We managed to grab a quick interview with Singaporean technology entrepreneur Peng T. Ong, best-known as the co-founder and CTO of Match.com, about his thoughts on Thailand's current startup scene. Now he holds the position of Managing Director at Monk’s Hill Ventures - a Southeast Asian VC bullish enough on Thailand that they have recently put someone on the ground in Bangkok to help them seek out Thai startups to invest in. In this Q&A, Peng tells us where Thailand's startup ecosystem is at the moment - and how to capture the interest of VCs like his own.

Why do you think Thailand is now ready for Series A?

Folks like 500 Startups have been investing here for 4-5 years now, which means the ecosystem has had time to grow.

What kinds of startups are capturing your attention in Thailand?

It’s no different than startups elsewhere: great entrepreneurs, going after big chunks of the economy, differentiated with tech.

Do you think Thailand has it in it to become a regional leader for the tech sector?

Different countries have different strengths. Thailand has talent that is strong in design.

What impresses you most about Thailand’s current tech & startup scene?

It's the highest GDP-per-capita large-population economy in SEA.

From your extensive experience, even building a unicorn yourself – what do Thai startups need to do to improve and attract bigger Series B investments?

Think big. Think regional and global. But get very local everywhere you go.

Different countries have different strengths. Thailand has talent that is strong in design.

For those Singaporean startups thinking about expanding into Thailand, what things should they take into consideration as they expand?

How to go native.

What’s one thing that you believe in that most other VCs don’t?

I prefer bits over atoms.

Who’s your investing idol?

No one.  All are human, all have strengths and weaknesses. Most thoughtful VC I know: Richard Lim, GSR Ventures

What makes a great VC team? 

Different points of view, aligned values, similar strategies.

China's expansion into SEA: What’s the play for startups in SEA?

Be paranoid.

Amazon vs. Alibaba, who will win?

The consumer.

Think big. Think regional and global. But get very local everywhere you go.

Stay tuned for more coverage of Monk's Hill Ventures as partners Peng T. Ong and Kuo-Yi Lim share with us why Thai and SEA startups should think bigger if they want to scale successfully.

About Peng T. Ong

Peng T. Ong is one of the most successful technology entrepreneurs from Singapore. The three businesses he started now generate annual revenues that total more than $1 billion. Best-known as the co-founder and CTO of global dating site Match.com (acquired by IAC), Peng later became the founder and CEO of Interwoven, which had a successful IPO on NASDAQ and grew to a $10B market cap. After Interwoven, Peng founded Encentuate (acquired by IBM), the leader in enterprise identity management. Most recently, Peng was a Partner at GSR Ventures, a leading VC in China, and also served as the Chairman of both early-stage VC funds Jungle Ventures and Infocomm Investments. In 2014, Peng helped to found Monk's Hill Ventures in Singapore.

About Monk's Hill Ventures

"Entrepreneurs backing entrepreneurs" is the slogan at Monk's Hill Ventures, a partnership of seasoned entrepreneurs who have built and backed global companies based both in Silicon Valley and Asia. Monk’s Hill Ventures invests in top entrepreneurs in post-seed companies in Southeast Asia. With a special eye for those startups poised to take advantage of fast-growing SEA markets, Monk's Hill Ventures is driven to help companies from Southeast Asia expand globally. The firm has home bases in Singapore and Jakarta, and counts c88.com, Ninjavan, Pocket Playlab, kkday, Pixel Labs and others in its portfolio. Read more about this Southeast Asian VC at www.monkshill.com. 

Monk's Hill Ventures is eager to connect with Thai startups. To get in contact with Monk's Hill Ventures in Thailand or set up a meeting, contact Ms. June Chen, june [at] monkshill.com.

 

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