Southeast Asian VCs weigh in on how startups can survive COVID-19


When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

Jeffrey Seah, a partner at Quest Ventures, stresses that only the strongest will survive the cull.

“Darwinian thinking underwrites every form of commerce, and in these times the going concern of every startup. As the VC market operating mindset matures with more domain experts and adopts more mainstream business metrics, this Covid market is more than just an academic Black Swan event.

It will become the defining period of bootstrapping, scrum, and hockey-stick-growth for startups that have built their fundamentals well, and conversely the retrograde period for those overvalued yet under-built. They will remember this period as a seminal pivoting moment.”

Seah from Quest Ventures also agrees that this is absolutely not the time for business-as-usual, but it also should not be a hibernation period for startups.

“At Quest Ventures, we continue to evaluate our deal flows and disburse due in investments. Now is not the time for paralysis, when the ecosystem needs the most guidance and support. As past operators, we are working in the trenches with our portfolio companies, to extract as much value from this period of business opportunity, the preservation valuation comes from quality of revenue, rather than cash hoarding.

This is a good fundraising time for direct-to-customer businesses—media, content, delivery, and SaaS services. Their business models are and will be Darwin-validated as the curfews and lockdowns continue to disrupt the society, and resultantly, marketplaces.”


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