This Jungle Ventures-backed Seed Stage VC Firm is Bullish on Singapore in the Long-term
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Singapore-based venture firm SeedPlus started in 2016 with an eye on encashing the South Asian (SEA) startup boom.
Backed by Jungle Ventures, SeedPlus roped in Tiang Lim Foo as partner. Entrepreneur Asia Pacific caught up with the ex-Evernote Singapore head to learn more about the seed stage investment firm’s plans for SEA.
Foo who served as VP of Product at MoVend in the past has deep product knowledge, an expertise he brings on the table while selecting startups for funding.
Southeast Asia Focus
India and China remain to be hotspots while Southeast Asia will continue to break out as a region for venture financing, on pace if not exceed expectations says Foo.
According to a joint research by Google and Temasek, the Southeast Asian internet economy is projected to be $240 billion by 2025, and SeedPlus is seeing signs of acceleration.
The firm does not invest in China and doesn’t actively look for opportunities in India as well since the focus of SeedPlus is the Southeast Asia region.
“There are many learnings to be referenced from China and India that we continue to look to, in terms of business models and go to market strategies. We are also actively looking for and working on collaboration opportunities with VCs from these regions, as we believe that the more cross pollination of ideas and investments between ecosystems, the better,” Foo tells Entrepreneur Asia Pacific.
Among the key interest areas Foo is most excited about are the application of data and technology to solve problems at scale.
For example, in Southeast Asia, there exist huge gaps in understanding human and people analytics to enable managers and leaders to build better companies. This can be achieved by using technology to acquire and analyse data better and more timely. Better and more timely data ultimately translates to higher quality and actionable feedback for people managers and hopefully, creating better working environments and higher quality companies.
Another example could be to address legacy industries like the insurance industry. How do we make insurance smarter, more accessible and personalised, by leveraging data and technology?
If you think of talent and capital as the core ingredients of a healthy tech startup ecosystem, you will see that two factors have grown healthily in the past decade says Foo.
“We see more founding and digital talent starting companies and looking at the entrepreneurial path as a career choice; we also see more VC funds coming ashore Singapore. There's no data to suggest the growth wouldn't continue. I am very bullish on the long term potential of the startup ecosystem in Singapore and the region,” Foo says.
Foo considers SeedPlus as company builders as opposed to company financiers.
The most important question for SeedPlus is how does it partner with founders at the earliest days of the start-up journey, and work with them to build the company and create value.
“Too many a times you see VC's forgetting the 'venture' aspect of the job; that this is a highly entrepreneurial activity. Being able to work with smart and highly driven entrepreneurs to create the enterprises of tomorrow is definitely one of the most exciting aspect,” says Foo.
3 tips for startups looking for funding from SeedPlus
For founders who are raising the first seed or institutional round, i will advise them to look for an investor who understands their business and is able to provide support over the long term. People talk about product market fit, but I don’t think we as an industry talk enough about founder VC fit. Having the right investors doesn’t guarantee success of course but have investors who aren’t aligned with you and your business will guarantee certain failure.
SeedPlus’ investments include the likes of Moglix, Homage, Qoala, CardUp, Neuron Mobility and Travelstop. Foo currently serves on the board of Qoala, EngageRocket and CardUp, amongst others.