Indian Startup Ecosystem Versus China – There Are More Similarities Than Differences "Ultimately every founder has to have a team; no one is an all-rounder"

By Sneha Banerjee

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


Venture Capital firms, MNCs and startups across South-East Asia are seen warming up to Indian startups. From Jack Ma's Alibaba to conglomerates like Softbank and China-based Hax Accelerator!

Speaking on this topic, James Tan, Managing Partner at Quest Ventures, spoke to Entrepreneur Media on as to what he considers as vital qualities that they consider before investing in a startup.

It's all about the team

Quest, China's leading venture fund for technology companies, typically is the first institutional money in, investing between $100k-$1.5mm, with its sweet spot being around $500k., according to its website.

James said that his firm primarily looks at the team and that the team should have understanding of the market and should be addressing an area that has enough opportunity for growth.

On asking the qualities the firm looks for in an entrepreneur, James said that he doesn't particularly check whether an entrepreneur is a product or a business person because ultimately every founder has to have a team. "No one is an all-rounder. Even Jack Ma has a team behind him. We want to see whether the team members of a startup compliment each other and there must be a little bit of "healthy" competition between so that they drive each other along" he added.

Indian ecosystem versus China – More similarities than differences

James said that the startup ecosystem in India has more similarities than differences with the one back home. "Everyone should know that every idea that one comes up with; there will be another ten dozen of competitors. So by default if you are good, you will be competitive and hungry to get results. That's what we see here and similarly in China."

Talking about cross-border investments and amalgamation of ideas between countries James said, "Not every VC does cross- border investments. Money is money, but there is smart money and dumb money. If we just put in money, that's dumb money."

He suggested that money could be channelized into an ecosystem that could help each other and also gave a thumbs up to startup events that brings people of the ecosystem together and exposes his firm and others to multiple startups within a very short time frame. "The ecosystem should be vibrant for cross-border investment to take place," he said.

James was one of the keynote speakers at the Tech in Asia conference in Bengaluru on Wednesday.

Sneha Banerjee

Entrepreneur Staff

Former Staff, Entrepreneur India

She used to write for Entrepreneur India from Bangalore and other cities in South India. 

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