Ideas

Ideas seed actions

Notes on disruption, entrepreneurship, and venture capital

Archive blog entries from previous Quest websites and Medium are progressively translated and migrated here, and may not be uploaded in chronological order.

Why is Vietnam going to emerge the strongest post-COVID-19?

There are three reasons why Vietnam is outshining its neighbouring countries when it comes to handling the aftermath of COVID-19 Vietnam is one of the first countries to ease social distancing measures and reopen its society as early as April 2020, where most countries are only starting to grapple with the severity and spread of COVID-19. Also known as the land of the ‘Ascending Dragon’ (due to the geographical shape on the world map), it the first in Southeast Asia to emerge from the global pandemic, allowing for businesses and domestic travels to reopen. Vietnam is also identified as one…
More

Central Asia good expansion option for Singapore startups

When Singapore startups are looking to expand overseas, the go-to destination has always been its backyard in South-east Asia. But in an increasingly competitive and mature market, where the fight for top tech talent is intense, this reflex strategy requires a rethink. Fast maturing Hanoi and Jakarta have seen startups grow at a rapid pace, and have attracted significant venture capital funding. There is not a lot of room left to play for latecomers. At the other spectrum are Cambodia and Laos, which looked ready for Singapore startups to explore and expand. But VCs’ experiences reflect markets which are still…
More

The key to real transformation is not learning, but unlearning

And this is how it can help us sail through COVID-19 I am sure you have found out in (not-so-) recent news that COVID-19 beat most of the CEOs and CTOs hands down in driving digital transformation in organisations across all sectors globally. It is dubbed as a the “before and after moment in the digital transformation” by one Forbes contributor Andrew Filev in his column, greatly accelerating previously slow-moving trends such as telecommuting, on-demand food and services, virtual events and the cloud. “Despite the uncertainties in the macroeconomic and geopolitical environment, there is one thing we are certain –…
More

Carousell and Series B

The biggest news in Singapore recently was the announcement by Carousell that they have raised USD 35 million for their Series B: TechCrunch, TechinAsia. Rakuten Ventures led the round while previous investors also contributed. The round drew the attention of Lim Der Shing, who writes one of the more frank and penetrating entrepreneurship blogs in Singapore. He noted that this appeared to be the first time that a pre-revenue startup raised Series B in Asia. There could be other examples, but Carousell was the most recent one, and a brand that most people know. A week before the announcement, I…
More

QQ and why we have not moved to Slack

Late last year, we started experimenting with Slack. This was when Slack was still relatively new, and most people were using HipChat or some other group chat. We have been using QQ for years. The Chinese (China version) of QQ is loaded with features such as screen-sharing, voice chatting, video calling and of course, plain text messaging. QQ is free to use and, until WeChat came along, was the dominant tool for PC-based communications. Fetion, a Web SMS service from China Mobile, could not compete despite the huge base of China Mobile users. Fetion required senders and recipients to be…
More

Startup Leadership Program in China

The Startup Leadership Program took place in Beijing today at the office of Cadwalader. SLP has been running for one or two batches before this, and being volunteer-driven and relatively new in China, had been progressing in fits and starts so I am glad that there is a new group willing to get it going this year. Incubation/ acceleration/ entrepreneur training programs has ballooned in the last year. There are now many locally run, “foreign-inspired” programs modelled after Y-Combinator, 500 Startups, and others. Foreign-based, equity-driven programs such as Founders’ Institute has not had success coming in due to regulations around…
More

Plaques and official recognitions

Official recognitions are big in China. Enter any office and you can probably find a few metallic, embossed plaques or paper certificates adorning the walls. These are usually not licenses, for eg, the license to operate an F&B restaurant. Rather, these are awards issued because the establishment met certain criteria in a campaign or best-in-class. I was at the official award of the Beijing Youth Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre plaque award ceremony for the Venture Cinema today. The Venture Cinema is literally a cinema in the central business district that has been converted to an events venue that hosts demo…
More

Zhongguancun taking shape

Today was the third meeting for the Beijing Committee for Youth Entrepreneurship organised by the Beijing chapter of the Communist Youth League. The CYL is famous for its alumni of political leaders who rose through its ranks to later lead China, including Hu Jintao and Li Keqiang. The initiative to revamp and rejuvenate Zhongguancun is taking on momentum. Among the list of gripes, lack of cheap working space for like-minded entrepreneurs and investors to gather, lack of structured seed financing, and lack of training similar to Y-Combinator (or “YC” in local parlance). The increasingly larger group was hosted at the…
More

Burpple and Series Seed

Burpple has announced that they have raised USD 500,000 from a group of investors including us: TechCrunch, e27, Forbes. Burpple is more than an investment. It is symbolic of our commitment to Singapore and the larger Southeast Asia tech ecosystem,. Burpple is the flag bearer of a new wave of tech entrepreneurs, many of whom are housed at the new Blk71. The “Burpple Boys”, as they are popularly known, are key community drivers, are humble, and work hard. We are proud to be part of this journey with the awesome team driving Burpple’s phenomenal growth in users and engagements.
More

Why we moved to Zhongguancun

When Quest started, we worked out of a service office in CBD and took meetings at the cafes nearby. One of our favourite meeting places was the Hong Kong cafe at Guomao before it had to shut down due to renovations by the mall. One day, Zhaoying, our super plugged-in marketing manager, said that there was a new co-working space that was launching at Zhongguancun, and asked the company to consider moving there. To put things in perspective, all VCs work out of either CBD or Financial Street. Only one well-known fund — Innovation Works — had located itself in…
More

The views and opinions expressed in Ideas are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Quest Ventures.

Archive blog entries from previous Quest websites and Medium are progressively translated and migrated here, and may not be uploaded in chronological order.

Menu