In Southeast Asia, VC scouts are scouting while being scouted

The Ken

“Sequoia Capital’s scout programme is the most well known. In Sequoia’s case, they had Jason Calacanis (angel investor, Uber, Thumbtack) whereas many VC firms here have unknowns as their scouts,” said James Tan, co-founder and managing partner of Singapore-based Quest Ventures. Tan, who also co-founded NASDAQ-listed e-commerce company 55tuan in China, noted that the region was still too new to the concept.

“Many [VC firms] also work with students [as scouts]. I doubt the quality of their dealflow,” Tan added.

“The difference between the Sequoia Capital programme and the VC scout programmes that I see here is in the quality of scouts,” said Quest Ventures’ Tan. “While Quest Ventures also works with students, these students would have gone through either our internship programs, our courses (for example, Venture Capital Accelerated), or our Young Leaders Program before they are able to refer quality deal flow to us. Deal sourcing is a discerning skill. Quantity is not quality,” he added.

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