Fresh out of the studio, Belinda Ong, Alap Bharadwaj and Tony Zameczkoski joined us to discuss the XA network and their role in angel investor landscape for Southeast Asia, and how the angel investing scene has evolved over the decade. We dived deep into why angels are crucial to the ecosystem and help startups to reach escape velocity before the entry of venture capital. Last but not least, they share the process in how XA network onboards their members and assist their startups upon making the decision to invest in the companies.
"From an evolution standpoint, I feel strongly about the fact that more participants, more diversity and more evolution is always a good thing. I am looking forward to like what comes next. Because if we are to be the most dynamic Internet ecosystem in the world, we need to now start to create opportunities for younger folks to participate in angel investing for certain communities that have historically been left out of angel investing and to bring them in as well. If we get there, I think we will be one of the healthiest ecosystems in the world." - Alap Bharadwaj
- Introduction of guests from XA Network: Belinda Ong (LinkedIn), Alap Bharadwaj (@alapjb , Linkedin), Tony Zameczkowski (LinkedIn)
- Let’s do a quick introduction of yourselves and what you are currently doing in your professional lives and within the XA network (Let me know if you need to get disclaimers out of the way.)
- Can you talk about your roles within the XA network?
XA Network & Angel Investor Landscape in Southeast Asia
- To baseline our audience, can you briefly provide a definition of what constitutes an angel investor and their impact within the startup ecosystem?
- How did you both decide to become angel investors?
- Let's start from a high level view: how has angel investing evolved in Southeast Asia or Asia Pacific like in the last decade?
- As angel investors, what are the indicators that you look for before investing into a startup?
- Reversing the question, what are the red flags that you look for as well?
- What is the mental model for valuation for angel investors when it comes to investing in early stage startups?
- With the current downturn, and given that YCombinator and Sequoia capital have sent out their memos to founders that there will be a liquidity crunch and investors holding back, what would be your memo for the Southeast Asia founders as well?
- What is the inspiration behind the XA Network?
- How does one get into the XA network? What are the criteria used to evaluate the members?
- Fast forward to today, what are the key achievements for the XA network?
- Can you talk about the investment theses within the XA network? What are the key verticals or segments that the XA network invests in?
- What is the process like for startups to engage the XA network and seek investment from the angels there?
- How does the XA network help the founders and their startups once the angels invest into them?
- What are the most interesting startups which are part of the XA network?
- What does the anti-portfolio look like for the XA network? What would you have done differently?
- What are your perspectives in the Southeast Asia ecosystem, specifically when it comes to geographical expansion and the different macroeconomic conditions across the key six countries?
- What are the key trends that you have observed in the Southeast Asia market that provide some indication of how it will evolve in the next few years?
- What does great look like for the XA network?
- Any recommendations which have inspired you recently?
- Tony's recommendations: "The Power Law" Sebastian Mallaby and 14 Peaks: Nothing is Impossible from Netflix
- Alap's recommendations: The Black Swan by Nassim Taleb paired with Daniel "Thinking, Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman and the new Disney+ show "Obiwan Kenobi".
- Belinda's recommendations: "Secrets of Sand Hill Road" by Scott Kupor and Super Founders by Ali Tamaseb, Love, Death + Robots Netflix
- How do my audience find you?
Disclosure: BL is currently a member of the XA network and have invested in Championfy and CoderSchool via the network.