Jungle Ventures, one of the biggest and most successful VCs in Southeast Asia, is an entrepreneur backed venture firm that funds and helps start-ups scale across Asia Pacific. Prior to starting Jungle, Amit has spent over 12 years in Asia Pacific working for start-ups and corporations across various roles in Product, Marketing and Sales & Business Development.
The Hub’s very own Germaine Inez – the brain and brawn behind our very own Hub Ventures Fund, and the Manager of our Investor-in-Residence programme (IIR) – asks the tough questions that matter to Amit Anand, Founder and Managing Partner of Singapore based Jungle Ventures.
- Have you ever advised a startup founder to quit?
- How much should entrepreneurs pay themselves when just starting off?
- What advice would you give to startups preparing for their next round of funding?
What is the key advice that Amit gives to entrepreneurs looking to break into their industry?
Believe and make sure that the business you are building will be a regional category leader – not just an individual player in a local market.
Jungle Ventures typically likes to be the first institutional investors in a company, and as such they invest in early stage startups that have just secured their angel investment round and are looking to scale. Typically they invest in companies in the tech, fintech, B2B commerce and SAAS industries. However they have in the past made seed investments when they find an extremely unique team, technology or business model.
The VC has a big focus on Singapore and Amit has found that Singapore is a hotbed of talent with a huge density of professionals that are tired of the corporate grind and are very motivated to take their learnings and turn themselves into successful entrepreneurs.
India is another big market for Jungle Ventures and Amit finds the Indian startup ecosystem to be at least 5 years ahead of what he is witnessing in Southeast Asia right now.
Then the tough questions came.
Has Amit ever advised a startup founder to quit?
He shared an important story and lesson. Yes he has advised a founder to throw in the towel, but not because his venture was a bad idea. It was because it was too ahead of its time and the market had not caught up to his vision just yet.
The lesson learned? Its not just about having a great product, but to carefully evaluate if your product is in sync with the times and the market.
What should a startup founder be paying himself?
5000 per month is a fair estimate for entrepreuers who have raised 1 – 3 million in funding, and between 8000 – 12,000 for those who have raised 5 – 10 million in funding. Of course this is subjective and depends on the commitments of the entrepreneur, but its important to keep startups light in order to have them maximize their financial potential.
What are the biggest funding challenges that startups face?
The problem with the ecosystem is that many angel investors are investing in startups that are not scalable. And as such, some of the biggest challenges that he’s seen for companies that have already been able to raise angel or seed round funding, is for them to get funding from VCs.
Entrepreneurs need to demonstrate to VCs that what they are building is a sizeable and scalable business. And they need to demonstrate a bottom up strategy of how they are going to get their first 100, then 10,000, then 100,000 customers.
When VCs fund a Series A company they are usually helping you to hire, improve company culture and fine tune the inner workings of the company. But at Series C funding, VCs are focused on product market fit, finding customers, and helping companies scale their business.
Advice to those preparing for next round of funding after their seed round?
Meet VCs and share your journey and well as get subjective feedback from people you respect and those around you who have experience and insight into the process.
Remember: Ventures that succeed are great companies that fill a need, not companies with just one good product feature.
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