5 VC speakers at Echelon Asia Summit you should meet

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Echelon Asia Summit 2015 boasts an exciting line-up of speakers, many of whom are key players in the Asian tech startup ecosystem. Keep your eyes peeled for these five venture capitalists who have been contributing towards the success of the regional startup scene!

1. Saemin Ahn, Managing Partner, Rakuten Ventures

Saemin Ahn, Managing Partner, Rakuten Ventures

Selected as one of Quora’s Top Writers for 2013 to 2015,Saemin Ahn, Managing Partner, Rakuten Ventures, has a penchant for doling out useful (and sometimes witty) advice over the Internet.

A few great reads include his thought piece on the issue of liquidation for startups and how startups should select a VC best suited to their needs. If his Quora account alone is like a treasure trove of insights, one must wonder: How is he like on stage and in person?

In person, he is said to be friendly and approachable, even though the man manages the investment arm of e-commerce giant Rakuten and its US$100 million fund set up last year. His portfolio includes a US$10 million investment in mobile-centric advertising startup PocketMath, a US$3.5 million investment in visual recognition firm ViSenze, along withinvestment in Carousell.

If we’re lucky, we might even get a glimpse of Ahn’s great sense of humour, like he did last year at Capital On Stage.

2. Amit Anand, Founding and Managing Partner, Jungle Ventures

Amit Anand, Founding and Managing Partner, Jungle Ventures

What’s the single most important factor in helping Amit Anand, Founding and Managing Partner, Jungle Ventures, become so successful? It’s hard to say.

It could be that he has spent over 14 years in three markets – Singapore, the US and India – working actively on go-to-market strategies and corporate development for software companies.

“[They] could be twin sisters in innovation, entrepreneurship,” said Anand about Singapore and Bangalore, India.

Or perhaps it’s the fact that he’s so crazy about helping early-stage startups grow and scale. “It’s not about the money,” he said, “it’s about the value creation.”

Regardless, his way of investing in startups has resulted in many wins, including travelmob being acquired by HomeAway, and Zipdial being acquired by Twitter.

3. Tee Plern Suraphongchai, Director, Ardent Capital

Tee Plern Suraphongchai, Director, Ardent Capital

Hailing from Ardent Capital, Tee Plern Suraphongchaiis a rare sort. Having worked at an e-commerce apparel business based in the US, and founded two F&B companies, she’s no stranger to the entrepreneurship scene.

As a venture capitalist, she understands that all stakeholders in the startup ecosystem – government agencies, media partners, accelerators, incubators, among others – need to work together, and not in a silo. “What’s missing is how you incentivise the best people to join the ecosystem,” she noted at e27’s recent tech and business conference Echelon Indonesia.

“One way to do that is to bring people from abroad. There are a lot of people that are going to school overseas, but if they don’t have a platform to build and learn about the local environment, it’s hard to incentivise them to come back,” added Suraphongchai.

4. William Bao Bean, Partner, SOSV and Managing Director, Chinaccelerator

William Bao Bean, Partner at SOSV

William Bao Bean, Partner at SOSV and Managing Director at Chinaccelerator, is the person to go to if you’re interested in China’s exciting startup ecosystem.

As the world’s top economy, “China is one of the most competitive markets,” asserted Bean in an interview withe27, whose impressive history and forays in the tech scene has always been China-centric.

Prior to SOSV and Chinaccelerator, Bean worked at SingTel Innov8 Ventures and Softbank China & India Holdings, leading investments in Chinese startups like Yodo1 and Lekan. Other startups in his portfolio include mobile enterprise cloud SaaS Playspan, which was acquired by Visa, and Vietnamese e-commerce payments platform Peacesoft, backed by eBay.

5. Ong Peng Tsin, Partner, Monk’s Hill Ventures


Going public, getting acquired and generating more than US$1 billion in annual revenues shouldn’t be the yardstick for measuring success.

That’s a lesson we can all learn from Ong Peng Tsin, Partner, Monk’s Hill Ventures, a Co-founder of Match.com, Interwoven and Encentuate.

“The exit strategy is a side effect of success,” he said. “Don’t focus on the exit strategy when you’re building a company. Focus on building value.”

Besides building companies, Ong is also creating value by investing through Monk’s Hill Ventures’ US$100 million fund launched in May last year. The firm, named after his alma mater, has made several investments including one in housing marketplace ZipMatch and another in finance portal Compare88.

At Echelon Asia Summit, more will be unveiled about the little-known Ong when he participates in a fireside chat about his past, present and future.

It’s hard to miss such an arresting line up of speakers. Whether you are an investor that wants to look amongst the crème de la crème of startups or you’re interested in becoming part of the vibrant and rapidly progressing tech startup ecosystem in Asia, Echelon Asia Summit 2015has opportunities for all of you.

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