We are frequently mentioned in international media, and invited to share our thoughts at well-regarded events across the globe. Our companies get extensive coverage.
Press in 2017
Awareness in all our geographies
Quest Ventures part of launch of world’s first digital framework for Islamic economy
2017 Dec 26
Malaysia, home of the world’s largest Islamic finance industry, is taking the idea of creating a comprehensive Islamic economy a step further and announced it will launch a debut “Islamic Digital Economy Framework” by March next year as a growth backbone for its entire halal industry.
The driving force behind the Islamic digital initiative is the Malaysian Digital Economy Corp, or MDEC, a government-backed entity which is seeking to create a growth ecosystem for the Islamic economy in Malaysia in accordance with the government’s national strategy to tap the potential of both the Islamic and the digital economy.
Singapore-based Quest Ventures, which invests in Internet-related technology startups, as well as Jakarta-based Ethis Ventures, which invests in and supports Islamic crowd funding platforms, are among the three venture capital firms participating. More
Quest Ventures identified as key catalyst in Malaysia’s Islamic Digital Economy
2017 Dec 20
Quest Ventures is mentioned as one of the three investment firms that the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) is working with. Ethis Ventures, one of the other investment firms, is a portfolio company of Quest Ventures, and further strengthens Quest Ventures’ collective presence in this space.
Malaysia’s leadership in Islamic finance and the halal sector put the country in a favourable position to dominate the Islamic Digital marketplace. The Islamic Digital Economy framework is part of Malaysia’s strategy to cement the country’s leadership in the global halal marketplace and create a unique and competitive advantage to accelerate the growth of digital economy. More
Singapore and Malaysia should be comrades in global tech battles, not competitors
Southeast Asia Globe
2017 Dec 04
Singapore and Malaysia are playing catch up with global tech capitals, but their pace may be slowed by talent that’s looking too timid for the cutthroat business.
“But playing too nice can cripple the industry. James Tan, managing partner of Quest Ventures, a venture fund focusing on China and Southeast Asia, says that local startups should emulate China’s ruthlessness and “get big fast”.
“There is nothing wrong with wanting to stay as a small entrepreneur, but if so, why play in the fast-growth tech game? Tech startups have to grow by penetrating new cities or countries, including expansion by acquisition. Otherwise, you are just setting yourself up to be acquired by the Chinese or the Americans when they enter your market.
Looking ahead, Tan says, a key tactic will be for Singapore and Malaysia to remain comrades, rather than competitors. More
Venture Partner Goh Yiping honoured in The Peak’s Power List 2017
2017 Nov 01
Venture partner Goh Yiping received The Peak’s magazine Power List 2017 award along with other industry honorees. Recognised for her achievements in the last decade, Yiping’s role in building up e-commerce in Indonesia was highlighted.
“By 2012, we facilitated about $10 million worth of transactions that originated from our site and was completed at our partners’ sites,” she says. All Deals Asia was acquired by Lippo Group in 2014. In the next three years, she helped Lippo Group to build from scratch Indonesian e-commerce site Matahari Mall. While it might look like yet another online shopping site, Matahari Mall presented a new concept for its time – Online-to-Offline.
“I emphasise three things: to keep reinventing ourselves to stay relevant, to experiment constantly, and to collaborate widely.” More
Women take Asia’s economic helm in the ASEAN-China Young Entrepreneur Forum
2017 Oct 02
Delegates from China, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao, Malaysia, Myanmar, The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam gathered at Siem Reap, Cambodia. Under the title “Role of Emerging Youth and Women Entrepreneurs in Economic Development”, they worked together with government representatives to plan a clear pathway for local and international economic integration of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) while discussing the challenges of young female entrepreneurs.
Singapore brought seven young, competitive representatives that reflect the power of women entrepreneurs in the rapid-growing business landscape of Singapore. Quest Ventures’ senior analyst Jasmine Toh was the head of the Singapore delegation. More
2017 Sep 29
福岡市は28日、シンガポール政府のスタートアップ支援機関である ACE（Action Community for Entrepreneurship）とスタートアップの相互支援に関する覚書を締結したことを明らかにした。これまでに福岡市は、エストニア政府、ヘルシンキ市、台北市、台湾スタートアップハブ、サンフランシスコ D-HAUS（btrax による運営）、フランス・ボルドー都市圏、ニュージーランド・オークランド市と同様の覚書を締結しており、今回の ACE を含めると8例目となる（エストニア政府とは、傘下の3つの機関と覚書を締結）。
福岡市長の高島宗一郎氏、ACE Deputy Chairman で 55tuan.com（55団）の共同創業者でもある James Tan 氏。 More
Fukuoka city and ACE Singapore signs MOU to help startups grow internationally
Startup City Fukuoka
2017 Sep 28
James Tan, managing partner of Quest Ventures, signed an MOU with the Japanese city of Fukuoka in his capacity as the vice-chairman of the Action Community for Entrepreneurship. Mr Soichiro Takashima, Mayor of Fukuoka, signed the MOU on behalf of the city.
“It (MOU) gives entrepreneurs access to information on the local market and access to a support system that provides them with all of the help they need to get their company up and running.” More
Is the Singapore F1 Grand Prix a vanity project? Quest Ventures venture partner Jeffrey Seah weighs in
2017 Sep 22
Jeffrey Seah, venture partner at Quest Ventures, said the F1 Grand Prix has evolved into “a transactional contract rather than a vanity or awareness project, as compared to the past”.
“The original aim of getting on the world map has been achieved. The timely change of F1 ownership has lubricated the renewal process,” Seah said. More
2017 Sep 22
本届KVRF分展览和会议两个模块。参展项目达170多个，覆盖了中国、韩国、日本、新加坡、马来西亚、越南、香港、台湾等亚洲国家和地区的主要VR企业和投资机构。黑匣网、汇桔网、HTC Vive、幻影星空、启赋资本、超级队长、Pico、5号空间、创客街、当红齐天、大航海VR等中国机构代表悉数到场。 More
NUS interviews James Tan in celebratory video documenting ecosystem building efforts
2017 Sep 16
As one of the earliest venture capital firms to set up in Blk71, Quest Ventures has seen the tremendous transformation of this area from one old flatted factory block to the LaunchPad that it is today.
In NUS Enterprise’s celebratory video on how it has shaped the ecosystem as a builder, collaborator and global connector, Quest Ventures managing partner James Tan was interviewed for his perspective.
“The transformation has been tremendous. I firmly believe that the ecosystem that NUS has been able to bring together has been the single biggest driver for making the place become what it is today,” says James in the video. More
Senior analyst Jasmine Toh represents Singapore at ASEAN-China Young Entrepreneur Forum in Cambodia
Agence Kampuchea Presse
2017 Sep 04
Quest Ventures’ senior analyst Jasmine Toh represented Singapore at the ASEAN-China Young Entrepreneur Forum held in Cambodia. Jasmine was the head of the Singapore delegation.
Cambodia’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation H.E. Luy David presided over the ASEAN-China Young Entrepreneur Forum organised in Siem Reap province from Sept. 3 to 5 under the theme “Role of Emerging Youth and Women Entrepreneurs in Economic Development.” More
Venture partner Jeffrey Seah moves into blockchain technology space
2017 Aug 24
Quest Ventures’ venture partner Jeffrey Seah has joined Gravity4 (G4), a marketing cloud platform specialising in artificial intelligence and big data. Seah will join the company’s advisory board, which is now focused on developing blockchain technologies to eliminate ad fraud.
Seah said that blockchain has the ability to address the “unwieldy and opaque supply chain” in marketing and advertising technology. Through the technology, the company aims to establish transparency and trust by creating a central and secure way to record, review and execute deals.
“With Gravity4 heavily investing in blockchain, we’ll be able to eliminate ad fraud and provide personalised experiences to eliminate the need for ad blockers, a solution the industry desperately needs,” Seah said. More
Hapz bukan sekadar jualan tiket
2017 Aug 22
Untuk mengembangkan aplikasinya, Selasa (1/8) lalu Hapz mendapatkan pendanaan senilai US$ 501.200 dari sejumlah investor. Yakni, Cocoon Capital, Quest Ventures, TinkBig Venture, dan SPH Media Fund, serta seorang investor malaikat (angel investor) yang tak diungkap namanya.
Hapz memang butuh banyak suntikan dana untuk mengembangkan platformnya. Soalnya, persaingan di bisnis tiket online di kawasan Asia Tenggara terbilang sengit. More
Singapore top draw for startup professionals? Not so simple
The Business Times
2017 Aug 08
The Startup Cities Index found Singapore to have outperformed 84 of the 85 ranked cities in five areas – startup ecosystem, salary, social security and benefits, cost of living and quality of life.
James Tan, managing partner of venture capital firm Quest Ventures, didn’t buy all the findings. For starters, he said, the number of vacation days – one of three indicators of social security and benefits – are “irrelevant” to startups.
He said: “To founders, there is often no concept of weekends or public holidays. In comparison to their multinational corporation competitors, startups neither have the luxury of time nor money. So they need to move fast. If they work one Saturday more than the large companies, these startups would have done 20 per cent more work.”
James also added that safety, often overlooked for the sake of opportunity, ought to be a key driver for people. “Our multi-cultural, multilingual and multi-religion environment creates a comfortable base from which everyone from around the world should feel welcome to start the next big thing.” More
Quest Ventures participates in panel to launch research on Singapore startup ecosystem at LaunchPad
The Business Times
2017 Aug 03
JTC LaunchPad @ one-north has matured into a dynamic ecosystem for startups, according to latest research findings by TechSG. For starters, the number of tenants (startups and facilitators such as angel investors, venture capitalists and legal firms) grew 65% to 425 from November 2015 to March 2017.
Interestingly, LaunchPad startups have a higher degree of “ecosystem engagement” compared to tech startups in Singapore. 80% of LaunchPad startups are found to have participated in at least one government funding scheme, versus 64.2% of tech startups. Nearly 40% of LaunchPad startups have received venture capital funding, versus 15.8% of tech startups.
As LaunchPad’s largest private tenant and earliest venture fund, Quest Ventures’ managing partner James Tan was invited to be on the panel to discuss the findings, along with Vinod Nair, CEO of MoneySmart; Mohan Belani, CEO of e27; Patricia Polizzi, CEO of Startup Autobahn Singapore; and Professor Wong Poh Kam, Director of NUS Enterprise. More
Hapz raises $500k seed round from investors including Quest Ventures
2017 Aug 01
Event-tech platform Hapz has raised S$680,000 ($499,595) in seed funding from Cocoon Capital, SPH Media Fund, Quest Ventures, TinkBig Venture and an angel investor.
The firm said it will use the proceeds to expand its team and build partnerships with merchants and event organisers across verticals and through the region.
A company representative told this portal that the investment rationale behind this for investors lay in it being a new market, with “no existing player in the S.E.A region who can do cross-border experience booking.” More
Quest Ventures provides seed funding for event platform Hapz
The Straits Times
2017 Aug 01
Event platform Hapz has raised seed funding of $680,000 from Cocoon Capital, SPH Media Fund, Quest Ventures, TinkBig Venture and an angel investor.
SPH Media Fund chief executive Chua Boon Ping said: “We have been involved with Hapz since their early days as it was one of our accelerator start-ups. We like the value propositions that Hapz brings to both merchants and consumers. For consumers, it means getting better deals, powered by Hapz’s dynamic-pricing algorithm. And for merchants, Hapz provides a channel to promote events.” More
Have GCC Islamic banking and financial services failed to innovate?
2017 Jul 03
Have Islamic banking and financial services innovated at the speed they were expected to? Rushdi Siddiqui, mentor at Quest Ventures was invited to comment.
“There are industry insiders who have been making similar arguments for a long time now. Rushdi Siddiqui, who is now Advisor at Wall Street Blockchain Alliance and Mentor at VC firm Quest Ventures, and is an industry veteran, says Islamic finance is deeply linked to oil/commodity prices and hence remains as volatile as price per barrel of oil.
“When oil is $80/barrel, surpluses exist, infrastructure projects are many, banks are lending to SMEs, and non-Muslim countries want part of the petro-liquidity. Conversely, when the price bandwidth is $35-50/barrel, there is a lot of pain for governments, SMEs, banks, and consumerism,” Siddiqui wrote as early as late last year.” More
SPRING Singapore appoints Quest Ventures as an Accredited Mentor Partner (AMP) under Startup SG Founder
2017 May 11
Quest Ventures is pleased to announce that we are now an Accredited Mentor Partner under the Startup SG Founder program after a comprehensive, multi-agency evaluation process.
“The 17 AMPs range across different industries from manufacturing, fintech, digital commerce and medical technologies.
An evaluation panel with representatives from SPRING, National Research Foundation (NRF), Economic Development Board (EDB), Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), and Infocomm Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA), deliberated on the selection. The AMPs were assessed on a set of criteria which included the track record of management team and quality of development programmes.” More
Meet the VC: Quest Ventures on why Chinese founders are tougher than Singaporean entrepreneurs
2017 Apr 21
“James Tan, Managing Partner of Quest Ventures, expounds on the strengths and shortcomings of Singapore startups and the state of the Chinese tech ecosystem.”
“Needless to say, the founders (of Quest Ventures) know first-hand how difficult it is to build and scale a startup sustainably. e27 spoke with Tan, who is currently based in China, to gather his thoughts of the state of Singapore’s tech ecosystem, and how it matches up to the US and China.” More
Mapping out growth
2017 Apr 10
“Since the time that James Tan started Quest Ventures in 2011, it has funded some of the top startups in Southeast Asia including Carousell, 99.co, ShopBack, Ethis, Xfers, and Oddle.me, among many others. It remains focused on startups that have scalability and replicability in large Internet communities.”
“We continue to scan the horizon for the next big thing to bet on. We are usually the first cheque or investment into a tech startup so this means we are unusually forward-looking and can take a long term view on investments that few can,” says James. “Our DNA is deeply entrepreneurial. All our staff are hands-on and work hard side-by-side with entrepreneurs whom we consider part of our family. The Quest family is very close knit.” More
Impact on tech with changes in US visa rules
The Straits Times
2017 Apr 07
The Straits Times asked Quest Ventures’ managing partner, James Tan, for his opinion on the changes surrounding the issuance of H1B work visas for employment in the United States.
Asked if the changes in visa rules and cost will affect tech workers based in the US or force tech workers to reconsider the US as a work destination, James said, “If one qualifies for the visa, why wouldn’t it be worth it to stay on, especially in tech and in the Bay Area? While the visa is important, its cost nonetheless pales against the opportunities and costs of living in the US.” More
2017 Apr 03
James said, “Before, China was a few years behind the West. Now, it is a few days behind… Chinese money moves faster, is more aggressive and makes decisions more quickly.”
Commenting on the financial front, however, Tan noted that the ‘white hot’ startup scene is headed for a correction in valuation. “You’re already seeing it in India, but it hasn’t occurred in China.”
Singapore No. 1 in world for start-up talent: Report
The Straits Times
2017 Mar 22
The Straits Times covered the latest report from Startup Genome and remarked that “perhaps the biggest surprise coming out of a 150-page research report covering 10,000 start-ups and 300 partner companies worldwide is that tiny Singapore has overthrown tech centre Silicon Valley as the world’s No. 1 for start-up talent.”
“The Republic also has the sixth-highest percentage of immigrant founders at 35 per cent.
“Singapore is an open society and welcomes entrepreneurs from around the world to create the next big thing here,” said Mr James Tan, managing partner of Asian technology venture fund Quest Ventures.”
2017 Mar 22
S$20m for first-time entrepreneurs under Startup SG initiative
2017 Mar 22
A budget of S$20 million will be set aside under the Startup SG initiative to support first-time entrepreneurs. This was announced by Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon on Wednesday (Mar 22) at an event marking the opening of three new blocks at JTC LaunchPad @ one-north.
As Deputy Chairman of ACE and responsible for driving internationalisation, Quest Ventures’ managing partner James Tan co-hosted the launch and site tour together with Poon Hong Yuen, CEO of SPRING Singapore; Alvin Tan, Assistant CEO of JTC; and other senior representatives. More
Startup Genome quotes Quest Ventures in report on global startup ecosystems
2017 Mar 21
In a wide-ranging report that covered startup ecosystems around the globe, JF Gautheir, Founder and CEO of Startup Genome, said, “our (startup) culture is special and truly global… people who are busy working on their own ideas and organisations frequently take the time to make (introductions, favours, connections)”.
Beijing and Shanghai appeared in the report for the first time, and immediately leaped into 4th and 8th respectively, pushing Singapore to the 12th position from its previous 10th.
Singapore has the 6th highest Percentage of Immigrant Founders in the world at 35%. It also has the 3rd highest level of Global Connectedness of all top 20 ecosystems outperforming even Silicon Valley.
Invited to provide a human perspective to the data, Quest Ventures’ James Tan was quoted: “Singapore is an open society and welcomes entrepreneurs around the world to create the next big thing here.” More
Cafebond.com on bringing Australia’s best coffee beans to Singapore
2017 Mar 09
Accessing the world of fashion and contemporary culture through an Asian lens, Buro 24/7 interviewed Cafebond.com co-founders Eugene Chen and Keyis Ng.
They described how their experience with great coffee in Melbourne inspired them to go “online to find a way to purchase coffee from Melbourne, only to find out that some cafes do not ship outside of Australia. For those that did, the shipping fees ended up costing more than the bag of beans itself.”
Asked about the “most interesting person” they have met on the job, they answered, “It would be James Tan, the managing partner of Quest Ventures – Cafebond.com’s first investor. James is also one the very first investors to bolster top local start-ups such as Carousell, 99.co, and Burpple. He has been very supportive. Given his wealth of experience, we’ve learnt a lot from him as an investor and mentor.” More
Singapore startup founders talk about their first investors, and the meetings that started it all
2017 Mar 06
“Needless to say, not all investments pay off due to many reasons, but there are some investors who somehow have the Midas touch when it comes to identifying potential successes.”
The common investor across these companies? James Tan of Quest Ventures. More
Singapore company creates karaoke device named Popsical that fits in one’s hand
The Straits Times
2017 Feb 03
The Straits Times covers a new piece of hardware backed by Quest Ventures.
“Shaped like a disc, weighing a mere 150g and fitting into the palm of your hand, Popsical does not look like the average karaoke machine. But plug it into any sound system and TV and you can be belting out your favourite songs to background music.
Popsical works with a mobile app that contains an ever-expanding music library of more than 30,000 ditties ranging from the classics to the latest hits in more than eight languages including English, Mandarin, Malay, Tamil, Hindi and Thai.
About $475,000 in investments has come from companies such as Quest Ventures, the venture capital firm that backed online marketplace app Carousell.” More