👋🏼 How would you explain your job to someone outside tech?
I scout founders who will transform millions of lives across Southeast Asia, personally coach them during their personal growth journey and collaborate on building the organization and strategy.
🧐 What's something about you or your job that would surprise us?
Having been on both sides of the table as a founder and VC means it's personally rewarding to help founders because you remember what it was like to be the team pitching over and over again to VCs.
There are many more ideas than capital, so wisdom is needed to identify the top founders at their current company stage. Yet, it's also very disappointing to have to say "not yet" to founders who haven't made their whole venture click since I've been there.
🏆 What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far?
Hosting the BRAVE Southeast Asia Tech Podcast has been life-changing. I've always loved reading and listening to biographies. Starting with just my laptop mic during the pandemic was an act of curiosity, and I've come to realize how much it personally means to me to be profiling local stories of home.
Every time a guest speaks with me, I get to be the very first listener inspired by their journeys. As Mikel Ellcessor, co-founder of Radiolab & WNYC Studios, shared with me, "What are the discussions that set your soul on fire? Because you can only truly host podcasts that you would do regardless of whether there's anyone listening."
🔍 What's a startup trend or space you're watching this year?
I'm excited about the next generation of Southeast Asian startup leaders. Historically, the last wave of founders have been first-time entrepreneurs or returning from the US with operating experience.
We now see second and third-time local founders, along with high-growth startup executives who have cut their teeth in the region. They all bring maturity and judgment about what actually needs to be solved in the region, what they're truly passionate about and how to execute in a localized way.
💼 What advice would you give someone starting out in your industry?
To be a great founder, you need to love what you're solving and the customer that you're serving. Life is short, so go do something that you actually care about, instead of getting stuck in a business venture that you are not genuinely motivated about.
🗣 What's one thing you can keep talking about for hours?
The life lessons of becoming a father to two daughters. The simple joy of being present during family moments.
The logistics, mechanics and science of raising children to grow into who they choose to become. The sociological point of view of what our communities need to do better to be stewards for the next seven generations.
🎥 What's your favorite movie/TV show?
The Expanse. Great science fiction TV show that builds upon the "family of choice" dynamics similar to Firefly and Battlestar Galactica. Honest portrayals of humanity in the face of technological change leading to relatable narratives instead of fairytale story endings.
🍨 What's your go-to ice cream flavor?
Coconut sorbet. Delicious, refreshing and childhood days at the beach.