Get All Access for $5/mo

This Southeast Asian Investors Looks For Founders Who Can Sell Their Idea Well Golden Gate Ventures' Partner, Justin Hall, says logistics and social commerce sectors currently have his attention

By Aparajita Saxena

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Asia Pacific, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Golden Gate Ventures

"I have three dogs, I am an unapologetic gamer, and I'm originally from Brooklyn," says Golden Gate Ventures' partner, Justin Hall's online profile. Hall joined Singapore's Golden Gate Ventures as an intern in 2012, and has now grown to become an influential authority on early-stage investing in Southeast Asia – a region he's just as passionate about as X-COM, a famous sci-fi video game franchise, if not more.

"There's a lot to be excited about in Southeast Asia right now – valuations have increased across the board, and there's so much more capital in the market too. We're particularly excited about the tech sector, which is mostly where we invest," Hall says.

Even within the tech sector, Golden Gate usually invests in business to consumer companies, and stays away from business to business, or enterprise startups.

Sectors that excite him the most: Hall says logistics and social commerce sectors currently have his attention, as well tremendous growth opportunities in SEA. "Logistics is all thanks to e-commerce, if I could pick one thing to peg the boom on," says Hall, adding he expects logistics to see a lot more capital in 2020.

Space technology is another sector that's gaining traction in the region, the self-professed "gym-junkie" says.

Of all the countries in Southeast Asia, Vietnam is showing great growth prospects with some really good tech innovations coming from there, Hall says.

What he looks for in founders and their startups: "The ability to sell a product, an idea, or a business is what I look for in a founder first. The next is what market the company fits into, and how it competes with other players in that market," says Hall.

"Founders should also do their research before contacting VC firms they think might be interested in them, by finding out what verticals they operate in, what stage of funding they're at, and what sort of expertise they need from their investors," he says.

Hall's valuation methodology is mostly predicated on the sector the company operates in – for example, gross merchant for an e-commerce company, or payments volumes for a digital payments enabler. He then measures those metrics against the industry-wide numbers to see if they can be reconciled.

What's caught his eye these days: Indonesia's Kopi Kenangen, an affordable coffee startup that earlier this year raised $250 million from investors including Sequoia India and Southeast Asia.

Hall says even though the company is at a much later investment stage that Golden Gate's usual target, he finds a lot of value in the company, and has been impressed with how it has grown.

Portfolio companies that excite him: "Everything, of course!" says Hall. But specifically, Coda Payments, an online payments platform, Carousell, a consumer-to-consumer marketplace platform, and MoneySmart, a Singapore-based personal finance portal, are some companies that he likes in his portfolio.




Aparajita Saxena

Former Deputy Associate Editor, Asia Pacific

Aparajita is Former Deputy Associate Editor for Entrepreneur Asia Pacific. She joined Entrepreneur after nearly five years with Reuters, where she chased the Asian and U.S. finance markets.

At Entrepreneur Asia Pacific, she wrote about trends in the Asia Pacific startup ecosystem. She also loves to look for problems startups face in their day-to-day and tries to present ways to deal with those issues via her stories, with inputs from other startups that may have once been in that boat.

Outside of work, she likes spending her time reading books (fiction/non-fiction/back of a shampoo bottle), chasing her two dogs around the house, exploring new wines, solo-travelling, laughing at memes, and losing online multiplayer battle royale games.

 

Marketing

Content Marketing Trends for 2020: Are we ready?

With every click on the keyboard, there is content being added to this virtual infinite universe that is being created, trillions of pieces of content get created every day

Science & Technology

What You Need to Know About This New Cybersecurity Trend

There's a new trend in cybersecurity that's likely going to play a critical role in keeping our data secure and private: confidential computing. Here's why and how it's going to change some of mankind's most important industries.

Money & Finance

20 Crazy New Things We Learned About Snap

The maker of Snapchat, expected to be valued at more than $20 billion, revealed its inner workings for its IPO.

Business News

Jack Dorsey Says It Will Soon Be 'Impossible to Tell' if Deepfakes Are Real: 'Like You're in a Simulation'

Dorsey said we will "not know what is real and what is fake" in the next five to 10 years.

News and Trends

Harvard Comes to India - An Opportunity for Entrepreneurs?

Online programmes offered by foreign universities are becoming popular but need local support

Business News

U.S. Surgeon General Says It's Time to Put a Warning Sign on Social Media

The label would act as a reminder that social media has health consequences.