"Covid-19 has Compressed VC's Vision of 5 Years into 5 Months"

Vinnie Lauria, founding partner of Golden Gate Ventures in an interaction with Entrepreneur India talks about the changing funding landscape in Southeast Asia due to Covid-19

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
You're reading Entrepreneur Asia Pacific, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Covid-19 has brought about a paradigm shift across industries, and venture investing is no exception. The pandemic and ensuing lockdowns have influenced consumer behaviour and preferences majorly, may be even permanently in some cases.

To understand how the investment landscape has transitioned amidst the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on long-term investing, Entrepreneur India interacted with Vinnie Lauria, founding partner, Golden Gate Ventures, an early-stage venture capital (VC) firm in Southeast Asia. Lauria shared his views on the nitty-gritty of investments along with the bounce back plan for businesses.

Impact of Pandemic on Investment and Bounce Back Approach

Most of the work operations continue to be remote in Singapore and Indonesia despite lifting of lockdown restrictions. “In a market like Indonesia, people are working from home and locked down. There were certain presumptions about bounce back in a short time-frame,” says Lauria.

It is essential for term investors to check the growth level of companies and that their growth plans for the next decade has to be reflected over, he added.

Even though economies across the world have been hit by the pandemic, certain verticals, such as edtech and healthtech, have grown due to this phase.

VCs look upon trends, growth plan and future of the company while making an investment decision. However, COVID-19 has compressed the vision of five years into five months. At the same time, the growth scale has become swift over the past few months, especially for digital businesses. For instance, online education, grocery, health and tech startups have grown immensely, gaining from the opportunity in the market.

Investment Prospects During the Pandemic

Vinnie said that even during the pandemic, investments on both existing as well as new projects are being made. Lauria said, “At Golden Gate, we’ve been doing one investment per month and the process has changed significantly.” In sectors like e-commerce, health, grocery, education and payment, companies are not only growing rapidly but also raising ample capital.

Switching to video calls has been one of the major changes to execute meetings for investments, Lauria said.

It has become much simplified to understand mistakes in the work as everyone is evolving similarly. Nevertheless, the approach to address these issues is quite different and as a VC, being progressive and consistently changing are essential, he added.

Addressing Parameters of Virtual Pitch 

Even amidst Covid-19, conversational parameters need to remain the same. On the other hand, background information is being leveraged to get more reference points in the virtual pitch. Parameters such as growth rate, attraction, retention and behaviour analytics remain the same.

Lauria said, “Travel for new investment is going to be hard for at least two years and a new line of business will be helpful.”

Tips for Startups for an Effective Virtual Pitch

Vinnie believes it’s important for startups to evaluate the portfolio of the investor and focus on due diligence before going for the pitch. Seeking feedback from the colleagues and peers will be beneficial to ask questions.

Body language and getting signals on the video screen should be worked upon during the virtual pitch. “Trimming the presentation is ideal to engage the investor on video call rather than long duration slides,” pointed Lauria.  

Being prepared with the market insights and knowing the competitors to ensure the investment plan works in a two way offers pragmatic outcome. According to Lauria, the factors like expectations, portfolio of founders, their knowledge, alignment stage and their growth plans must be pondered over during the investment meeting.

Identifying Cross Border Movement for Startups

Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan markets weathered cross border movement considerably.

Lauria said, “Switching to new market in a different country from home market is really difficult.” He further added that it will be worth learning from the stumbling blocks in order to enter into new markets.

Powering Southeast Asia with Growing Use of Software

Software is changing the landscape of Southeast Asia entirely during the COVID-19 scenario.

Currently, there are several apps which have made inventory management quicker and checking availability of goods and payments through app have made the work mechanism efficient. In fact, most of the companies are digitizing to improve efficiency and in terms of finance, digital payments can be accepted easily.

Lauria pointed out that WhatsApp, WeChatpay, Alipay, and Amazon are some of the tools that will be used by small shops in the coming years. Most of all, the target audience will beyond hyperlocal deliveries to countrywide accessibility.

Keeping Business Afloat During Covid-19 Crisis

Lauria suggested slash marketing, salary deductions, gradual cuts, subscription email services and partnerships as some of the tactics companies or startups can deploy to make their business sustainable during the Covid-19 pandemic. Outsourcing freelancers and a different approach towards executing business operations will be recommended for the organizations, he added.


How One Small Button Can Transform the Creator Economy from a Buzz Word to an Actual Economic Model

The co-founder and CEO of PIP, a creator economy monetization solution, shares how his company is helping content creators get paid more easily.

This Company Wants to Pay You for Your Steps. Here's How it Works.

The co-founder and CEO of Sweatcoin explains how the company’s move-to-earn vision is helping people be healthier while also getting brands in front of 100 million users.

Javier Correa of Sombrero Mexican Food on Restaurant Expansion Strategy

Interview with Sombrero Mexican Food Owner Javier Correa Jr. on celebrity endorsements, finding an effective pace, and the balance of scaling a business.

Do You Inspire the Best in People? Apply for the Tony Hsieh Award

The Tony Hsieh Award seeks out progressive, value-driven leaders and innovators

3 Ways to Achieve 'Superhuman Focus' in Just Two Weeks

Focus is a valuable asset for any entrepreneur. Here's how to upgrade your energy, focus, and drive.

5 Questions to Ask Yourself If You're Thinking About Becoming a Health Coach

The chief revenue officer at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition shares how the program works and the myriad of ways you can use a health coaching certification.

Josh Altman and Matt Proman Are Teaming Up to Disrupt the Real Estate Industry

Serial entrepreneur Matt Proman and real estate mogul and 'Million Dollar Listing LA' star Josh Altman have joined forces to launch BidMyListing.com.

Robert "Don Pooh" Cummins of Brooklyn Chop House on Opening Restaurant Doors

Interview with the Brooklyn Chop House owner and franchising expert about working in the music industry, opening restaurants, and creating avenues for black entrepreneurs.

Feeling Unmotivated? 3 Biohacks to Supercharge Your Focus and Drive

Here's Ben Angel on the top three motivation myths and how to use biohacking to become more focused.

This Physician Wants to Change the Way You Carry Your Baby

Dr. Lena Shahbandar is a physician and entrepreneur who designed a new baby carrier to help parents and caregivers reduce back and joint pain.

Jennifer Allen of Levy Restaurants on a Commitment to Company Culture

Interview with Levy Restaurants VP of Restaurants Operations Jennifer Allen about running successful businesses, being a "restaurant girl", and her company's strong values.

How to Bounce Back After Any Setback with Biohacking

Here's Ben Angel on how to apply biohacking and neuroscience to take back control of your life.

Why Companies Need to "Onshore" to Ensure Sustainable Growth

Entrepreneur Network Partner Ashley Crouch sits down with Sidney Wheatley, CIO of the Private Family Office to H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Salman bin Abdulla bin Hamad Al-Khalifa.

How One Entrepreneur Is Bringing Back Old School Hospitality to the Hotel Industry

Hotelier Leo Grika shares his career journey, how he's customizing the hotel experience for guests, and his advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Discover Entrepreneur Series

Whether you need advice on how to get your business off the ground or you’re just looking for inspiration, our video series have something for everyone. Browse our library below to find a series that speaks to you and your interests.