This Singaporean Business Advisor & Investor Thinks Southeast Asia is Where the Real Untapped Opportunities Exist
Being a strategic thought leader with 3 decades of experience across Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, and business experience spanning over 3 decades as banker, entrepreneur, and now business advisor and investor is no easy feat.
Jeffrey Nah, a business advisor, investor and lecturer involved with incubation and acceleration of innovation, entrepreneurship in the tech startup space in Southeast Asia, is clear about the focus area for Asia Pacific – the Internet.
He counts mobile, consumer internet, E-commerce, ride-hailing, fintech, media and games among the hottest areas to look at in Asia Pacific.
Nah believes rise of internet and more specifically mobile adoption in Asia, especially in China, India and more recently Southeast Asia, has transformed Asia from being low-wage, low-tech manufacturing and services powerhouses to more technologically sophisticated markets.
In his 16 years as an entrepreneur, he built the Southeast Asia operations for Teleperformance, now the world's largest CRM call center outsource provider with over 200,000 employees in 70 countries.
He thinks China and India’s digital adoption especially in social media, e-commerce, fintech, ride-hailing and gaming has been simply amazing.
“My interest in emerging markets is more focused on Southeast Asia as I have lived and built businesses in several Southeast Asia countries and hence my familiarity with it. But as much as I am looking to help startups in Southeast Asia scale beyond their national borders, I am also keen to help countries from China and India or anywhere for that matter scale into Southeast Asia to do what they have done in their respective countries, albeit with adaptation to the local market situations,” Nah told Entrepreneur Asia Pacific.
The Potential Area is Southeast Asia
China and India has grown and will continue to grow. But I believe Southeast Asia has significant untapped opportunities with a relatively young population of over 630 milion (the size of the entire European Community) and is only begining to grow in the tech startup sectors.
In terms of verticals, Nah thinks Education, Healthcare, Cyber Security, IoT Mobility and FinTech will present massive opportunities given these sectors affect almost everyone in almost every country. Hence, it will always have many and growing problems to solve given the massive urbanization trends in Asia as already witnessed in China and India.
#3 Tips to Startups Looking for Funding:
1) Present an untapped exponential market growth opportunity and explain simply product-market fit and key diffentiating factors
2) Present an outstanding team with the chemistry and complementary competencies to execute the business strategy
3) Present truthfully the potential challenges, risks versus opportunities in the targeted market and segments you choose to serve and strategies to manage the unexpected curve-balls thrown at you.
“I believe talent and capital do not always exist in the markets where the opportunities lie. So there will be good opportunities to adapt, aggregate and arbitrage to create value,” Nah says.
Nah thinks the most exciting aspect and the greatest fulfillment in being a VC is to be able to identify talented teams and help them to scale, grow and deliver goods and services that create value and a better world for future generations.