East Ventures, said he is in the process of “understanding and learning” about the startup ecosystem in India.
East Ventures provides early stage seed capital to startups in consumer internet, mobile and SaaS domain. With a total of 5 offices in Jakarta, Tokyo, and San Francisco, the firm has invested in over 150 companies across Asia and the US.
Currently the firm does not intend to fund Indian startups and Willson said that he is the process of understanding the entrepreneurial culture and process in India before he arrives at any investment decision.
“Right now I don’t have much of an idea about the ecosystem here, but I am in the process of learning about the ecosystem,” Willson said.
Willson said that he has seen a lot of entrepreneurs coming out of India and go abroad to South-East Asian countries.
What does the firm look at in an entrepreneur?
On a more general note regarding entrepreneurial in Singapore, Willson said entrepreneurial culture is the same across the globe. “Understanding the entrepreneur is important,” he noted.
According to Willson, the firm mainly looks at three things integrity, self awareness and the quality of paradox.
“We are always looking for someone who really has high level of self-awareness. It’s very important that an entrepreneur is arrogant in certain aspects; they know their vision and know what they want to do. At the same time they are humble and know that they have just started and know nothing and need to learn more. People who have this humbleness and know their position in the society can learn very fast,” he added.
South-east Asia’s potential in the startup space
Willson said that South-East Asia has huge potential in the global startup space. “If you look at SE Asia, the total population is 600 million, which is really big where it has countries like China, India. However, SE Asia is very fragmented and consists of several countries. Different countries have different culture, regulations and systems. By itself SE Asia is very unique,” he said.
East Ventures’ ticket size is ranged from $100,000-$500,000 and it ideally looks for ideas that address a huge market.
Willson sits on the advisory board of Code4Nation.id, a pro-bono movement that helps the Indonesian government solve problems through software usage. He was one of the key speakers at the Tech in Asia conference at Bengaluru on Wednesday.