5 Great Talks to Aid Startups from Echelon Thailand
There was a wealth of experience on show speaking on the main stage at Echelon Thailand. A variety of different subjects were covered from how to build a global startup from SEA to advice on investing and why SEA has so much opportunity and buzz at the moment. We ended up spending a lot of time at Echelon in front of the main stage listening to the talks. Here is a snapshot of the five talks which I found particularly interesting from the event.
Jeffrey Paine, founding partner of Golden Gate Ventures talked about ‘The perfect pitch: How should startups prepare the investment deck for their first seed investment’. This talk gave a great insight into the mind of an investor and what they want to see in an investment deck. Jeffrey was honest with his assessments and said that sometimes if he thinks an idea is crazy enough that he likes it he will invest in it showing the scope of an investors mind. Often investors will look for a project with solid traction and for which they can see some solid growth in the future but if the idea is far enough out the box then you also have a chance of gaining investment.
The Investment Panel
This discussion was also very interesting for seeing how the minds of investors work. One of the main questions coming from the audience was whether an investor would invest in a startup with the tech side outsourced. This got a resounding no. It was also interesting to learn what the investors were looking at in the future. Payment providers were on high on the wish list. The panel was made up of top investors like Jeffrey Paine and Adrian Vanzyl who are mentioned in their own right in this article and Amit Anand, founding partner of Jungle Ventures. The panel was concluded with Dmitry Levit who is a General Partner in Digital Media Partners. The panel was somewhat amusing with some tongue-in-cheek humour about how things are done differently in Russia.
Moo is the founder of Ookbee discussed how his startup has transformed from a work of passion to the largest e-book store in SEA. He gave a really honest account of how things can snowball and had some great humour in the talk. One of our favorite lines was; ‘we realised we had too much money so we printed some cuddly bee toys to give away.’ Ookbee continues to expand at a rapid rate with a teams across South East Asia.
Bowei gave quite an inspirational presentation of how after selling a company to LinkedIn, he decided to travel the world and look for places that have potential for startups. He visited many different countries and when he was finished he decided that SEA had the most potential. He packed his bags and sold all his things and moved over to the Phiippines. He also talked about how important it is to focus on the markets you know and gave a great story about companies trying to go into China. He mentioned how there were thousands of businesses doing the same thing as Groupon so obviously it is ridiculously harder to get a foothold in the Chinese market and can be very expensive.
Adrian from Ardent Capital gave a great talk on how to now get screwed on a term sheet. The talk itself gave some great insights into what should and shouldn’t be on a term sheet and the sort of cat and mouse game that investor and startup founder are playing to get favourable terms. After the presentation, Adrian opened himself up for questions from the audience. Some great questions were asked such as how do you split equity amongst founders, how much should you give away in a seed round and more.