One of the most important concerns for potential investors is to feel assured that the small business or start-up they’ve invested in, will generate a profit. This seems obvious, but the fact is that investors consider many aspects before injecting cash into a brand new or expanding enterprise because it’s not the pretty face that lasts the longest: the relationship must be one of long-term commitment.

To decide on who and what to invest in, venture capitalists (VCs) want to know that the pitch can stand the test of time, contingency plans are in place, the geographics of where the business will expand has been researched, unforeseen technological complications can be mitigated, and the business must be sustainable.

Therefore, not only is the business owner or entrepreneur vetted on their experience and enthusiasm for their product or services, but they are also evaluated on how they will deal with change, employee turnover, government regulations, supply and demand, and the full monty of what can and will happen with a start-up or existing business needing their investment capital.


Think of the current television series, Shark Tank, and how similar businesses are rejected over others that are accepted by investors, due to lack of awareness of the ultimate end game or minimal research on the part of the entrepreneur. Research is key to knowing what the market is for a product or service, and venture capitalists want to be confident that all the bases have been covered before getting themselves in the red.

What can you learn from watching Shark Tank?

The below list of VCs who invest in Southeast Asia uses that kind of intense scrutiny to ensure that their money grows as they support others. With Southeast Asia as the biggest melting pot of start-ups in the world, these VCs have to be both open to new and innovative ideas, as well as relentless as a bloodthirsty shark when it comes to following that veritable prey.

500 Startups

The 500 Startups company boasts over 2,000 company investments and 3,000 founders in over 60 countries. Global viability is their aim, as well as a mission toward increased diversity in the business sector. The company holds investments in travel, marketing, e-commerce, and data tech, to name but a few of their many partners worldwide; 45% of which are being run by minorities in their stakeholding country.

Within their portfolio are the credit-report and financial-advice company of CreditKarma, Udemy, which provides online learning worldwide; Remind, which enables teacher/parent/student messages and information systems; and Kush, a music application developer for matching music to voice.

Convergence Ventures

As the leading VC in Indonesia, Convergence Ventures not only invests capital but provides extensive resources for their entrepreneurs and small businesses to grow. Partners Donald Wihardja and Adrian Li have a seasoned history in mobile and internet business in these emerging markets. Some of their diverse portfolio includes: M17 Entertainment, a music and dating app venture, Salestock for discount online fashion, and Moka for point-of-sale purchases and payments.

Vertex Ventures

Based in Singapore, Vertex Ventures focuses on high-end, high-growth companies and start-ups. Among their portfolio is Cloudcherry, which is a multi-channel company/customer platform providing the means to improve customer service and profitability. Another company under their umbrella is Housejoy, a full-service “home valet” of sorts, providing recommendations and service professional connections for services, such as home repairs, cleaning, errands, sitting, and transportation.

Learn how to spend VC money as an early stage startup

Sequoia Capital

Founders within Sequoia Capital currently have a total net worth of over 3-trillion dollars. Its portfolio includes outsourcing, technology and healthcare companies. Ethos, an online insurance service; Electronic Arts, a leader in entertainment software for the internet; and Good Eggs, which is helping to sustain the local food producers, are just a few of their hundreds of investments.


Openspace Ventures (Formerly NSI Ventures)

Founding partners, Shane Tesson and Hian Goh, are pumping new money into start-ups in the Southeast Asia market, expanding into financial tech, healthtech and education technology. This region has over 600 million consumers, who are poised to be prime for the internet economy, now at the threshold of an explosive boom in this region.

Two of their successful start-ups include Biofourmis, for health analytics and Go-Jek, an Uber-model, ride-sharing service. Having rebranded as OpenSpace Ventures, this venture capitalist entity now is licensed by the MAS (Monetary Authority of Singapore) and is looking to expand investments in the Southeast Asia market, which are primarily tech-based.

Monk’s Hill Ventures

Monk’s Hill Ventures partners are both entrepreneurs themselves, and well-versed in technology. Their investments in seed companies in the Southeast Asia market have proven to be lucrative and worthy of their trust and funding. Their investments include NinjaVan, OHMNILabs, Kulina, Horangi, and Elsa.

The first is a last-mile logistics tech startup; the second was a robotics research and development company; the third, a restaurant catering-service coordinator; the fourth, a cybersecurity firm; and the last, a language-education platform. Their belief in the entrepreneurial spirit, coupled with their mixed interests and experience in many types of start-ups has made them a name with increasing clout in the emerging markets of Southeast Asia.