Fresh out of the studio, Carmen Yuen, general partner from Vertex Ventures joined us to discuss the current state of venture capital in Southeast Asia & India after the difficult fundraising climate in the past year. Carmen began the story of her career, moving from the government sector to venture capital. She shares the evolution of Vertex Ventures from their investment thesis to the portfolio of startups and evaluates the startup class of 2023 vs 2021. Last but not least, Carmen describes exits as the leading indicators for startup success and elucidates what great would look like for Vertex Ventures.
"The whole of Southeast Asia has to come up as a group. Hence, my secret about what I know about the VC industry that people don't know. The secret is that you've got to be very sane when you come to investing, right? So, if you invest so high, we can't get exits. When we can't get exits, we can't return money to LPs, and then the investors will say, ‘Oh, Southeast Asia cannot find exits one.’ It cannot be, right? So to me, we must be able to show exits. That's the proof of the pudding.” - Carmen Yuen
- Carmen Yuen (Linkedin, Vertex Ventures Profile), General Partner, Vertex Ventures, Southeast Asia and India
- How did you start your career?
- How did you eventually end up in Vertex Ventures?
- From your career journey, what are the lessons learnt that you can share with my audience?
Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia & India and State of VC in 2024
- As I have Kee Lock on the show many years back, can you provide a comprehensive overview of Vertex Ventures, recent key milestones and their investment thesis on a strategic level?
- What are your perspectives on the Southeast Asia and Indian markets as you are actively investing in them?
- What are the verticals that you invest in within these regions?
- What is a typical day like for you as a venture capitalist?
- What are the traits in founders and startup teams that you index for when it comes to investing in them?
- If I reverse the question, what are the red flags which will deter you from investing in them?
- What are the interesting companies within your portfolio that you can provide colour in the Southeast Asia market?
- While India is a homogenous market, Southeast Asia is a diverse market with different economic development and digital maturity, how do you advise founders to expand across the markets or dive deep into one large market, for example, Indonesia?
- During the XA AGM, we chatted about the startup class of 2021 versus the startup class of 2023 in Southeast Asia, what are the differences that you observe and how well will they perform for Southeast Asia VC funds in the future?
- What are the headwinds and tailwinds in the outlook in 2024 given that most startups in the region feel that the worst is over in 2022 and 2023?
- What is the one thing you know about being a Southeast Asian VC that very few do?
- What would be your advice to startup founders across Southeast Asia in navigating the difficult fundraising climate?
- How do you convince LPs or investors out there on the Southeast Asia story?
- What does great look like for Vertex Ventures in the next few years?
- Any recommendations that have inspired you recently?
- Carmen's recommendations: Be part of a book club.
- How do my audience find you? Vertex Blog and Hard Truths podcast (Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube)
Podcast Information: Bernard Leong (@bernardleong, Linkedin) hosts and produces the show. Proper credits for the intro and end music: "Energetic Sports Drive" and the episode is mixed & edited in both video and audio format by G. Thomas Craig (@gthomascraig, LinkedIn).