The Entrepreneur Series – Anqi Liu, Partner – Metaverse Fund, Quest Ventures

Her Entrepreneur

Anqi Liu, a prominent Partner at the Metaverse Fund of Quest Ventures, has carved a niche for herself in the venture capital realm, specializing in metaverse and blockchain technology. Her journey, marked by impactful roles showcases her versatility and leadership. Anqi’s unique position as the only management associate seconded from Beijing to Singapore highlights her ability to manage stakeholder engagements across levels.

We had the privilege of speaking with Anqi about her journey, her approach to venture capital, and her insights on leadership and the future of technology. Here’s what she shared with us:

Can you share your journey from being in your entrepreneurship days to becoming a Partner for the Metaverse Fund at Quest Ventures?

“During my time at university, I was not just focused on academics; I was deeply involved in entrepreneurial activities. I founded a startup. Managing this startup, overcoming challenges, and eventually leading it to a successful exit, were my initial steps into the business world. This experience was instrumental in shaping my understanding of business dynamics, team management, and the importance of creating value for customers.

After university, I went to Europe to do investments. This was a significant shift as it allowed me to deepen my understanding of global markets, especially in emerging sectors like cryptocurrency and blockchain. It wasn’t just about managing funds; it was about foreseeing future trends, understanding technological advancements, and making informed decisions. This period was crucial in shaping my investment philosophy and understanding the broader impact of technology on traditional industries.

Joining Quest Ventures as a Partner was a natural culmination of my past experiences and my deep-rooted passion for emergent technologies, particularly within the Web3 domain. My role at Quest Ventures is multifaceted but centers around identifying and empowering entrepreneurs who are pioneering the Web3 space. At Quest Ventures, I am not just investing in companies; I am investing in the future of the internet, ensuring it remains a dynamic, inclusive, and transformative force in our lives.”

How did your experiences shape your approach to venture capital investment?

“I have a very multinational background. I was born in China, raised in Singapore, received my bachelor’s degree in Australia and worked in Europe.

Returning to Singapore, I brought with me a tapestry of global experiences, which now inform my approach to venture capital investment at Quest Ventures. I leverage my multicultural background and international experiences to connect with entrepreneurs from diverse origins, understand their unique challenges, and evaluate their global market potential.

In venture capital, understanding the entrepreneur’s vision and the startup’s cultural context is as crucial as evaluating its financial metrics and business model. My journey, spanning continents and cultures, has shaped me into a venture capitalist who values diversity, embraces global perspectives, and champions innovative solutions that have the potential to make a worldwide impact.”

What were some of the key leadership lessons you learned that you apply in your current role?

“Throughout my leadership journey, from being a student leader back in the days at Raffles, to being the Chairman for NCC’s Cadet Officer Council then to my leadership roles in work, I’ve distilled invaluable leadership lessons that are pivotal in my current role. Adaptable leadership has been fundamental; understanding that each team and project may require a different approach has allowed me to tailor my leadership style to meet diverse needs effectively. This flexibility enhances team dynamics and project outcomes.

Simultaneously, I’ve embraced a visionary yet pragmatic approach, balancing big-picture thinking with grounded execution. This balance ensures that our investments are not only innovative but also viable and sustainable. Communication has been another cornerstone; fostering transparency and understanding within teams and with our entrepreneurs ensures that we are aligned and can navigate challenges more efficiently.

Continuous learning and humility have guided my professional development; acknowledging that there is always more to learn has kept me open to new perspectives and has fostered an environment of growth and innovation within our team. Lastly, resilience and perseverance have been my anchors. The venture capital landscape is fraught with uncertainties and challenges; maintaining resilience has been crucial in navigating these, ensuring we remain committed to our goals despite setbacks.

These leadership lessons, cultivated from a tapestry of global experiences, are integral to my approach at Quest Ventures, guiding our strategies, interactions, and investments towards fostering a culture of innovation, respect, and success.”

How has your background in commerce influenced your investment strategies in the tech and metaverse (Web 3) sectors?

“My commerce background has deeply influenced my investment approach in the tech and web 3.0 sectors. It’s equipped me with essential tools for financial assessment and understanding market dynamics, crucial for identifying viable and potentially successful startups. Risk management principles guide my decisions in these volatile areas, while a global perspective aids in recognizing opportunities beyond local markets. Essentially, this educational foundation supports strategic, informed investment choices, balancing innovation with market readiness and financial health.”

How do you think discipline and competitiveness in sports translate to the business world?

“My time on the Raffles Junior College canoeing team profoundly impacted my professional approach, teaching me valuable lessons in discipline, teamwork, and competitiveness that are directly applicable to the business world.

Discipline learned from rigorous training schedules has translated into meticulous planning and execution in the tech and venture capital sectors. Teamwork, a necessity in canoeing, parallels the collaborative nature of successful business ventures, where synergy and shared goals drive success. Competitiveness from sports has fostered a drive for excellence and innovation in my career, pushing me to stay ahead in the fast-evolving market.

Moreover, the resilience and strategic thinking required in canoeing have been essential in overcoming business challenges and making informed investment decisions. Together, these sports-derived qualities have shaped my approach to navigating the complexities of the tech and venture capital landscape.”

How do you see the importance of community in the tech and venture capital ecosystem?

“In the tech and venture capital ecosystem, community is not just important; it’s indispensable. It fosters collaboration, innovation, and support among entrepreneurs, investors, and other stakeholders.

Collaboration: The tech community thrives on collaboration. Ideas are shared, refined, and evolved through interaction. A strong community facilitates partnerships that combine different strengths and perspectives, leading to innovative solutions and successful ventures.

Support and Mentorship: The journey of entrepreneurship and investment is fraught with challenges. A supportive community offers a safety net, providing guidance, mentorship, and resources. For investors and startups alike, having a network to lean on can be the difference between failure and success.

Knowledge Sharing: In the rapidly evolving tech sector, staying informed is crucial. Communities act as hubs for knowledge exchange, keeping members up to date on trends, technologies, and best practices. This shared learning is vital for maintaining competitiveness and fostering industry growth.

Access to Opportunities: A vibrant community opens doors. For startups, it can mean access to funding, partnerships, and talent. For investors, it’s a source of promising ventures and collaborations. The community acts as a marketplace for opportunities, where relationships built on trust can lead to mutually beneficial outcomes.

In essence, the community in the tech and venture capital ecosystem is the backbone of innovation and growth. It’s where connections are made, support systems are built, and the groundwork for future success is laid.”

How do you balance your professional responsibilities with your personal passions?

“Balancing professional responsibilities with personal passions like photography, traveling, and diving involves intentional planning and boundary setting. I schedule dedicated time for these activities, similar to how I schedule work meetings, ensuring they’re a non-negotiable part of my life. Integrating these passions with my professional life, such as utilizing travel opportunities for networking, allows me to blend both worlds seamlessly.

My work, involving meeting new people and engaging conversations, also fuels my passion, making professional and personal satisfaction intertwined. Establishing clear boundaries ensures my downtime is respected, allowing me to fully engage in my hobbies and return to work recharged.

In essence, deliberate scheduling, respecting personal time, and finding joy in work enable me to maintain a healthy, fulfilling balance between my professional responsibilities and personal passions.”

What are some emerging trends in the metaverse (Web 3.0) and tech space that you are excited about?

“The intersection of AI and Web 3.0 is particularly fascinating and holds transformative potential for our digital future. AI can enhance Web 3.0 technologies by improving the efficiency and security of blockchain networks, enabling smarter, more adaptive smart contracts, and providing advanced analytics for decentralized applications (dApps). This synergy between AI and Web 3.0 can lead to more intelligent, autonomous, and personalized web experiences, marking a significant evolution in how we interact with the internet.

Furthermore, the integration of cryptocurrency into our daily lives is a trend I am closely monitoring and enthusiastically supporting. Cryptocurrencies are moving beyond investment vehicles to become fundamental elements of digital commerce and finance. We’re seeing an increasing number of businesses, from small local cafes to multinational corporations, accepting cryptocurrencies as payment methods. This trend is facilitated by improvements in transaction speed, security, and user-friendliness, making cryptocurrencies a more viable option for everyday transactions.

In addition, cryptocurrency is playing a crucial role in enabling financial inclusion. By providing access to financial services without the need for traditional banking infrastructure, cryptocurrencies can empower millions worldwide, especially in underbanked or unstable economies. This aligns with the decentralized ethos of Web 3.0, promoting a more accessible, equitable digital economy.

The convergence of AI, Web 3.0, and cryptocurrency is not just reshaping our online interactions but is also paving the way for a more integrated, efficient, and inclusive digital world. I am excited to be part of this journey, exploring and contributing to the development of these technologies as they become increasingly woven into the fabric of our daily lives.”

What advice would you give to young professionals aspiring to make a mark in the venture capital and tech industries?

“For those aspiring to make a mark in the venture capital and tech industries, start by building a strong knowledge base in business, finance, and technology. Continuously stay informed about the latest trends and innovations, as the landscape evolves rapidly. Contribute and give back to the community to build meaningful relationships. Value diversity, as different perspectives foster innovation and growth. Lastly, cultivate resilience; the journey is filled with challenges, and the ability to bounce back and learn from setbacks is invaluable.”

Considering your journey, what advice would you offer individuals aspiring to build successful careers in challenging industries?

“Reflecting on my journey, the path to success in any challenging industry is both diverse and personal. Here’s what I’ve learned: Firstly, don’t hesitate to try new things. The unfamiliar can be daunting, but it’s also where growth happens. Stepping out of your comfort zone can lead to unexpected opportunities and insights.

Stay open to new ideas, perspectives, and challenges. This openness will not only enhance your adaptability but also enrich your professional and personal life. It allows you to embrace change, an inevitable part of any industry, and to innovate and improve continuously.

It’s important not to let stress overshadow your ambitions. While some pressure is inevitable, finding effective ways to manage stress will keep you focused and productive. Remember, well-being is crucial to sustaining long-term success.

Find joy in what you do. Passion is a significant motivator and can make even the most challenging tasks more bearable and fulfilling. When you enjoy your work, it reflects in your performance and relationships with others.”

What’s your advise for female entrepreneurs and leaders taking on leadership positions?

“To my fellow female entrepreneurs and leaders stepping into leadership positions, my journey has taught me valuable lessons that I hope can guide and empower you in your endeavors:

Embrace Your Unique Perspective: As women, we bring unique insights and approaches to the table. Value your perspective and use it to shape your leadership style and decision-making. Diversity in thought leads to innovation and more comprehensive solutions.

Build a Supportive Network: Surround yourself with mentors, peers, and teams who support and challenge you. A strong network can provide guidance, feedback, and encouragement, which are crucial for navigating the complexities of leadership and entrepreneurship.

Assert Your Presence: Be confident in your abilities and decisions. It’s important to assert yourself in meetings, negotiations, and decision-making processes. Your voice is valuable – ensure it’s heard.

Stay True to Your Values: Integrity and authenticity resonate with people. Stay true to your core values and let them guide your actions and decisions. Authentic leadership fosters trust, respect, and loyalty among your team and stakeholders.

Balance Assertiveness with Empathy: Effective leadership requires a balance between assertiveness and empathy. While it’s important to be decisive and direct, also strive to understand and address the needs and concerns of your team and clients.

Prioritize Self-Care: Leadership can be demanding. Remember to take care of yourself both physically and mentally. A healthy work-life balance not only improves your well-being but also enhances your effectiveness as a leader.

Challenge Stereotypes: As female leaders, we often face stereotypes and biases. Use your position to challenge these misconceptions by demonstrating competence, resilience, and leadership. Moreover, support other women by providing opportunities and advocating for their growth and recognition.

Remember, leadership is a journey, not a destination. Continue to learn, adapt, and grow.”

How do you think HER Entrepreneur can help unite and inspire more women entrepreneurs and leaders to grow and lead, while referring businesses to each other?

“HER Entrepreneur plays a critical role in uniting and inspiring women entrepreneurs and leaders by fostering a supportive community that encourages growth, leadership, and mutual support. This platform can serve as a catalyst for women to empower each other, share insights, and foster collaboration. By creating a strong, interconnected community, HER Entrepreneur enables women to network effectively, share experiences, and learn from each other. This network becomes a powerful resource for personal and professional development, helping women to navigate the challenges of entrepreneurship and leadership. The platform can highlight successful female entrepreneurs and leaders, providing role models and inspiring more women to pursue their entrepreneurial and leadership ambitions. By showcasing their stories, HER Entrepreneur helps to break stereotypes and encourage a more inclusive business environment. HER Entrepreneur can promote a culture of collaboration and mutual support, encouraging members to refer business to each other. This not only helps in growing individual businesses but also strengthens the overall ecosystem, creating more opportunities for women-led ventures. By providing resources, support, and a platform for expression, HER Entrepreneur empowers women to take bold steps in their business and leadership journeys. This empowerment fosters confidence, which is crucial for successful entrepreneurship and effective leadership.

In conclusion, HER Entrepreneur has the potential to be more than just a platform; it can be a movement that unites, inspires, and propels women entrepreneurs and leaders forward. By fostering a community of support, learning, and collaboration, HER Entrepreneur can help women not only to grow their businesses but also to become trailblazers in their industries, creating a ripple effect that encourages more women to lead and innovate.”

Anqi Liu’s insights shed light on her journey from an entrepreneurial student to a Partner at Quest Ventures, her multicultural approach to venture capital, and her invaluable leadership lessons. Her perspective on the importance of community, balancing professional and personal life, and her advice for aspiring professionals and female entrepreneurs offer a rich narrative for those navigating the complexities of the venture capital and tech industries.


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