TechBurst Asia Podcast · 020: The Sustainability Challenge - Balancing Profits & Social Impact

16 Nov 2020

Many of you will know today’s guest, Steve Melhuish, as the Co-Founder, former CEO and Vice Chairman of one of the darlings of the SE Asia’s start-up ecosystem, PropertyGuru Group, but he’s also a Venture Partner with Wavemaker Partners – the venture capital firm, and the Founder and CEO of Planet Rise – a company that invests and supports start-ups that tackle climate change and poverty.

In this episode, we are going to discuss sustainability. And more specifically, how do you find the right balance from delivering social impact – while still creating a profitable business. 

Show Notes:

02:10 What Steve has been up to since he left his role as CEO of PropertyGuru (hint: Angel investing in startups that address climate change & poverty)

04:10 What characteristics Steve looks for in the start-ups he invests in 

07:15 The evolving sustainability ecosystem – and how the economics/business case behind renewables finally stacks up

10:50 Governments seem to be launching more sustainability initiatives during Covid-19 – is there a correlation or is it just a coincidence?

13:45 How well has the sustainability ecosystem progressed – and what will it take to move it forward?

18:50 How do you balance the profits versus social impact dilemma when you evaluate your investments?

21:50 What does Steve understand about the sustainability ecosystem today that he wishes he knew when he started investing in sustainability start-ups?

25:50 What are the “red flags” Steve looks out for when evaluating early stage businesses?

27:00 What lessons did Steve learn during the dotcom era that he still applies to his work with start-ups today?

30:30 What’s your craziest start-up story?


TechBurst Asia Podcast · Driving DeepTech in Singapore

02 Sep 2020

Singapore has been investing heavily in DeepTech – and in this episode we sit down with one of the key players in the space, SGInnovate‘s new CEO, Dr. Jui Lim. We’ll discuss the current state of the market, what it will take to move DeepTech from early stage to commercialisation & the amazing journey he followed from medical school in NYC to where he is today.

Show Notes:

00:30 Why Jui refers to himself as a “rolling stone”

03:20 Transitioning from medical school to venture capital…

05:20 …and from venture capital to a start-up…

08:30 …and from a start-up to setting up accelerators

11:00 Jui’s role as the newly appointed CEO of SGInnovate

12:50 Why Singapore must focus on DeepTech commercialisation

15:15 State of Singapore’s start-up ecosystem

21:45 What Jui understands today that he wish he knew when he started out in venture capital

25:50 What personal skills or characteristics have allowed Jui to be successful in so many industries

28:50 Fun Q #1: Of the thousands of start-up solutions you have looked at, can you give us an example of one that really “wowed” you?

32:00 Fun Q #2: If I give you one week off from your current job – and you HAVE to go back to one of your previous roles, would you rather be the CEO of a start-up, set up another accelerator, or bartend?

 


TechBurst Asia Podcast · TBA 016: Sustainability in the Post COVID-19 World - Are Companies Ready To Act?

05 May 2020

TechBurst Asia spoke to Frank Meehan, Co-Founder of the sustainability platform start-up Equilibrium.world and Co-Founder & General Partner of SparkLabs Global Ventures about what will happen to corporate sustainability initiatives in the post-pandemic, new normal world.

In our G&T-infused discussion, we also discuss:

  • Frank’s roles on the Boards of companies like Spotify and Siri
  • Why has Asia handled the coronavirus pandemic better than the West, and
  • What the future of work will look like (spoiler alert: loads less travel – and that’s not a bad thing)

Show Notes

02:22 Intro to Equilibrium, Frank’s latest start-up that creates a sustainability data operations platform to help companies meet their emissions and sustainability targets.

11:45 Who owns the sustainability agenda in corporates?

14:10 Which industries are driving sustainability today?

15:00 Will companies willingly drive sustainability initiatives – or do they only respond to government regulation?

16:30 Frank’s background: From Sydney to Sweden to Singapore to London to San Fran to…

22:50 You’ve held too many Board decisions to mention them all, but which ones were the most interesting? Spotify, Siri

25:25 How did you first get involved with SparkLabs Group?

27:40 You’ve been around through 3G, 4G & 5G – do see any similarities in the hype cycles of each?

32:00 What will the operators need to do to make money out of 5G?

35:40 Why has Asia handled the coronavirus pandemic better than the West?

40:00 Will contact tracing apps like Singapore’s Trace Together and Australia’s COVIDSafe be successful?

41:50 What will going to the office be like in the post-pandemic, new normal world? And what will it be like when we start travelling again?

43:15 Tell me something positive that has come about as a result of the global pandemic?

 



22 Jan 2020

Hear the latest insights on the global accelerator and venture capital industries from one of Silicon Valley’s leading players, SparkLabs Group Partner & Co-Founder, Bernard Moon.

01:15 Intro to the SparkLabs Group accelerators and VC funds – and how back in 2012 they came up with the concept to launch their first accelerator in Seoul

04:45 What locations are you planning for the launch of the next SparkLabs accelerators?

06:05 Overview of one of the latest SparkLabs initiatives – SparkLabs Frontier – which partners with universities to drive innovation

09:30 Many accelerators start in the US and go global. SparkLabs started out as a global accelerator. Did that make it harder or easier to raise funding and attract applicants?

10:30 The SparkLabs strategy is to grow slowly, but the model and culture works. Bernard cites how Edgar Chiu has turned SparkLabs Taipei into the leading accelerator in Taiwan in the first two years after launch.

11:40 Startups don’t come to SparkLabs for the money, they come to be part of the SparkLabs Ecosystem.

  • How does SparkLabs differentiate from the other leading accelerator programs, like Y Combinator, TechStars and Plug & Play?

13:30 What makes a good accelerator program?

17:30 An overview of the SparkLabs venture capital funds

19:50 SparkLabs has invested in over 260 companies, what are some of the highlights?

22:00 Silicon Valley has long been the home of venture capital – but many firms are now looking to Asia. Where does the Valley see the opportunities in Asia?

  • The next billion middle class in Asia

25:00 Overview of the recent launch of  SparkLabs Foundry – SparkLabs’ “Innovation as a Service” offering for the Fortune 500 – and it’s partnership with SRI International, one of the world’s leading research and innovation institutes.

27:25 Bernard just launched his 13th Annual Industry Predictions on VentureBeat – titled “2020: Our meatless, cashless, city-less future” – what are the highlights?

32:25  You live in Silicon Valley, but the other co-founders live in Korea, the UK and Singapore. How do you manage to keep everyone in contact – and on the same page – with regards to your investment strategy, expansion plans, etc.?

34:00 Let’s say SparkLabs doesn’t exist – and you wanted to start an accelerator today. Where would you locate it  – and why? (spoiler alert: it’s not Silicon Valley)

35:15 What do you know today – that you wish you knew when you started SparkLabs?

36:50 Final question – tell us something about yourself that we don’t already know.

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TBA 010 Bernard Moon



03 Sep 2019

In this podcast, we take a look at the role Venture Capital and Accelerator programs play in the tech ecosystem. While some countries, like Singapore, are inundated with them, why have other markets, like Taiwan, not seen the same level of interest? 

Podcast Overview with time stamps

01:30 Intro to Edgar Chiu, Managing Partner of SparkLabs Taipei and founder of JumpStart Global, a talent acceleration program that focuses on matching top talent from large corporates with exciting startups.

03:00 The evolution of SparkLabs Taipei since its founding less than two years ago

06:00 Overview of SparkLabs Taipei Demo Day #2

  • Over 800 attendees, including 150 investors from Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Silicon Valley, etc.
  • 6 startup presentations
  • Panel with 4 leading players from the Silicon Valley VC scene
  • How high labour costs are forcing Silicon Valley startups to look farther afield for talent – and why Taiwan is well suited to reap the benefits.

11:30 Overview of the fireside chat with best-selling author Steven Johnson where he discusses his book Where Good Ideas Come From: A Natural History of Innovation

12:40 How has the Taiwan start-up scene has evolved over the past 8 years

  • Used to be well known for manufacturing products (e.g. iPhones)
  • Companies (e.g. Google) are now coming to Taiwan to leverage its strong Software Engineering skills to drive their R&D
  • The transformation from a manufacturing power to a digital power

14:45 Singapore has been invested heavily by both Venture Capital firms and Accelerator programs in recent years, is Taiwan going to be Asia’s next “hot spot” for startups and innovation?

17:00 The importance of startups in Taiwan having a “global” mentality due to the limited size of the local market

18:35 What types of companies presented at Demo Day?

23:40 What advice would Edgar give to Taiwan and international startups or entrepreneurs?

25:20 What advice would you give to the Silicon Valley Venture Capital players about tapping into Taiwan market opportunity?

26:30 What advice would you give the Taiwanese government to help drive entrepreneurship and innovation while attracting foreign investment?

27:30 Which emerging technologies do you think will create the next wave of opportunities for startups?

29:30 And which emerging technologies will have the greatest impact on society?

31:55 How do you think the Taiwanese startup scene – and SparkLabs Taipei – will evolve in the coming years?

33:00 What do you think will happen in Taiwan’s 2020 Presidential election – and how do you think that will/could impact the country’s startup ecosystem

36:15 Tell us something about yourself or your background that will surprise us

  •  Note: if you want to know why Edgar started JumpStart and SparkLabs Taipei, his answer to this question will make it clear.

39:30 What is the best food for visitors to Taiwan to try

  • Try the fruit!
  • Edgar’s wife’s CookInn Taiwan cooking school – which teaches foreign visitors how to make local dishes like beef noodle, xiao long bao, and bubble tea.

41:25 How can the listeners get more information about SparkLabs Taipei

SparkLabs Taipei

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sparklabstaipei/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/sparklabs-taipei/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sparklabs_taipei/

JumpStart Global:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jumpstart.do/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/jumpstart-global/about/