The Southeast Asia Exit Landscape with Michael Lints

The Southeast Asia Exit Landscape with Michael Lints
Michael Lints from Golden Gate Ventures discuss the Southeast Asia exit landscape for startups.

Fresh out of the studio, Michael Lints from Golden Gate Ventures discuss the Southeast Asia exit landscape for startups and what it means for investors all over the world. We discuss Michael's career and investment thesis as to what strengths and red flags he search in founders and start-ups. We dived deep into the exit landscape and explain how SPACs, direct listings and M&As will impact the startup ecosystem across Southeast Asia.

At every single investor meeting, literally every single LP meeting. I got the same question. What is the exit landscape look like in Southeast Asia? The issue was that most exits were relatively small to other markets. The largest exits were at like around $200 million dollars. If you compare that to India or China, that's just a very small number. Every single LP was concerned that it's an emerging market. There's lots of happening under early stage, but at some point when we need liquidity as LPs and then where would that come from? - Michael Lints

Here are the links and show notes for this episode:

Introduction: Michael Lints (LinkedIn, Medium - Adversus blog, @michaellints), Partner, Golden Gate Ventures

  • How did you start your career?
  • Eventually, what brought you to Southeast Asia?
  • In your career journey, what are the key lessons you would like to share with my audience?
  • As a partner from Golden Gate Ventures, what is your role and coverage?
  • How has the firm grown since I last spoke to Justin in early 2019?
  • Do you have an investment thesis?
  • How do you decide if you want to invest in a team with a product?
  • What are the red flags that deter you from investing in them?
  • What are the most notable investments and exits (if any) you have done in your years as a partner with Golden Gate Ventures?

Southeast Asia Exit Landscape (PDF, blog post) by Golden Gate Ventures and INSEAD

  • What is the motivation behind the report and the intended audience?
  • What are the methodologies used by the team to bring the report together?
  • What are the key takeaways from the report? (Please summarize the top 3-5 observations and I will dive deeper into them)
  • What are the key drivers for the current exit landscape?
  • What are the key predictions based on an earlier report you have done in 2016-2017 and what has changed?
  • As more startups reach the unicorn stage, do they become acquirers and what is the calculus for them to be potential exits for new startups? Can there be a situation where they can eliminate too much competition?
  • How about the corporate venture funds? What are their objectives and how do they affect the exit market?
  • Are we observing new later stage funds in Southeast Asia? Where is that coming from?
  • How are the LPs looking at Southeast Asia? Do they see it as a common market or do they understand the nuances?
  • Projecting three years from today, where do you see the exits are, for example, mergers and acquisitions, public listing or SPACs?
  • One key observation brought out in a recent report from The Ken is that SPACs seem to be the main exit strategy for key companies for example, Grab and potentially Go-To (Gojek and Tokopedia). What are your thoughts on SPAC as an exit strategy? What are the potential drawbacks?
  • What is the future for startups and the VC funds in this decade?


  • Can you recommend any book, movie, podcast or something else that inspire you recently?
  • Michael's recommendation: Jerry Colonna's "Reboot"
  • Where 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