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Singapore startups attracted to Vietnam market: Strait Times

VietNamNet Global

Vietnam’s large workforce, lower labor costs, and sizeable markets are factors drawing Singaporean startups to the country.

Strait Times cited the assessment from venture capital company Quest Ventures, discussing potential destinations for Singaporean companies that are looking to venture abroad through its Government’s Global Innovation Alliance (GIA) acceleration program, estimated at over 400 in less than five years.

“The labor force in Vietnam is increasingly well educated and still relatively cheap compared to Singapore,” James Tan, managing partner of venture capital company Quest Ventures, was quoted by Strait Times as saying.

Tan also pointed to the country’s tech-savvy population and burgeoning middle class, making it a potential pool of customers.

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Low labour costs, large workforce drive Singapore start-ups in Vietnam

Vietnam+

With a large workforce, lower labour costs and sizeable market, Vietnam is one of the popular destinations for Singapore’s start-ups, according to The Straits Times newspaper.

“The labour force in Vietnam is increasingly well educated and still relatively cheap compared to Singapore,” James Tan, managing partner of venture capital company Quest Ventures, was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

Vietnam has a tech-savvy population and a burgeoning middle class, making it a potential customer base, he added.

Singapore has been one of the strongest partners of Vietnam both before and during the pandemic. Vietnamese sectors that venture capital firms are looking at include health technology, food processing and blockchain.

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Việt Nam có nhiều yếu tố thu hút nhà đầu tư khởi nghiệp Singapore

Dan Tri

Straits Times đưa tin, theo các chuyên gia, Việt Nam là một trong những điểm đến đầu tư hấp dẫn nhất với các nhà đầu tư khởi nghiệp Singapore trong nhiều năm trở lại đây. Lực lượng lao động dồi dào, chi phí nhân công giá rẻ cùng thị trường lớn là những nguyên nhân chính dẫn đến sự chuyển dịch này.

“Lực lượng lao động ở Việt Nam đang được đào tạo ngày một bài bản và giá nhân công hiện vẫn khá rẻ so với Singapore”, ông James Tan, đối tác quản lý cấp cao của Quỹ đầu tư mạo hiểm Quest Ventures, nhận định.

Bên cạnh đó, ông Tan cũng cho rằng tầng lớp trung lưu đang phát triển và hiểu biết công nghệ của người dân ngày càng tăng biến Việt Nam trở thành một thị trường tiềm năng cho các công ty khởi nghiệp Singapore, qua đó giúp việc tìm kiếm vốn đầu tư tại Việt Nam trở nên dễ dàng hơn.

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Low labour costs, strong investor interest drawing S’pore start-ups into Vietnam

The Straits Times

SINGAPORE – The number of start-ups from Singapore venturing overseas through Enterprise Singapore’s Global Innovation Alliance (GIA) acceleration programmes has ballooned to more than 400 in less than five years.

One of the more popular destinations is Vietnam, with its large workforce, lower labour costs and sizeable market, say experts.

“The labour force in Vietnam is increasingly well educated and still relatively cheap compared to Singapore,” said Mr James Tan, managing partner of venture capital company Quest Ventures.

Vietnam has a tech-savvy population and a burgeoning middle class, making it a potential pool of customers as well, Mr Tan added.

Since the expansion of the GIA network to Vietnam in 2019 via EnterpriseSG’s partnership with Quest Ventures, more than 45 Singapore-based start-ups across sectors such as edtech (educational technology) healthtech and information technology have participated in the Vietnam GIA acceleration programme, said Mr Jonathan Lim, director for Global Innovation Network at EnterpriseSG.

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Singapore companies make beeline for reopened Vietnam

The Business Times

The city state was Vietnam’s top foreign investor for the second straight year in 2021, and still holds the pole position for H1 2022 with direct investment contributions totalling S$4.1b.

Just months after Vietnam reopened to international visitors, some Singapore companies are wasting no time heading to the South-east Asian country in search of opportunities, in areas from tech to lifestyle.

To get a head start on these plans, the company participated in the Global Innovation Alliance (GIA) accelerator programme in Vietnam in August. Formed by a partnership between Enterprise Singapore (EnterpriseSG) and venture capital firm Quest Ventures, the programme is curated for “high-potential” startups and companies, with masterclasses, market immersion programmes and ongoing mentorship.

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Is Shopee a villain or victim in this turbulent economy?

KrASIA

It seems Shopee isn’t the only company facing economic headwinds. James Tan, the managing partner of Quest Ventures, said in an interview with CNBC that business costs are getting higher as loan interest rates continue to rise. According to Tan, businesses in Southeast Asia are in for a rough ride that will last the next 18–36 months.

Other platforms such as Malaysia-based iPrice, Indonesia-based JD.ID, and mobile wallet LinkAja have also announced their own layoff plans.

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More help for startups, SMEs and young innovators in managing intellectual property

The Business Times

THE Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (Ipos) on Tuesday (Sep 6) announced initiatives to help innovators manage their intellectual property (IP) through free legal advice, patent drafting services, training and other resources.

“Startups are hothouses for new ideas that could be brought to market, but may lack the expertise to identify and effectively exploit their innovations through IP,” said Second Minister for Law Edwin Tong during an opening address at IP Week 2022, a global IP event held in Singapore.

The 12 accelerators and incubators in the programme’s first phase include the Action Community for Entrepreneurship, Origgin Ventures and Quest Ventures.

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Kazakhstan and Singapore Seek New Economic Opportunities in Transit, Transport, and Digital Transformation

The Astana Times

“Singapore and Kazakhstan share excellent bilateral ties at the highest levels, and we look forward to closer bilateral collaboration. We also shared a common perspective on the importance of inter-faith and inter-religious harmony in our societies. Singapore and Kazakhstan will commemorate the 30th anniversary of diplomatic ties next year. I look forward to hosting Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on a state visit in the future,” wrote President Halima Yacoub on her official Facebook page following the meeting.

Digital transformation is another promising area for Kazakhstan and Singapore, which is a hotbed of startup and innovation activities and considered Southeast Asia’s Silicon Valley.

One of the major projects has been the Kazakhstan Digital Accelerator launched in 2020 by Quest Ventures, a top Singaporean venture capital firm, and QazTech Ventures, a subsidiary of Kazakhstan’s Baiterek National Holding to support startups in Kazakhstan and drive the Central Asia innovation ecosystem forward through their comprehensive program and seed funding.

Since its launch in 2020, the program has had three cohorts, with more than 300 applications, 39 projects accepted and 30 of them receiving investments of up to $50,000 at the given moment.

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SaaS-стартап BILLZ из Узбекистана: как выход на казахстанский рынок поможет расшириться на СНГ и Юго-Восточную Азию

vc.ru

BILLZ – это инструмент для управления продажами в онлайне, ориентированный на малый и средний бизнес. Сегодня BILLZ охватывает примерно 5-10% рынка в своей стране, а в этом году проект вышел на рынок Казахстана. Мы пообщались с одним из основателей Рустамом Хамдамовым и выяснили, почему полезно пройти стартап-школу о YCombinator, зачем становиться резидентом IT Park в Узбекистане и при каких условиях зарубежные фонды готовы инвестировать в стартапы из Центральной Евразии.

Первый фонд, который инвестировал в нас $150 000 – британский Sturgeon Capital. Он работает со стартапами на развивающихся рынках, и мы стали первым стартапом в Узбекистане, в который они инвестировали. Раунд seed нам помог закрыть этот же фонд, предложив еще $150 000, а также сингапурский Quest Ventures, от которого мы получили $500 000. Этот раунд мы закрыли в мае 2022 года, и уже в ноябре планируем открывать следующий.

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ZumVet raises US$3.7m to bring the dog-tor to more pets

The Business Times

SINGAPORE-BASED ZumVet, a startup offering remote pet care services, has raised US$3.7 million in Series A funding led by Quest Ventures and existing investor Pine Venture Partners, and joined by Pentepebble Holdings.

The startup provides remote care, home-based diagnostics and self-administered treatment programmes for pet owners in South-east Asia. It previously secured funding from Purpose Venture Capital and Aetius Capital.

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Singapore pet care startup closes $3.7m series A

Tech in Asia

ZumVet, a Singapore-based pet care startup, has secured US$3.7 million in its series A funding round.

The round was jointly led by Quest Ventures and Pine Venture Partners, with participation from Pentepebble Holdings.

Founded in 2019 by Lee and Grace Su, ZumVet previously completed a seven-digit US dollar seed round led by Pine Venture Partners. It also took second place in Tech in Asia’s Startup Arena Pitch Battle 2020.

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Stories of Singapore start-up founders told in new book

The Straits Times

The book features interviews with start-up founders and venture capitalists and stories from Dr Sandhya Sriram, co-founder of Shiok Meats, the first cell-based seafood company in South-east Asia, and Ms Goh Yiping, a former partner at venture capital firm Quest Ventures.

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臺星關鍵三方合作 培育南方創新碩果

Commercial Times

國際企業創新與策略發展領導品牌Rainmaking Innovation Taiwan(RMI)與經濟部成立之「亞灣新創園」及新加坡創業行動社群(Action Community for Entrepreneurship, ACE),共同舉辦「臺星新創交流計畫」協助新創拓展國際市場。活動於2022年7月25日舉辦線上簽署MoU儀式,在經濟部陳正祺次長、駐新加坡台北代表處梁國新代表、新加坡駐台北商務辦事處代表葉偉傑先生以及中小企業處處長何晉滄博士及胡貝蒂副處長等人見證下,由資策會副執行長蕭博仁博士、ACE主席陳中及RMI執行長莊劍偉三方簽署並宣布正式啟動臺星新創雙向交流合作。

ACE主席陳中表示:「這項合作將為新加坡與臺灣的新創公司帶來更多商機,加強雙方之間的生意往來,促進跨境合作。新加坡新創公司到臺灣,除了獲得導師服務以及取得創投的機會,臺灣的戰略地位面向龐大市場且擁有許多大型企業,有助新加坡新創加速成長。」

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Lunch with Sumiko: SGAG founders find success avoiding race, religion, sex and violence

The Straits Times

In 2016, they set up Hepmil Media as a holding company for their fast-expanding business, which is now also in Malaysia (MGAG) and the Philippines (PGAG).

Last November, the company closed a US$10 million (S$14 million) Series A funding round led by venture capital firm Quest Ventures, Pavilion Capital – a private equity firm under Singapore’s Temasek – and Bent Pixels, the world’s largest gaming lifestyle media platform.

Mr Ang says Hepmil’s content teams in Malaysia and the Philippines have autonomy to publish content. But the same guidelines apply across countries: “No race-related content, no religious content, no sexual content, no violent content,” he says.

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Why Singapore’s hi-tech maritime dream still isn’t shipshape

The Ken

The Port of Singapore has held the crown of world’s busiest transshipment port by TEUs since 2020. Singapore’s ambitions go beyond just wearing that coveted crown, however. It wants its shipping industry, a core sector for the city-state’s economy, to be a highly-digitised, global maritime technology startup hub.

And to that effect, it has sunk in effort and money in the last few years. All to address key challenges such as decarbonisation, digitisation, supply-chain resistance that have dogged the industry.

Singapore’s efforts at incubating startups in a rusty old sector has borne some fruit. There are startups such as decarbonisation solutions company Everimpact and crew management platform Greywing up and running in the segment.

But change has been slow to come. According to startups The Ken spoke to, convincing large maritime corporations to adopt these digital solutions has been an uphill task. And the gap between domain expertise and technology hasn’t helped.

For now, there are a bunch of godfathers helping these startups get their ships sailing. PIER71, for instance, connects demand drivers and startups. Marine venture builder ShipsFocus and Singapore-based Quest Ventures also collaborated to launch a S$10 million (US$7.5 million) maritime fund last year.

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Women in tech: How these VCs are helping to close gender gap in Southeast Asia

TechNode Global

While Quest Ventures does not rule out the possibility of setting up women-focused investment funds, the firm will only consider such a move if it makes sense for its LPs and the investment thesis.

“Investment funds specifically for female entrepreneurs or female-led startups are increasing, but you can also invest in them through a gender-neutral fund,” Quest Ventures Head of Environmental, Social & Governance Michelle Ng told TechNode Global.

According to her, Quest Ventures has always been supportive of female entrepreneurs.

“We are big on diversity and inclusion. More than 36 percent of Quest portfolio companies are led by female founders,” Ng added.

“Quest Ventures will continue supporting and investing in female entrepreneurs. It would be through the ecosystems that we have built and funding support. We have also ensured that our team is diverse, for example, we promoted two female investors earlier in the year. This will help us identify more opportunities for female entrepreneurs and female-oriented solutions,” she added.

Quest Ventures’ Ng’s suggestions to women tech entrepreneurs are straightforward and simple: “Take risks and be confident.”

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Ibrahim Sani’s Notepad: Quest Ventures Day Malaysia

Astro Awani

Jeffrey Seah, Partner, Asia Fund of Quest Ventures speaks to Ibrahim Sani on the VC’s Ventures Day Malaysia event, set to take place this 14th of July in Kuala Lumpur.

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Filipino Forbes 30-Under-30 Honorees Get Together

Esquire

Filipino members of the prestigious Forbes 30 Under 30 club—recipients of the business media platform’s annual citation for young people—came together for a night of networking and camaraderie in Makati City on Tuesday (June 28).

Hosted by entrepreneur Victor Lim and his Kraver’s Canteen startup, the get-together was also attended by prominent members of the local startup community, including founders and representatives of venture capital firms and funds.

The Forbes 30 Under 30 honorees spotted at the event included Lim himself, Rexy Dorado of Kumu, Henry Motte Muñoz of Edukasyon.ph, Billie Dumaliang of Masungi Georeserve, Georgianna Carlos of Fetch Naturals, photojournalist Gab Mejia, drone pioneer and Earnie startup founder Matt Cua, Shawntel Nicole Nieto of One Cainta Food Program, Ariane Lim of AcadArena, Carmina Bayombong of InvestEd, Ryan Gersava of Virtualahan, and Shahab Shabibi of Machine Ventures.

There was no program, save for a short speech by Lim, who thanked everyone for making time to see each other in real life on a rainy Tuesday night. He also thanked the sponsors who made the event possible, including Quest Ventures, Kaya Founders, Foxmont Capital, and Oak Drive Ventures.

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Consumer insights platform Populix bags US$7.7m in funds

Marketing Interactive

Indonesia-based consumer insights platform Populix has raised US$7.7 million in a Series A funding led by Intudo Ventures and Acrew Capital, with participation from Altos Ventures and Quest Ventures. Co-founder and CEO Timothy Astandu told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE that 15% of the funding will go to marketing.

Populix will also use the funds to reinforce its efforts to digitise the entire data collection process while continuing to optimise existing products and release new services to enable anyone to make more informed decisions about their businesses. It also aims to recruit product and tech engineering experts to enhance data collection efforts and better meet the needs of more clients, as well as bring on marketing and regional expansion roles.

Populix raised US$1.2 million in pre-series A funding last May, led by Intudo Ventures with participation from new investors Quest Ventures and a number of strategic investors. According to Populix then, the proceeds were used to enhance marketing efforts, roll out new products, and bring on new hires.

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Populix Raises US$7.7M in Series A Funding

FINSMES

Populix, a Jakarta, Indonesia-based consumer insights platform provider, closed a US$7.7m Series A round of financing.

The round was led by Intudo Ventures and Acrew Capital, with participation from Altos Ventures and Quest Ventures.

The company intends to use the funds to reinforce its efforts to digitize the entire data collection process, to optimize existing products and release new services to enable anyone to make more informed decisions about their businesses, to recruit product and tech engineering experts to enhance data collection efforts, to initiate regional expansion by 2023 to neighboring Southeast Asian countries, building off its dominant position in Indonesia, with a focus on the Poplite product line.

Founded in January 2018 by Timothy Astandu, CEO, Populix is a technology-driven consumer insights platform, providing comprehensive research and data collection for businesses, institutions, and individuals to make more informed business decisions through quantitative and qualitative studies.

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Southeast Asia’s start-ups have fired hundreds of workers, and this may be just the beginning

CNBC

Hundreds of workers from start-ups in Southeast Asia have been fired in the last few months, proving that the fast-growing industry is not immune to the global economic slowdown.

As borrowing costs rise and the economy faces uncertainty, “it would be odd not to see companies laying off,” said James Tan, managing partner of venture capital firm Quest Ventures. “Any start-up that does not do so will face a board that [questions] their underlying assumptions and ability to manage through a crisis.”

Startups will need to prolong the cash runway by 18 to 36 months compared to the usual 12 to 18 months before they try to raise funds again, Tan said.

As valuations have fallen from last year’s high, companies will want to avoid raising money with the possibility of being valued lower than their last fundraising round. They would rather try to cut costs, and ride out this downturn before fundraising again, he added.

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Climate tech in Southeast Asia: changing the business ecosystem

Tech Collective

As climate change issues become increasingly evident, bringing about threatening natural disasters and economic devastation, there has been an uptick in companies focusing on sustainable business models and carbon footprint reduction. Climate tech in Southeast Asia is gaining greater attention than it has in other countries, especially as the region is most likely to bear the brunt of an ecological disaster.

With the United Nations pushing its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the climate tech startups Southeast Asia adopting  these ideals as well. Investment in the climate tech sector is also on the rise, as venture capitalists, angel investors, and government-backed environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) programmes evaluate sustainability and eco-credentials when considering funding.

While more businesses realise the importance of environmental awareness and the future of the human race, Quest Ventures is already ahead of the game. This venture capital fund, which was founded in 2009, has focused on startups that take an ESG approach to business since 2018.

The company has always recognised the importance of investing in digital innovations, and has refined its criteria to include ESG principles. Quest Ventures, located in Singapore, has made 93 investments and contributed to three funds in APAC, including recent investments in Filipino company Kraver’s Canteen, Malaysia-based Howuku and Indonesian startup GuruInovatif.

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The PH tech revolution starts with a bite

Manila Bulletin

Filipinos spend almost 30 per cent of their income on food alone. This gives any food-related business massive potential for growth. It’s quite appropriate that the Philippines impending tech revolution could be kickstarted by its food industry.

The food and beverage (F&B) business used to be a daunting one, particularly for those new to it. A budding restaurant wouldn’t just need a great chef, but lots of capital, some business acumen, and a great location as well.

As far as cloud kitchens go, Kraver’s Canteen is one of leading in the country. Founded by food industry veteran, Eric Thomas Dee, e-commerce authority, Victor Lim, and finance specialist, Victor Mapua, Kraver’s currently has 11 kitchens that cater to online customers across Metro Manila.

Besides simply offering a kitchen, Kraver’s is hoping to go beyond and serve as a partner for growth and making it easy to scale up a food business.

In the 2022 Series A, in addition to welcoming a heavy-weight regional investor in Quest Ventures, Kraver’s strengthened its Philippines stronghold by securing local partners Oak Drive Ventures, Martin Cu, Francis Wee, Anthony Oundjian and Rohit Gulati.

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Social forestry project wins the Liveability Challenge 2022

Eco-Business

A social forestry project has won the 2022 edition of the Liveability Challenge, a yearly search for ways to tackle the most difficult sustainability challenges faced in Southeast Asia.

Fairventures Social Forestry, a team from Germany, emerged ahead of five other finalists to clinch the grand prize of S$1 million (US$728,000) in funding from Temasek Foundation, the sponsor of the Liveability Challenge and philanthropic arm of Temasek, Singapore’s state-investment company.

The Fairventures project aims to sustainably manage forests and improve livelihoods in Jambi, Indonesia, using a scalable social forestry model that incorporates blended finance.

The winner was chosen from a field of finalists that included an initiative to curb the energy consumption of data centre through artificial intelligence and digital twin technology by a team from Singapore called Red Dot Analytics, and a large-scale carbon sequestration project by British team CQUESTR8.

Also among the finalists were GAIT, a team from Singapore and New Zealand that measures carbon, and Wasna, a team from Belgium and Singapore that makes low-cost cultivated meat using a universal serum.

The sixth finalist was ImpacFat, a Japan-Singapore team that produces alternative meat products using cell-based fish fat.

Additional prizes of S$50,000 from Quest Ventures went to Fairventures and ImpacFat, S$100,000 from Purpose Venture Capital was awarded to Red Dot Analytics, and S$100,000 from Amasia went to GAIT.

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JTC bolsters Southeast Asian innovation through LaunchPad

e27

It is crucial for startups, enablers, and venture capitalists to be plugged into a community that allows them to thrive in the long run. This was why JTC, a government agency in charge of Singapore’s industrial development, started LaunchPad.

Located at one-north and Jurong Innovation District, LaunchPad offers a total of 60,000sqm of modular units of varying sizes to suit the requirements of startups. This includes those from industries like advanced manufacturing and engineering, agri-food technology, biomedical sciences, infocomm technology and media, and urban solutions.

Besides reliable infrastructure, LaunchPad seeks to foster an atmosphere of vibrancy and community. There are multiple opportunities for partnerships, programming support through learning and networking events both offline and online, and various shared facilities.

Prolific names such as Carousell, a leading second-hand goods marketplace, and ShopBack, a shopping and rewards platform, are some of the startups that got their start at LaunchPad.

But there’s space for more. “LaunchPad has the potential to house a wider variety of industries and ecosystem stakeholders going forward. Bigger VCs and startups may want to land in LaunchPad. This will promote more deal flows and better ideas with stronger collaborations between the relevant parties,” said James Tan, Chairman of the Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE), a trade association advocating startups’ interests and bridging communications between startups and the Singapore government.

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VC execs shed light on investment trends and how S’pore startups can brace themselves for it

VulcanPost

At the Asia Tech x Singapore 2022 event held yesterday (June 1), one particular keynote discussed the regional investment trends and what that means for startups in this landscape.

Michael Lints, a partner at Golden Gate Ventures, observed that investors are being more cautious, and that the narratives and mindsets for venture capital firms have changed from one of “growth at all costs” to one of finding the “path to profitability”.

Michelle Ng, head of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) at Quest Ventures, concurred with Michael, suggesting that during this stage, startups cannot expect valuations to be as generous as they were before.

She also advised founders to be prudent with spending, and to cut down on operational costs as much as possible.

Several panelists urged startups to better consider the ESG aspects of their businesses, and hinted that it might provide greater incentives for investors to fund these startups.

On this point, an audience member queried about the trade-offs between profits and ESG goals, and how much venture capital firms like Quest Ventures might consider the importance of ESG.

The reply was that profitability and sustainability are not actually mutually exclusive, and that any business that wants to be successful also needs to be sustainable.


Startup ecosystem not as bullish now, but fresh capital is available, says panel

The Business Times

WITH inflationary pressures on the rise following the stock market meltdown and the Russia-Ukraine war, the startup ecosystem is not as bullish this year as it was last year, though startups can still tap the dry powder still readily available in South-east Asia, a panel of investors said at InnovFest x Elevating Founders, the official start-up event of Asia Tech x Singapore (ATxSG), this week.

Michael Lints, a partner at venture capital firm Golden Gate Ventures who took part in the discussion, said that the worldwide crisis has affected the way investors look at investing in early- and late-stage companies.

He noted that 2021 had been a bullish year for the ecosystem, with companies raising funds at high valuations and quickly as well.

This year, the sentiment has changed, he said.

However, Lints said he believes that startups in the region can still expect exciting times; several venture capitalists have raised fresh capital that they need to deploy this year, with Jungle Ventures’ recent US$600 million fund-raising as an example.

In agreement with Lints, Michelle Ng, head of environmental, social and governance at Quest Ventures, also a venture capital firm, said she sees a lot of dry powder among venture capitalists, especially those in South-east Asia.

Ng noted that the bulk of funds in South-east Asia are in Singapore and Indonesia, but that Vietnam also held “tremendous opportunity”.

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Meet the LaunchPad community

JTC Corp

Quest Ventures James Tan, in his capacity as Chairman of the Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE Singapore), lauds LaunchPad as a space that spurs innovation and collaborations.

“You can’t grow start-ups without strong support from a tight-knit community. We work closely with our Institutes of Higher Learning, corporates, venture capitalists and the public sector. LaunchPad is that space that gathers everyone in this diverse and vibrant ecosystem,” said James Tan.

“The value really is in that intersection of ideas. You see corporates engaging with start-ups seated at Timbre+. You can get a $1 coffee and still have a quality conversation with a CEO of some MNC. You cannot get this anywhere else,” he continues.

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Quest Ventures leads investment into BILLZ, a user-friendly retail management software for SMEs

TechNode Global

BILLZ announced that it has raised a new round of funding from international institutional investors. The round was led by venture capital firm Quest Ventures and included participation from Sturgeon Capital, a London-based VC fund that invests in emerging markets.

BILLZ is a retail management software powered with POS, inventory management, CRM, e-commerce and analytics for small and medium-sized businesses. It helps to save time on daily retail operations and sell more by using marketing tools and analytics. Additionally, it helps to integrate the products with marketplaces, Facebook & Instagram shops to sell their products online.

BILLZ is already used by more than 800 retail locations in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and, Tajikistan. The team is planning to continue satisfying its customers by developing new products and features.

“BILLZ is a great example of how digitalization and automation in retail can be improved at scale. It empowers employees to focus on more value-added functions, increases efficiency, and uplifts employability,” said Mr James Tan, Managing Partner of Quest Ventures, who will join the board of directors of BILLZ.

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Forbes 30 Under 30 – Victor Lim

Forbes

Victor Lim, co-founder of Kraver’s Canteen is named a Forbes 30 Under 30 in retail and ecommerce – reinventing how we shop, on and offline.

Lim is the e-commerce entrepreneur behind Kraver’s Canteen, a multi-brand cloud kitchen network he cofounded in 2020. Built on a network of kitchens across metro hubs, Kraver’s serves popular brands like Foodee Group and Pizza Hut alongside private-label restaurants. The startup raised $3 million in a Series A led by Quest Ventures, following a seed round of 73 million Philippine pesos ($1.4 million). Last July, Kraver’s partnered with Grab Philippines to set up GrabKitchen for restaurants without physical locations, and in March launched Kra-Verse, a meta delivery and dining experience.

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Soul of Business: A shot in the arm for Social Enterprises with first VC backed Accelerator Programme

Money FM 89.3

Money FM 89.3 interviews Quest Ventures to find out more about the Sustainable Impact Accelerator.

On the Soul of Business, social enterprises have proven to be resilient and innovative in the face of Covid-19, but more support is needed to develop the sector here. Melissa Hyak speaks to James Tan, Managing Partner of Quest Ventures and Alfie Othman, Chief Executive Officer of raiSE about Asia’s first venture capital-backed accelerator programme to help with their growth.

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SG-based Glife raises $2.9m Series A extension led by Heliconia Capital

DealStreetAsia

Singapore-based foodtech company Glife has secured S$4 million ($2.88 million) in a Series A extension round led by Temasek subsidiary Heliconia Capital, according to regulatory filings.

The round was joined by Malaysia’s Hibiscus Fund, Quest Ventures and individual investors, show Glife’s filings with Singapore’s Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).

Prior to the Series A1 round, Glife had raised $10.34 million in total. Series A1 investor Quest Ventures had previously invested in the startup’s pre-seed round in 2019.

Founded in 2018 by Justin Chou, who is also the executive director of plant-based food supplier Growthwell and co-founder of vegetarian food chain Greendot, Glife runs an app and website that enable food and beverage businesses to buy, manage, and track their orders.

Last month, Glife acquired a controlling stake in Bali-based farm-to-table startup PanenID, and Malaysia’s Yolek, a distributor to hotels, restaurants and catering companies. Earlier this month, it announced an investment in Vietnamese agritech supply chain startup Koina.

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AIFC participant «BILLZ» raised $650,000 with support of VentureRocket Eurasia

Kazinform

The AIFC member, Uzbekistan-based retail startup, «BILLZ», has successfully closed a $650 000 investment round, led by a Singapore-based venture capital (VC) firm Quest Ventures, that invests in innovative projects in the region, and Sturgeon Capital, a London-based VC fund that invests in early-stage innovative projects.

BILLZ (https://billz.uz/) is an easy-to-use retail management software powered with POS, inventory management, CRM, e-commerce, and analytics for small and medium sized businesses. It helps to save time on daily retail operations and sell more by using marketing tools and analytics,

Mr James Tan, Managing Partner of Quest Ventures, said: «BILLZ is a great example of how digitalization and automation in retail can be improved at scale. It empowers employees to focus on more value-added functions, increases efficiency, and uplifts employability». Mr James Tan, in turn, will join the company’s Board of Directors.

The raised funds are planned to be spent on the further development of the product – business model validation, developing new functionality, and the geographical growth of the project, by entering new markets.

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Quest Ventures leads Uzbekistan SaaS firm’s $650k raise

Tech In Asia

Uzbekistan-based Billz, a retail business management software, has raised US$650,000 in a funding round led by Quest Ventures. Sturgeon Capital also returned after making a US$150,000 investment in an earlier round.

This will fund the firm’s expansion plans within the Commonwealth of Independent States as it grows its development team and marketing efforts.

Billz provides point of sale, inventory management, customer relationship management, ecommerce, and analytics services with SMEs as its target users. It also links to social media platforms’ marketplaces.

Billz was founded in 2017 by Rustam Khamdamov, Jakhongir Narzullaev, and Vadim Zakharyan. The company said that it has 800 retail locations across Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.

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SoftBank Ventures Asia Leads $5.8 Million Investment In Korean Autonomous Shipping Startup

Forbes

SoftBank Ventures Asia, the venture arm of Japanese billionaire Masayoshi Son’s SoftBank Group, led a $5.8 million round in South Korean autonomous navigation startup Seadronix, bringing its total funding to date to $8.3 million.

The autonomous shipping industry in Asia has seen a wave of investment over the past few years, dovetailing with a global push towards “smarter” autonomous transportation. Toyota AI Ventures, for example, launched a $100 million fund in 2019 for autonomous mobility, covering the shipping industry with an investment in Boston-based Sea Machines.

Last August, Boston Consulting Group’s innovation arm, BCG Digital Ventures, invested in three Singapore-based maritime tech startups. Quest Ventures, also based in the city-state, launched a $7.5 million maritime technology fund last year, in collaboration with Singapore-based ShipsFocus.

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Kra-Verse Food Hall combines food delivery with the metaverse

Marketing Interactive

Cloud kitchen operator Kraver’s Canteen, which has been building cloud kitchen facilities for delivery-only restaurants, has recently launched the Kra-Verse Food Hall, which mixes the convenience of ordering online with an immersive metaverse experience.

As Kraver’s Canteen co-founder Eric Dee envisions it, the Kra-Verse Food Hall will elevate the dining-and/or-delivery activity through an online virtual restaurant location that has the potential to offer customers seemingly unlimited opportunities to choose and indulge their food cravings. At the same time, food companies that become part of the Kra-Verse Food Hall could try out new markets and build their brands.

Kraver’s Canteen, which has positioned itself as one of the Philippines’ most successful cloud kitchen businesses since its establishment in 2020, has ten kitchens in Metro Manila in its network.

Meanwhile, the Kra-Verse Food Hall will introduce new food brands to Filipino foodies such as  NBA legend Dwayne Wade’s D.Wade Burgers.

Shortly after launching Kra-Verse Food Hall, Kraver’s Canteen raised US$3 million in a series A round led by Quest Ventures and joined by Foxmont Capital, Oak Drive Ventures, and Kaya Founders.

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Philippine cloud kitchen firm Kraver’s Canteen secures $3M Series A led by Quest Ventures

TechNode Global

The Kraver’s Group has secured $3 million in Series A funding. Best known for its cloud kitchen startup Kraver’s Canteen which runs 11 cloud kitchens in the Philippines. The two-year-old startup’s Series A funding round was led by Quest Ventures Asia Fund II as its first investment in the Philippines.

Kraver’s Canteen is Quest Ventures’ third cloud kitchen investment in the region, having previously invested in Indonesian cloud kitchen operator Yummy Corp.

Founded in 2020, Kraver’s Canteen is led by its Head of Tech and Operations Victor Lim along with Head of Food and Product, Eric Dee, as well as Victor Mapua, Head of Infrastructure and Finance. Kraver’s Canteen raised $1.5 million in April 2021 during its Seed funding round.

Kraver’s technology provides high-end meal experiences for its customers by allowing them to heat food without using a microwave. Moreover, Kraver has a metaverse experience – Kra-Verse Food Hall – to make the ordering experience fun for their customers. An online brand known as Krave is featured on the Kra-verse Food Hall, allowing it to address food trends quickly due to its ability to add and remove items rapidly as a cloud kitchen. Kraver plans to incorporate this technology into many different brands.

“The three Kraver’s founders have demonstrated a granular-level understanding of the cloud kitchen business and its ancillary domains; their unique backgrounds and experiences have added management bench diversity, making them even stronger when they come together.” Said Jeffrey Seah, Partner of Quest Ventures Asia Fund II.

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Gokongwei-backed cloud kitchen startup raises US$3m to fight ‘delivery fatigue’

The Business Times

THE Kraver’s Group, a Philippine cloud kitchen operator backed by Lance Gokongwei and Christopher Po, has gotten a funding boost out of Singapore.

The 2-year-old startup has raised US$3 million in Series A funding led by Singapore’s Quest Ventures, an early-stage investor that has also backed Indonesian cloud kitchen operator Yummy Corp.

The startup also previously bagged US$1.5 million in pre-Series A funding. Investors included Foodee and several corporate titans – Gokongwei, who is chairman at Robinsons Group and chief executive of Philippine conglomerate JG Summit; Po, chairman of canned food giant Century Pacific; and George Pua, president of F&B operator Meat Concepts.

Other early investors include Philippine venture builder Kaya Founders; early-stage venture firm Foxmont Capital; Brian Cu, who set up the Philippine units of Grab and Zalora; and Paulo Campos III, who also set up Zalora Philippines.

Both Cu and Campos, alongside Gokongwei and Po, are on the board of Kraver’s. With the latest round, Jeffrey Seah, partner at Quest Ventures, is also joining the board.

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Hiring made easy: How to survive the talent war against tech behemoths?

As the tech talent war intensifies and more companies chuck large sums of money to poach talents, it is no doubt why 65 per cent of those looking out indicated salary as the primary reason. After all, senior software engineers at the 90 percentile earn US$11,500, according to the Tech Talent Compensation 2021/2022 Report by NodeFlair and Quest Ventures.

However, not all companies are fortunate enough to be armed with a massive war chest to compete with the tech giants like Bytedance, Foodpanda and FAANG. After all, these companies pay at least 25 per cent above the market median on average.

So, how can you survive the talent war against these tech behemoths?

Besides salary, non-compensation benefits play a deciding factor when choosing which company to join.

More


Younger entrepreneurs are on the rise, seeking more than stability and security

The Business Times

BENJAMIN Wong was 27 years old when he decided to take things into his own hands and become his own boss.

Together with his friend Hafiz Kasman, the two Singapore Management University (SMU) graduates founded their own business in 2020. The company, Kinobi, is a career guidance service platform that aims to help graduates in Singapore and Indonesia accelerate their careers.

Entrepreneurship is driving its reach out to the younger crowd, enticing university students and fresh graduates to jump on the bandwagon and seek startup success.

Entrepreneurial education has also contributed to a growth of interest in the field of study, said Ng.

He cited the NUS Overseas College’s internship programme as one that has played a role in shaping students’ inclination towards entrepreneurship.

Aside from NUS, other universities such as Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Management University and Singapore Institute of Management provide courses in entrepreneurship as well, allowing students to pursue second majors or minors in the field of study.

Entering into these programmes in university helps them to crystallise their passion right before they go out to work, and they are presented with the opportunity to found their own startups, said James Tan, founder of Quest Ventures and chairman of ACE (Action Community for Entrepreneurship).

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Into the New World: Pioneers of virtual economy emerge as victors amongst ventures

Singapore Business Review

In an era where mobile phones have replaced wallets, where online commerce has slowly taken over physical retail, and where transactions have become borderless, it is no surprise that fintech startups dominated the eleventh edition of Singapore Business Review’s 20 Hottest Startups, taking over eight of the 20 spots in the list.

Leading the pack in terms of latest funding is Spenmo which has already raised $45.70m, followed by Syfe ($40.33m), Volopay ($39.59m), Endowus ($35m), CyberHash ($26.96m), Xen Capital ($10.08m), Jenfi ($6.3m), and STACS ($4.85m).

What makes these startups—and fintech, in general—attractive to investors is that they are pandemic resilient, and they are taking part in the strengthening of the digital commerce ecosystem, according to Quest Ventures’ head of Environmental, Social & Governance and director of Sustainable Impact Accelerator, Michelle Ng.

Quest Ventures’ Ng urged founders who are just starting to raise funds for their startup to “focus on solving real-world problems and value creation for your users and stakeholders.”

Ng, for her part, said Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) must be on top of startups’ strategy and operations, as VCs also look into this aspect.

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Quest Ventures and raiSE launch accelerator for socially impactful enterprises

TechNode Global

Quest Ventures and the Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise (raiSE) said Tuesday they have launched Asia’s first venture capital-backed accelerator programme to provide financial and non-financial support to seed-stage start-ups in the sustainable impact sector, aimed at improving competencies and providing access to regional and global markets.

Both parties said in a statement that the Sustainable Impact Accelerator will select 30 socially impactful enterprises for funding, disbursing a total amount of SGD1.5 million ($1 million).

Under this programme, socially impactful enterprises can leverage private investors’ capital and resources to supercharge their growth and impact beyond existing markets.

Singapore’s Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam highlighted the accelerator as a key initiative that will establish stronger capabilities in the social enterprise ecosystem in Singapore.

“Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) and impact investing are not new concepts in Singapore and the region, but there is still plenty of room for growth. With the growing appetite for sustainable investments, the accelerator programme will benefit both investors and start-ups in tackling important social issues and gaps,” said James Tan, Managing Partner of Quest Ventures.

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SG’s Quest Ventures ties up with raiSE to launch social impact accelerator

DealStreetAsia

Singapore-based venture capital firm Quest Ventures and the Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise (raiSE) have launched an accelerator targeting startups in the social impact space.

The accelerator programme, which will run from June to August this year, will offer funding of up to $40,000, mentorship, and network access to seed-stage startups to help them to scale and access markets overseas. Applicants must already be generating revenue, have a user base, and demonstrate potential for double-digit year-on-year growth within the next five years.

“ESG and impact investing are not new concepts in Singapore and the region, but there is still plenty of room for growth. With the growing appetite for sustainable investments, the accelerator programme will benefit both investors and start-ups in tackling important social issues and gaps,” James Tan, the managing partner of Quest Ventures said in a press release.

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Quest Ventures, raiSE to back social impact firms through accelerator

Tech In Asia

Quest Ventures and Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise (raiSE) have launched the Sustainable Impact Accelerator (SIA), a program targeting seed-stage startups in the sustainability sector that are eyeing funding within the next 12 months.

The accelerator, which runs from June to August, will provide participants up to US$40,000 in funding on top of access to mentorship and networking opportunities. They will also get “family benefits,” which give access to startup-focused services.

“With the growing appetite for sustainable investments, the accelerator program will benefit both investors and startups in tackling important social issues and gaps,” said James Tan, managing partner of Quest Ventures.

More


Hiring made easy: How to survive the talent war against tech behemoths?

e27

As the tech talent war intensifies and more companies chuck large sums of money to poach talents, it is no doubt why 65 per cent of those looking out indicated salary as the primary reason. After all, senior software engineers at the 90 percentile earn US$11,500, according to the Tech Talent Compensation 2021/2022 Report by NodeFlair and Quest Ventures.

However, not all companies are fortunate enough to be armed with a massive war chest to compete with the tech giants like Bytedance, Foodpanda and FAANG. After all, these companies pay at least 25 per cent above the market median on average.

So, how can you survive the talent war against these tech behemoths?

Besides salary, non-compensation benefits play a deciding factor when choosing which company to join.

More


Fairmart eases retailers’ task of managing online inventory using an IoT smart scanner

e27

Fairmart has just closed a US$1.5M seed round co-led by Quest Ventures and Entrepreneur First, with participation from SOSV, Vectr Ventures and Hustle Fund.

Jan Gasparic and Daniil Moskovtsov met in 2020 at an Entrepreneur First programme in Singapore, where they began to discuss various problems in the market. At one point, a specific question crossed their minds: how hard it is to find whether or not a retail store carried a particular product?

Started in November 2020 and headquartered in Singapore, Fairmart helps SME retailers automatically digitise their products so that shoppers can find them online. It essentially solves the problems that prevent local retailers from leveraging the benefits of digitisation, starting with the most labour-intensive task of managing online inventory.

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Digital media veteran Joe Nguyen joins OTT platform VieON as MD

Marketing Interactive

Vietnamese OTT platform VieON has appointed Joe Nguyen (pictured) as its managing director. In his new role, he will help to build VieON into a stronger OTT player by building its SVOD subscriber base and its growing AVOD advertising business, alongside a large team.

In a conversation with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, Nguyen said that he decided to take on this role as he wanted to be in the middle of the growing OTT industry as the industry is a booming one. A recent study titled “The Future of TV 2022” by The Trade Desk found that OTT consumption is up 22% YoY in Southeast Asia.

Along with the lure of working in a growing industry, Nguyen added that he has always had plans to eventually live in Vietnam.

In addition to AVIA, Nguyen is a mentor and advisor to Quest Ventures and Trustworthy Accountability Group respectively. According to his LinkedIn, he was also a board member at the Mobile Marketing Association, APAC and eMarketingEye, a digital marketing agency based in Sri Lanka.

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Fairmart Raises USD$1.5M in Seed Funding

FINSMES

Fairmart, a Singapore-based platform that helps SME retailers to automatically digitise their products so shoppers can find them online, raised US$1.5M in Seed funding.

The round was led by Quest Ventures and Entrepreneur First, with participation from SOSV, Vectr Ventures and Hustle Fund.

The company intends to use the funds to expand operations and its business reach.

Led by CEO Jan Gasparic, Fairmart supports the digital transformation of minimarts, grocery and specialty stores in Singapore by automating inventory and omni-channel engagement. Store owners pay a monthly subscription so that whenever they scan a product using Fairmart’s smart scanner, it adds that product to the store’s Fairmart page, along with Google and Facebook. Shoppers searching for products can quickly see what’s available and either reserve for pick up or order directly.

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RaiSE unveils initiatives to scale up public-private synergies in Singapore’s social ecosystem

TechNode Global

The Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise raiSE on Wednesday unveiled initiatives to catalyse financing, capabilities, and talent to scale up public-private synergies in Singapore’s social ecosystem.

As financing to drive social impact becomes an increasingly pressing concern, raiSE has connected stakeholders from Singapore’s public and private sectors alike to collaborate on a new pay-for-success social impact bond (SIB), raiSE said in a statement.

In addition, to establish stronger capabilities within Singapore’s social enterprise ecosystem, raiSE has partnered with venture capital firm Quest Ventures to launch Asia’s first venture capital-backed, sustainable impact accelerator programme targeted at socially impactful enterprises.

Slated to run from June to August 2022, the Sustainable Impact Accelerator combines the expertise of raiSE and Quest Ventures to support socially impactful enterprises with high potential in scaling up their impact. They should have proven revenues, an enthusiastic user base, and clear intent or track record to integrate human-centred social impact, while also demonstrating potential for double-digit year-on-year growth within the next five years.

Start-ups will receive funding and capability support to drive their next stage of growth, and gain exposure to investors across key cities in Asia as they work towards raising an institutional investment round in the next 12 months.

Under the programme, eligible start-ups and businesses will undergo a unique curriculum designed by Quest Ventures and raiSE around achieving real-world outcomes and tangible impact. Participants will also gain access to both Quest Ventures’ and raiSE’s diverse network of mentors, entrepreneurs-in-residence, and founders.

Together, these resources build on existing seed and early-stage grants provided by raiSE and aim to further support social enterprises on their journey towards developing a sustainable and impactful business model so that they are in a good position to raise subsequent funding.

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Why Quest Ventures believes that the human-centricity of ESG investing will be more apparent

e27

Earlier this week, Quest Ventures announced the promotion of two female investors in its team. Michelle Ng, with her promotion to Head of ESG and concurrently Director of Sustainable Impact Accelerator, was named in this announcement alongside Gwen Sim, who was promoted to Associate.

With this promotion, Ng is going to lead the firm’s focus on ESG – a vertical that is becoming understandably popular due to its urgency and ability to create a positive impact in the various aspects of the public’s life.

Quest Ventures takes pride in being one of the earliest in the Southeast Asian (SEA) tech startup ecosystem to recognise the importance of ESG investing back in 2018. As time goes by and investment in the vertical becomes increasingly more important, the firm aims to double down its efforts.

With the announcement of her promotion, Ng states: “Total ESG assets in Asia have grown from a mere US$801 million in 2019 to US$7.9 billion in 2020, and global ESG assets are on track to exceed US$53 trillion by 2025. Investors have realised that people and social impact form the basis of ESG investing, and will no longer be considered in isolation from environmental and governance aspects.”

She continues, “Concerted efforts from the private and public sectors will hasten the integration of the social, technology and finance sectors in order to help socially-impactful enterprises scale further and faster.”

Ng further explains to e27 about the opportunities that the firm intends to pursue and why it requires some significant changes in its approach.

“ESG opportunities identified include the shift to Social (S) in ESG. The human-centricity of ESG investing will become more apparent and urgent,” she says.

She elaborated that with its focus on solutions addressing human-centred problems, the team will invest in and accelerate the growth of socially-impactful enterprises. To realise this mission, Quest Ventures has prepared several initiatives including the Sustainable Impact Accelerator, held in collaboration with raiSE (Singapore Centre For Social Enterprise).

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Tharman stresses need for companies to balance profits with doing good

CNA

Singapore’s Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam announced the launch of the Sustainable Impact Accelerator, an initiative by raiSE and Quest Ventures to build capabilities for social enterprises.

“raiSE has partnered with Quest Ventures, which is an established VC player in Singapore. raiSE provides the seed and early-stage grants, and Quest puts the enterprises on its accelerator programme, which means providing the curriculum, the tools and very importantly, giving them access to a network of investors so there is the potential for further funding,” Shanmugaratnam said.

He added that there is a need for companies to balance profits with doing good, amid a widening social gap exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and conflict.

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尚达曼:企业应加深合作 产生更巨大社会影响力

联合早报

企业应改变对社会效应投资看法,彼此进行更广泛合作,以产生更巨大的社会影响力(social impact)。

国务资政兼社会政策统筹部长尚达曼今早(3月30日)在首届社会效应投资大会“宗旨议程“(The PurpoSE Agenda)发表主题演讲时表示,越来越多企业意识到,如果它们忽视社会的长远发展,它们将不太可能在长期内取得良好业绩。

为加强本地社会企业的能力,raiSE与创投公司求索创投(Quest Ventures)合作,推出亚洲首个由风险投资支持的可持续影响力加速项目。在这措施下,起步社会企业将获得资金和支援,推动它们下一阶段的发展。

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Keynote Address by SM Tharman Shanmugaratnam and the Fireside Chat with raiSE Chairman Mr Gautam Banerjee at The PurpoSE Agenda

The PurpoSE Agenda is not just an agenda for each of us – whether in businesses, government, social agencies, community bodies. It is a collective purpose agenda, because the challenges we face will require much deeper collaboration. We are not going to build a more inclusive society, and we are not going to have a more sustainable world, without much deeper collaboration amongst us.

It essentially means that we’ve got to broaden the intersections between our individual missions. We each have important individual missions: businesses must aim to make a profit to be sustainable; social sector agencies must be focused on achieving social outcomes; community bodies look to strengthen bonds – each have their social missions. But there is an intersection between those missions. We’ve got to grow that intersection – the intersection between making a profit on a sustainable basis and doing good for the environment and for society. The missions are intrinsically dependent on each other.

We have to take ‘doing well by doing good’ to the next level in Singapore. We are off to a good start, still some ways to go, and we have to take it to the next level. Catalysing this intersection of business purpose with social and environmental purpose – in Singapore as well as across the region. We should think of Singapore’s collective purpose in regional terms, think of opportunities across the region to uplift people. Singapore will do well if we are in a region where everyone is being uplifted. That has always been the case. But that’s not just about the state or government policies. It is about businesses, and it is for Singaporeans as individuals wanting to do good in Singapore and around the region. There is huge opportunity for that.

Three initiatives that you have now embarked on, all very helpful.

First on catalysing finance itself – the social impact bonds that you have launched, aimed at providing jobs as well as retention in jobs for persons in recovery from mental health issues. I think that’s a very good example. It involves social enterprises: the project manager, which is Social Venture Partnerships and the service provider, Findjobs. NCSS and its partners were deeply involved – IMH, Singapore Association of Mental Health, and Singapore Anglican Community Services – they all worked together to shape the design of this programme, and also to help refer people to the job agency. And the providers of capital – Johnson & Johnson, a key investor, AP ventures which is a philanthropy venture, and C Plus V Foundation, which came through SymAsia, the Credit Suisse philanthropy platform. And raiSE came in as an outcome funder – funding based on outcomes. A good melding of expertise, different risk orientations, bringing both capital and purpose together.

A second initiative is building capabilities for social enterprise. raiSE has partnered with Quest Ventures, which is an established VC player in Singapore. raiSE provides the seed and early-stage grants, and Quest puts the enterprises on its accelerator programme, which means providing the curriculum, the tools and very importantly, giving them access to a network of investors so there is the potential for further funding.

Third initiative, talent, and developing the skills and aptitudes required for social enterprise. raiSE has partnered here with Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS), ideally chosen, to develop those instincts and skills when people are in school. Many SUSS students are in fact working adults who already have some experience. So, they come with experience, skills, but the programme is providing them with deeper immersion – traineeships that involve immersion in education, health, and wellness ventures – a range of ventures both here in Singapore, as well as the region.

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Quest Ventures promotes two female investors; one to head up ESG focus

Adobo Magazine

Quest Ventures announces the promotion of two female investors in its international investment team with one of them heading up the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) focus.

Michelle Ng is promoted to Head of ESG, and concurrently, Director of the Sustainable Impact Accelerator.

Ng has been with Quest Ventures since 2020 and drives its focus on emerging markets in Vietnam and Central Asia. She formerly headed the internationalization focus at the Action Community for Entrepreneurship – the national trade association for startups in Singapore – and was with CNBC Asia prior to ACE. She holds key office bearer positions in grassroots committees and non-profit organizations such as Social Impact Catalyst.

Ng said, “Total ESG assets in Asia have grown from a mere USD 801 million in 2019 to USD 7.9 billion in 2020, and global ESG assets are on track to exceed USD 53 trillion by 2025. Investors have realized that people and social impact form the basis of ESG investing, and will no longer be considered in isolation from environmental and governance aspects. Concerted efforts from the private and public sector will hasten the integration of the social, technology, and finance sectors in order to help socially-impactful enterprises scale further and faster.”

James Tan, Managing Partner at Quest Ventures, said, “Michelle’s thought leadership in the areas of sustainability and emerging economies have seen her recognized by third parties as an Emerging Thought Leader in 2021. As the first Asia-based venture firm to recognize the importance of ESG back in 2018, Quest Ventures is now doubling down on our ESG efforts, and looks forward to Michelle driving our sustainable impact forward.”

Gwen Sim is promoted to Associate.

Sim covers Southeast Asia with a focus on the key markets of Indonesia and The Philippines at Quest Ventures. She is an NUS Overseas College New York alumni and was formerly with Burda Principal Investments and Havas Media. She drives the firm’s Gen Z investment thesis and is a frequently sought after speaker on this topic.

Sim said, “Southeast Asia’s startup ecosystem has seen a lack of females with only 17.2% of VC-backed startups female-led. While the industry has been working to improve the balance, more deliberate efforts to include diversity of thought, and to be conscious of any deep rooted biases when making investment decisions, will be key to uplifting the entire ecosystem.”

Tan said, “Gwen’s infectious optimism for the future provides a unique lens on the possibilities of technology combined with capital. Southeast Asia’s most important consumer segment – Gen Z – now has an advocate in smart capital.”

Tan concluded, “These promotions continue our commitment to talent renewal and female leadership. With 37% of our portfolio companies led by female founders, we look forward to both Michelle and Gwen making a positive impact with their expanded roles.”

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Kamereo bags USD 4.6 million in Series A funding round

VietLaunch

F&B tech startup KAMEREO has successfully raised $4.6 million in a Series A funding round co-led by seed investors Quest Ventures, CPF Group and Genesia Ventures.

KAMEREO is Vietnam’s first ever technology-enabled supplier for restaurants, hotels, cafes, retail shops and offices. It’s a one-stop platform where farmers, producers, importers and buyers connect to trade a range of fruit and vegetable products at the best prices.

Ms. Goh Yiping, representative of Quest Ventures, was impressed by Kamereo’s ability to implement a comprehensive supply chain and market knowledge for the “farm to fork” model in Vietnam.

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Connections power this millennial’s insights startup

The Peak Magazine

“Senior leaders want to meet, but are too busy to network outside their circle and can’t approach each other cold,” explains Lee, the founder of expert insights firm Sealed Network.

His two-year-old firm scours the Southeast Asia region for subject matter experts and matches them with investment funds, corporates, and consultancies seeking insights on million-dollar investments.

As of 2022, Sealed has secured seven figures in funding from investors including Quest Ventures, Far East Ventures and XA Network.

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#TECH: ScaleUp Malaysia names 11 emerging startups selected to receive capital

New Straits Times

ScaleUp Malaysia, in partnership with Quest Ventures, Indelible Ventures, and Mranti signalled the culmination of its third cohort with the unveiling of its selection of top startups.

The cohort, which kicked off in August 2021 drew over 200 applications from 26 countries including Malaysia, the United States of America, Egypt, Indonesia, Singapore and Japan. Twenty companies were shortlisted to participate in Cohort 3 and placed into separate tracks, giving them exclusive access to Quest Ventures and Indelible Ventures respectively over the course of 16 weeks.

Quest Ventures has shown a commitment to developing the Malaysian ecosystem and has grown a portfolio of 16 companies in the nation through its partnership with ScaleUp Malaysia over the last 12 months.

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ScaleUp Malaysia names 11 startups in third cohort

Tech In Asia

ScaleUp Malaysia has revealed the 11 startups that have received investments as part of its third cohort – which was organized in partnership with Quest Ventures, Indelible Ventures, and Mranti.

The cohort kicked off in August 2021, seeing over 200 applications from 26 countries. ScaleUp Malaysia then selected 20 companies to participate in the third program, linking them to Quest Ventures and Indelible Ventures, over 16 weeks.

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ScaleUp Malaysia announces investments in 11 emerging startups

AsiaTechDaily

ScaleUp Malaysia, an accelerator that focuses exclusively on growth-stage companies in Malaysia, in partnership with Quest Ventures, Indelible Ventures, and Mranti signalled the culmination of its third cohort with the unveiling of its selection of top startups.

The cohort which kicked off in August 2021 drew over 200 applications from 26 countries including Malaysia, the United States, Egypt, Indonesia, Singapore and Japan. 20 companies were shortlisted to participate in Cohort 3 and placed into separate tracks, giving them exclusive access to Quest Ventures and Indelible Ventures respectively over the course of 16 weeks.

Quest Ventures has shown a commitment to developing the Malaysian ecosystem and has grown a portfolio of 16 companies in the nation through its partnership with ScaleUp Malaysia over the last 12 months.

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MY Digest: ScaleUp Malaysia backs 11 startups; AirAsia Money launches in Indonesia

DealStreetAsia

ScaleUp Malaysia, an accelerator that focuses exclusively on growth-stage companies, has selected 11 emerging startups for its four-month programme.

The accelerator and its partners – Quest Ventures, Indelible Ventures, and Mranti – have chosen Guruinnovtif, Open Academy, MadCash, SparexHub, VireServe, WaSushi, Howuku, Kumo, MidWest Composites, BizTech Asia, and RECQA for co-investments. Each company will receive up to $60,000.

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ScaleUp Malaysia announces 11 investments in its Cohort 3

Digital News Asia

ScaleUp Malaysia, in partnership with Quest Ventures, Indelible Ventures, and Mranti signalled the culmination of its third cohort with the unveiling of its selection of top startups.

Some 20 companies were shortlisted to participate in Cohort 3 and placed into separate tracks, giving them exclusive access to Quest Ventures and Indelible Ventures respectively over the course of 16 weeks.

ScaleUp Malaysia said Quest Ventures has shown a commitment to developing the Malaysian ecosystem and has grown a portfolio of 16 companies in the nation through its partnership with ScaleUp Malaysia over the last 12 months.

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Morning Coffee: Bankers can invest their bonuses in the Ukrainian Army. MBAs now need data science to get banking jobs

eFinancialCareers

As the world and the financial markets only have one big story, it’s worth having a look at the ways in which finance and war interact. It’s perhaps strange to consider, but the world of banking is actually surprisingly large compared to the size of the current conflict – in an article on the Ukrainian government’s launching a crowdfunding exercise for its army, Bloomberg reports that the country’s total military budget is around $3.9bn.

That compares to a total bonus pool in New York alone of $31bn in the most recent State Comptroller’s Report, which will have risen substantially for 2022.

Singapore has always been a tight labour market, but for software engineers in particular, there’s a real shortage. Salaries are up 22% in the latest Nodeflair/Quest Ventures survey, with startups and big techs drawing talent away from the financial sector just as they are everywhere else.

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Software salaries in Singapore surge 22% amid wave of venture capital investment

IT Pro

A surge in venture capital investment across Singapore has seen the average salary for software engineering roles increase by 22% since the start of 2021, a new report has found.

The war for tech talent has driven salaries to an all-time high, according to a report from NodeFlair and Quest Ventures, published earlier this month. It analysed over 30,000 salary data points and shared a detailed breakdown of how tech talents are paid in the state.

The salaries for software engineers increased the most by 22%, while it increased as much as 32% for more experienced roles like lead software engineers.

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Singapore Tech Salaries Jump 22% in Chase for Skilled Coders

Bloomberg

Salaries for software engineers in Singapore increased by an average of 22% last year, highlighting the need for qualified talent to sustain the city-state’s burgeoning tech ecosystem, according to a report published this month.

Some experienced roles, like lead software engineers, commanded average increases up to 32% during the period, NodeFlair and Quest Ventures found.

The competition for highly qualified engineers has produced a wide variance in pay, according to the researchers, who verified payslips and offer letters as part of procuring their figures. The highest-paid roles came with compensation as much as three times higher than more junior positions. Sea Ltd.’s Shopee, ByteDance Inc. and Grab Holdings Ltd. were among the most searched-for employers in the tech sector, joined by big U.S. firms like Amazon.com Inc. and Visa Inc. as well as Google and Meta.

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Salaries of these professionals jumps 22% in Singapore in a year

Mint

Salaries for software engineers in Singapore increased by an average of 22% last year, highlighting the need for qualified talent to sustain the city-state’s burgeoning tech ecosystem, according to a report published this month.

Some experienced roles, like lead software engineers, commanded average increases up to 32% during the period, NodeFlair and Quest Ventures found.

The competition for highly qualified engineers has produced a wide variance in pay, according to the researchers, who verified payslips and offer letters as part of procuring their figures.

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Tech salaries soar as US, Chinese firms compete for Singapore talent

HRWorld SEA

Software engineers enjoyed the highest raises among various technical specializations surveyed in a new report by tech talent platform NodeFlair and venture capital firm Quest Ventures, with an average increase of 22 percent year-on-year in 2021.

The report analyzed more than 30,000 data points from NodeFlair’s database, including user-submitted salaries backed by documents such as pay slips and offer letters, as well as advertised salaries on job portals.

Salaries can vary widely even at the same level of seniority.

The report said that the median monthly income of junior software engineers is about $4,750, while those at the 90th percentile can make about $7,500 a month. The median for lead software engineers is about $9,000. This goes up to almost $16,000 at the 90th percentile.

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Tech salaries soar as US, Chinese firms compete for Singapore talent

INQUIRER.NET

Competition for tech talent in Singapore will continue to heat up this year, with firms raising salary offers as a bargaining chip.

Software engineers enjoyed the highest raises among various technical specializations surveyed in a new report by tech talent platform NodeFlair and venture capital firm Quest Ventures, with an average increase of 22 percent year-on-year in 2021.

The report analyzed more than 30,000 data points from NodeFlair’s database, including user-submitted salaries backed by documents such as pay slips and offer letters, as well as advertised salaries on job portals.

Salaries can vary widely even at the same level of seniority.

The report said the median monthly income of junior software engineers is about $4,750, while those at the 90th percentile can make about $7,500 a month.

The median for lead software engineers is about $9,000. This goes up to almost $16,000 at the 90th percentile.

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Tech salaries soar as US, Chinese firms compete for Singapore talent

The Straits Times

Competition for tech talent in Singapore will continue to heat up this year, with firms raising salary offers as a bargaining chip.

Software engineers enjoyed the highest raises among various technical specialisations surveyed in a new report by tech talent platform NodeFlair and venture capital firm Quest Ventures, with an average increase of 22 per cent year-on-year in 2021.

The report analysed more than 30,000 data points from NodeFlair’s database, including user-submitted salaries backed by documents such as pay slips and offer letters, as well as advertised salaries on job portals.

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清华MBA如何帮詹姆斯创办风险投资公司

MBA TOP

詹姆斯•谭 (James Tan) 在推出他的第一个技术业务时就喜欢创业,这是一个他在 1990 年代第一次互联网泡沫中创建的股票图像平台。但他遇到了一个障碍——他无法在他的家乡新加坡之外扩展它。快进 30 年,James 是亚洲领先的风险投资公司 Quest Ventures 的创始人和管理合伙人。

在不到 10 年的时间里,Quest 在非洲大陆 150 多个城市建立了 50 多家公司的投资组合。2019 年, Quest 开始筹集两笔 总额高达 1.2 亿美元的新基金。

詹姆斯将参加清华-麻省理工学院全球 MBA 项目归功于 北京清华大学经济管理学院 (Tsinghua SEM) 与麻省理工学院斯隆学院的合作,帮助他发展成功的业务并拓展到利润丰厚的中国市场。

“如果你想像我一样进入一个新市场,那么我不明白为什么 MBA 不是最佳选择,”他说。

给创业者的建议

詹姆斯离开 MBA 时,带着 55tuan 的计划和 Quest Ventures 的基金会,他说,这都得益于他在该计划上建立的网络。

“能够进入一个全新的市场——尤其是像中国这样一个神秘的市场——并利用它的生态系统,如果没有我在清华遇到的人,我是不可能做到的,”他说。

詹姆斯记得清华大学的创业精神。与学生和学术人员的联系现在仍然触动着他,他结交的终生朋友证明对他未来的商业冒险是不可或缺的。

他对企业家的建议?“如果你要开始做某事,那么请——想大一点!” 詹姆斯催促。“敢于将您的小型弹出式商店扩展到 7/11 连锁店。”

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Tech salaries in Singapore at record high amid funding boom, limited talent supply

DealStreetAsia

Salaries of technology workers in Singapore rose by 22% in 2021 compared to the previous year on account of the venture capital funding boom, the presence of global tech companies in the city-state, and a limited talent pool.

The talent war has driven up salaries to an all-time high, according to a report published by tech jobs portal NodeFlair and venture capital firm Quest Ventures.

“Salary is identified as the largest push and pull factor, and the reason responsible for failed job placement,” Quest Ventures’ managing partner James Tan said in a statement.

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Tech talent war continues to intensify in Singapore as tech salary reaches all-time high, says NodeFlair

TechNode Global

The tech talent war continues to intensify in Singapore as companies compete with each other with jaw-dropping salary offers, said a report done by tech talent platform NodeFlair and venture capital firm Quest Ventures.

In the last twelve months, the average salaries for software engineers reached an all-time high after increasing by up to 32 percent, according to the Tech Talent Compensation  report that uncovers the tech talent salary black box and empowers tech talents and employers by analysing more than 30,000 data points from NodeFlair’s proprietary database, and in-depth interviews with founders and engineering leaders.

Quest Ventures Managing Partner James Tan also highlighted that salary is identified as the largest push and pull factor, and the reason responsible for failed job placement.

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How tech talent salaries will continue to fare in Singapore in 2022

Human Resources Online

The median base salary compensation stands at S$4,750 for a junior software engineer; S$6,500 and S$7,500 respectively for mid-level and senior software engineers, and S$9,000 for lead levels.

For example, the report, published today (Monday, 14 February 2022) by NodeFlair and Quest Ventures, noted that the median base salary compensation stands at S$4,750 for a junior software engineer; S$6,500 and S$7,500 respectively for mid-level and senior software engineers, and S$9,000 for lead levels.

Meanwhile, at the 90th percentile, the median base salary can be as much as three times more than those in the 10th percentile, the report found. For instance, junior software engineers at the 90th percentile have gone up to S$7,500; mid-level and senior software engineers can command S$9,500 and S$11,500 respectively, and lead software engineers can command a base salary of S$15,950.

Per the report, this rise in tech salaries is “not slowing down anytime soon”, as more talents place importance on salary packages a top reason when looking for new opportunities.

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BOL News

Digital decade delivering for SE Asia

BOL News

Region’s internet economy on track to hit $1t as e-commerce, logistics boom. Southeast Asia is embracing its “digital decade” with the region’s internet economy expected to soar on the back of a fast-growing base of digital consumers and merchants.

James Tan, a Singaporean businessman with more than 10 years’ experience in the digital economy, said Southeast Asian countries are at different levels of development in their digital industries.

“In the Philippines, for example, online shopping is no rare thing. But people can do a lot more things on the internet in some other places such as Indonesia’s Jakarta. Digitization of small and medium enterprises in Jakarta has made progress over the recent years,” said Tan, the managing partner and founder of Quest Ventures, a venture capital firm focusing on the digital economy industry across Asia.

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Alibaba Cloud x KrASIA Global Startup Accelerator announces finalists for joint Vietnam-Indonesia Demo Day

KrASIA

The Alibaba Cloud x KrASIA Global Startup Accelerator brings together new technologists, venture capitalists, and other players across Asia to identify startups that are compatible with Alibaba’s ecosystem. The joint Vietnam-Indonesia Demo Day aims to showcase promising startups engaged in enterprise services, internet-of-things (IoT), and agriculture. Representatives from Quest Ventures, Thinkzone.VN, and Kejora Capital evaluated the submissions and chose ten finalists.

The Alibaba Cloud x KrASIA Global Startup Accelerator is part of Alibaba Cloud’s Project AsiaForward initiative, which aims to catalyse digital transformation in enterprises in Asia, as well as nurture fresh talent. Through this program, startups have the opportunity to join Alibaba’s global ecosystem. They can also connect with top VCs in Southeast Asia and China, and have the opportunity to receive media coverage on KrASIA, 36Kr, and other outlets.

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Digital decade delivering for Southeast Asia

China Daily

Region’s internet economy on track to hit $1t as e-commerce, logistics boom

Southeast Asia is embracing its “digital decade” with the region’s internet economy expected to soar on the back of a fast-growing base of digital consumers and merchants.

James Tan, a Singaporean businessman with more than 10 years’ experience in the digital economy, said Southeast Asian countries are at different levels of development in their digital industries.

“In the Philippines, for example, online shopping is no rare thing. But people can do a lot more things on the internet in some other places such as Indonesia’s Jakarta. Digitization of small and medium enterprises in Jakarta has made progress over the recent years,” said Tan, the managing partner and founder of Quest Ventures, a venture capital firm focusing on the digital economy industry across Asia.

Digital technology innovations are happening in Singapore and parts of Vietnam, said Tan, adding that many digitalized companies are developing and commercializing their products in Singapore before expanding and landing in other countries across Southeast Asia.

The development of the digital economy in Southeast Asia is uneven, as the different countries have their unique advantages and weaknesses, said Tan.

“The RECP could serve as a boost with China’s involvement. Another thing to bear in mind is that only when countries in Southeast Asia give full play of their unique strengths, digital industry development and regional integration could go further in the future.”

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Carousell in talks to buy property marketplace 99.co ahead of SPAC deal

The Business Times

Online classifieds company Carousell is in talks to acquire Singapore-based property marketplace operator 99 Group ahead of a potential public listing in the US this year, according to people aware of the development.

Tech unicorn Carousell is eyeing a Nasdaq listing through a merger with L Catterton Asia Acquisition, the blank-cheque company backed by US$30 billion buyout firm L Catterton, Bloomberg reported in January.

A deal with 99 Group would give Carousell access to 99.co, a property search portal operating in Singapore and Indonesia.

Both are among the batch of companies minted in the early days of Singapore’s startup scene. Their common shareholders include pioneer venture capitalists Quest Ventures, East Ventures, 500 Southeast Asia, Golden Gate Ventures and Sequoia Capital India.

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Budget 2022 – Recommendations for a vibrant and sustainable startup ecosystem in Singapore

Money FM 89.3

Money FM 89.3 interviews James Tan in his capacity as Chairman of the Action Community for Entrepreneurship.

Budget 2022 – Recommendations for a vibrant and sustainable startup ecosystem in Singapore

Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE) has recently published a position paper that identifies current hurdles, pinpoints new opportunities, and proposes actionable strategies to help further Singapore’s startup ecosystem. The position paper has also been officially presented to the Singapore government before our Budget 2022 statement on February 18. James Tan, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE) shares how SG punched way above its weight in the global arena as a hub for startup hopefuls and what the three key areas that ACE believe can be the catalyst for positive and widespread economic change entails.

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Funding frenzy in SE Asia’s tech startups sees rise in FOMO, talent war & due diligence slack

DealStreetAsia

Southeast Asian startups raise close to $26 billion in equity and debt funding in 2021, nearly three times the sum they secured in 2020 and 2019, according to DealStreetAsia’s calculations. The region also recorded 1,000 transactions in 2021, a 50% jump over the previous year.

Quest Ventures managing partner James Tan said some companies in Indonesia command the same valuation as their counterparts in China. He calls this “unrealistic” as the Southeast Asian country is comparatively much smaller and less developed.

One may assume the impending US rate hike could make for more conservative investors. But, Quest Ventures’ Tan says, the relationship between interest rates and valuations of private startups are tenuous. Valuations will only be “pressured lower when VCs stop following the pack and investing in a FOMO manner.”

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Failure of first startup opened new doors for SGAG co-founder Karl Mak

The Business Times

KARL Mak is well known as co-founder and chief executive of Hepmil Media Group, the company behind meme site SGAG. But the 34-year-old’s entry into the startup world in fact began with failure.

Mak’s first venture, a software startup, had started out full of promise. It won a high-profile hackathon, secured pilots with large enterprises and seed funding from a venture firm.

Called Televate, the startup came up with a digital solution that would eliminate the customer hotline waiting times for banks and telcos.

The duo joined a hackathon by StarHub in late 2013 and clinched the top prize. It was a dream come true for any aspiring founder – a few banks came on board to try the software. Early-stage investor Quest Ventures put in S$50,000 in seed money.

What Mak did not expect was how much support he would receive upon failing.

“Not that Quest Ventures paid me to say this, but literally, the moment I failed, the managing partner James (Tan) came to me and offered multiple job opportunities within the portfolio companies,” Mak recounted.

There were also valuable lessons from the experience. Mak learned how to build connections from scratch, as well as how to work with a co-founder, which he muses “is kind of like getting married”.

Quest Ventures also came full circle, becoming an investor in Hepmil. Asked about the decision, managing partner Tan said: “Karl learned something from Televate, which is that B2B is very tough and the market (timing) must be right.”

In Tan’s view, it would be too simplistic to say that failure should be celebrated. Rather, any failure should be viewed in the context of whether a founder has grown from the experience.

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Resilience, adaptability & speed to scale are essential in navigating today’s business challenges, says Quest Ventures’ James Tan

TechNode Global

In this quick TechNode Global Q&A with James Tan, Managing Partner at Quest Ventures, we gain some insights on trends driving innovation in the region, as well as a few example companies making an impact on sustainability, social commerce, and finance.

A winner of the Movers & Shakers – People’s Choice VC award at the ORIGIN Innovation Awards, Quest Ventures is a top venture capital fund in Asia. Its portfolio of 90+ venture-backed companies operates in more than 150 cities across Asia, creating employment and advancement opportunities for more than 4,400 employees, while its Enterprise and ESG efforts directly impact thousands more.

Question: What are the trends driving innovation in the Asia Pacific region today?

Answer: Sustainability, mechanization, digital economy

Question: What are three key challenges that both startups and VCs need to navigate in this post-pandemic environment?

Answer: Mutable environment and conditions. New consumer behavior. Endemic environment, rather than post-pandemic.

Question: Can you share some interesting data or case studies from your portfolio that are a good example of how technology can bring about impactful change amid today’s business environment?

Answer:

  • Ion Mobility is developing electric two-wheelers for Southeast Asia, providing a more sustainable alternative for the $8.53 billion motorbike industry.
  • Partipost democratizes marketing by empowering creators to execute campaigns for brands and engage in social commerce.
  • GajiGesa provides short-term liquidity access to the lower-income population of Indonesia, preventing debt traps as a result of borrowing from high-interest alternatives.

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Kazakhstan’s AI-Powered Among Top 10 MedTech Startups

Taarifa Rwanda

Kazakhstan’s AI-powered software [Cerebra] for early stroke detection and faster and more accurate treatment, has been included in the list of the world’s ten most innovative projects in the field of medical artificial intelligence, according to Medtronic APAC Innovation Challenge.

“There are only a few large companies in the world that do stroke diagnostics.

Despite the clear advantages of competitors from Israel, the United Kingdom, and the United States in terms of finance, human power, and the amount of medical data to train AI, our team is very motivated by what we can do for people.

In developed countries, mortality from stroke has been minimized, and in our country, stroke remains one of the first causes of death.

To scale the project abroad, we need to show good results in Kazakhstan, and for this, we need the support of the state,” said project founder Doszhan Zhusaupov.

At the early stage, the startup attracted investments from Quest Ventures Singapore Venture Fund and also won a $50,000 grant for the first place in Build Your Own Business competition from the Saby Foundation in 2020.

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Kazakhstan’s AI-Powered Medical Software Enters World’s Ten Most Innovative MedTech Startups

The Astana Times

Cerebra, Kazakhstan’s AI-powered software for early stroke detection and faster and more accurate treatment, has been included in the list of the world’s ten most innovative projects in the field of medical artificial intelligence, according to Medtronic APAC Innovation Challenge.

Cerebra is artificial intelligence software that is designed for fast stroke diagnosis and minimization of human factors while providing an internal ecosystem for data exchange and any-time remote platform access.

While stroke remains one the leading causes of death in Kazakhstan with nearly 80 percent of patients suffering severe complications, Cerebra helps detect cytotoxic edema on a CT scan, often hidden from the human eye.

The project, which is a participant of Astana Hub international technopark of IT startups, currently works in test mode in 17 stroke centers across Kazakhstan.

“There are only a few large companies in the world that do stroke diagnostics. Despite the clear advantages of competitors from Israel, the United Kingdom, and the United States in terms of finance, human power, and the amount of medical data to train AI, our team is very motivated by what we can do for people. In developed countries, mortality from stroke has been minimized, and in our country, stroke remains one of the first causes of death. To scale the project abroad, we need to show good results in Kazakhstan, and for this, we need the support of the state,” said project founder Doszhan Zhusaupov.

At the early stage, the startup attracted investments from Quest Ventures Singapore Venture Fund and also won a $50,000 grant for the first place in Build Your Own Business competition from the Saby Foundation in 2020.

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ConnectOne’s 10 SEA Startup Talent Predictions for 2022

ConnectOne

Unabated global digitalisation. Tech talent shortage. A burgeoning start-up ecosystem in Southeast Asia.

As we enter the third year of COVID-19 and look towards slowly easing out of the pandemic, what will the talent landscape look like for startups?

Read on for our 10 SEA startup talent trends forecast.

The talent crunch is set to be a major development bottleneck for start-ups, with the greatest shortfall being in tech.

In Southeast Asia, there are two big overlaying trends – the great amount of public and private investment flowing into the region, and the global marketplace converging here. This has created great opportunities for disruption, says Jeffrey Seah, partner of one of Asia’s top venture capitalist firms Quest Ventures. ”Almost every digital economy idea on paper is able to attract funding. With funding, the clock starts ticking to execute the idea and talent acquisition becomes the first salvo,” he adds.

“Money can be made to move fast, but you can’t train people as fast,” he notes. The confluence of tighter borders, ready capital and limited talent has resulted in a poaching spree, pushing salaries up. Chinese tech companies such as ByteDance and Ant Group are known to offer 50 percent pay increases for junior and mid-level roles, and 20 to 30 percent more for senior roles.

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ShopBack to Carousell: 10 S’pore startup founders who are also investing in other startups

VulcanPost

Singaporean Yiping Goh and her Spanish husband Carlos Bañón would travel to Spain twice a year to visit their family and friends during pre-pandemic times.

With Covid-19 restricting travel however, they couldn’t travel to Spain for the past two years. Besides family and friends, local delicacies like Spanish wines and food like freshly sliced jamon iberico (Spanish ham), olives and cheeses, was something they truly miss.

This spurred the couple to directly import their favourite Spanish delicatessen and wines, building a business out of it. They set up an online marketplace called CasaJulia that specialises in Spanish food and wines in October 2021.

She may be new to the F&B world, but she is actually a serial tech founder.

She is the former co-founder of AllDealsAsia and MatahariMall (Indonesia) by Lippo Group — the same group that produced unicorn OVO. Now, she is a venture capital investor and a partner at Quest Ventures, which has backed household names the likes of Carousell, ShopBack, Carro, 99.co, Style Theory, SGAG and Ion Mobility.

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Startups association ACE calls for better access to funding, tech talent

The Business Times

In a position paper on Tuesday (Jan 25), the Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE) identified 3 key challenges that Singapore startups currently face: a talent crunch, constraints in overseas expansion and difficulties in raising capital.

The paper, published in collaboration with PwC Singapore, taps the views of over 120 startups, founders, venture capitalists and government stakeholders. It will be presented to the government before the Budget on Feb 18.

While only accounting for 0.57 per cent of the employed population, tech startups have contributed to 2.4 per cent of Singapore’s GDP, the paper said.

The government has thus far played a pivotal role in the success of Singapore’s startup ecosystem, ACE’s chairman James Tan noted in the paper.

“While the direction is clear, there is indeed much work ahead of us. As the nation’s startup trade association, ACE is determined to do its utmost to uplift our startup community and work with you to support this essential economic ecosystem,” Tan said.

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The Manila Times

The liveability challenge to fund innovative sustainability solutions

The Manila Times

Back for its fifth year, the Liveability Challenge launched a global call for innovative solutions to accelerate decarbonization, meet increasing demand for food, and conserve the planet’s natural ecosystems.

The Challenge is Asia’s largest sustainability solutions platform with a global reach and a reputation for helping founders and companies whose innovations are disrupting industries to create a significant positive impact for both society and planet.

The three themes unveiled this year are Decarbonization, Food & Agritechnology, and Nature-based Solutions. Decarbonization refers to innovations that could capture or utilize carbon to create scalable products or revolutionize the hydrogen industry. Novel solutions in Food & Agritech should be able to address the global food demand, while maintaining a low carbon footprint. Nature-based solutions pertain to pioneering business models that conserve and restore the natural ecosystems or those that address gaps in the carbon credit market.

Winners will vie for the grand prize of up to S$1 million from Temasek Foundation, and other opportunities such as a minimum of $100,000 in funding each from Amasia, Quest Ventures, and Silverstrand Capital.

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The 24 Top VC Firms In Singapore [2022]

Starter Story

Are you looking for a VC firm for your Singapore based startup?

Finding the right investment firm for your startup can be a daunting task.

There are a number of successful venture capital firms in Singapore, and we’ve curated a list of the best local firms in the area.

Founded in 2011, Quest Ventures focuses on several ‘digital economy’​ strategies. This company is recognized for its large portfolio. They invest in artificial intelligence, e-commerce, marketplaces, entertainment, finance, food, insurance, logistics, media, property, sports, among others. Initially, they like to invest around $100K to $500K in their portfolio companies.

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True Transformer

Tanah Merah Country Club

Concurrently, I co-invested via Special-Purpose investment vehicles with like-thesis VCs, industry friends and clients, and accepted to be a Venture Partner with both IncuVest and Quest Ventures. The urgent need for Go-To-Market domain networks led me to start the Asia Fund with my two Quest Ventures partners in 2019. We had generous support from the sovereign wealth funds of Singapore and Kazakhstan, as well as my many long-time industry and personal friends who are locked into tech transformation. Quest Ventures Asia Fund II has made closed to 50 investments since its inception, the latest of which is Sealed.Network, of which many of the investors are current and potential TMCC members.

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Southeast Asia’s Green Economy 2022 Report

Bain and Temasek, with contributions from Microsoft

“The green economy is an important area of focus for any private equity or venture capital fund that does not want to miss out on the next wave of growth.” Managing Partner, Quest Ventures

This year’s report starts to build a perspective on green investments in SEA – where the investment should flow to drive the most tangible impact in this decade and what it takes to realize the impact. Notwithstanding a long list of potential levers across the carbon abatement curve that would need to be deployed to ultimately achieve Net Zero, it is important to recognize the urgency and need for greater focus on solutions that will deliver carbon savings sooner than in the longer-term future.

While the scale of opportunities and the need to act are clear, there are current impediments holding back the scaling of SEA green economy. Many disconnects presently limit the ability to translate potential opportunities into accessible markets and investments. We frame many of these impediments and recommendations to address them.

We hope this report will provide a catalyst for a more open and honest discussion about constraints to unlock the green economy, clarify investable and addressable decarbonization pathways for the decade, inspire stakeholders to take actions, and unlock investment flows to accelerate the transition towards Net Zero.

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For press enquiries, please contact [email protected].

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