Forge Ventures & Early Stage Investing in Southeast Asia with Tiang Lim Foo

Forge Ventures & Early Stage Investing in Southeast Asia with Tiang Lim Foo
Tiang Lim Foo, partner & co-founder of Forge Ventures discuss the story of his firm and seed stage investing in Southeast Asia.

Fresh out of the studio, Tiang Lim Foo, co-founder and partner of Forge Ventures shares the story of how he started the seed stage venture firm and his perspectives on early stage investing in Southeast Asia. He dived into a deeper discussion of the rise of early stage investors within the key countries in the region and how the whole venture investing space is transforming with web2 and web3 in transition.


"As a seed fund, we will always be small. ... and that's done with the intent of building towards product market fit. we talk a lot about product market fit in startup land. We don't really talk about it enough and in venture land, It's really hard to deploy a billion dollars in capital if you're focusing on seed. Intentionally is a feature. It's not a bug. If we're doing our job right, we'll continue to raise the same fund size, relatively small speaking, and just be great at pattern recognition at seed pre product market fit and staying really focused that way to be the best in our niche is the way we think about it. " - Tiang Lim Foo

Introduction

  • Tiang Lim Foo, co-founder & partner, Forge Ventures (@tianglim , LinkedIn)
  • Although you have been on the show previously together with Smithy, I thought that a good place to start the conversation by having you tell your origin story. How did you start your career?
  • Why did you decide to shift from an operator role to be an early stage investor?
  • What are the career lessons you can share with the audience?

Forge Ventures & Early Stage Investing in Southeast Asia

  • What is a typical day for a venture investor like you?
  • What is the inspiration behind Forge Ventures?
  • What is the vision and mission of Forge Ventures?
  • Who else is in Forge Ventures other than yourself? How did you come together to build this fund?
  • Do you have an investment thesis specific for the fund itself?
  • What are the verticals that you typically invest in?
  • What are the traits of founders or patterns in startup teams that you index that you are likely to make the investment?
  • What are the red flags which you would watch out for?
  • From the creation of the fund till now, what are the examples of companies which you have invested so far?
  • What is your mental model in thinking about valuation of startups in Southeast Asia as a region?
  • Given the scene has changed so much in the last decade, has the early stage model evolved as well? Do you see more and more early pre-seed stage startups are likely to first spring up from their current countries and then go to seed stage funds for funding?
  • Is it possible now to just think of startups diving deeper within the country itself, for example, Indonesia, Thailand or even Vietnam alone?
  • What else is currently lacking in the Southeast Asia entrepreneurship ecosystem that you wish that can be solved, for example, regulation, common market?
  • As the fund has focused on startups in the web 2 world, how do you look at the current web3 phenomena springing up in the region?
  • What does great look like for Forge Ventures?

Closing

  • Any recommendations that have inspired you recently?
  • Tiang's recommendation: Clayton Christensen, James Allworth and Kate Dillon "How will you measure your life?"
  • How can my audience find you?

Podcast Information:The show is hosted and produced by Bernard Leong (@bernardleong, Linkedin) and Carol Yin (@CarolYujiaYin, LinkedIn). Sound credits for the intro and end music: "Run it" by DJ Snake, Rick Ross and Rich Brian and the episode is mixed & edited by Geoffrey Thomas Craig (LinkedIn).