Podcast

The Sustainability Challenge: Balancing Profits & Social Impact

16 Nov 2020
TechBurst Asia Podcast · 020: The Sustainability Challenge - Balancing Profits & Social Impact

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?