2024 Regional Tech Forecast, 2023 Bear Market Reflections and Podcast Hosting Gratitude with Shiyan Koh - E371

· VC and Angels,Southeast Asia,Podcast,Podcast Episodes

“For customer selection and segments is of course, in the beginning, you're just trying to figure out who your segments are, right? So you have some mish-mash of customers, but if you don't deliberately try to understand if one is a good customer or bad customer and you don't fire your bad customers, you get confused. You continue adding customers, but you might be losing money on some of these customers. They might be giving you roadmap items that are not relevant to your good customers. You need to realize that sooner. Operational discipline is important and that's something that I was reflecting on. I think about how I could push people to do that faster so they won’t hang around the hoop with bad customer selection.” - Shiyan Koh

“It's about the timing of the investment. You invest because you're going to reap this benefit later. And for a while, when the fundraising was easy later, it just seemed really far away. You didn't have to show that you were getting operating leverage on a business. And now, as things have slowed down and later is now, you need to show results now. That's an interesting psychological trick that people play on themselves where eventually, businesses need to make money. When I looked at some businesses in our portfolio that went sideways, they weren't bad businesses, but they ran out of time. Even though they had transformed their businesses within 12 months, it wasn't enough. It made me ask the question, if they had done it 12 months earlier, could they have made it? For a company starting today, they have a more realistic picture of how much time they have to show that they can do it. No one's going to give me multiple rounds and pots of money to keep setting on fire.” - Shiyan Koh

“There are a number of times that I told people that we should look sooner at monetization. You get a mixed reception to that because the founder is getting a lot of really positive feedback in the market from their top-line growth or their fundraising. And then, you're like this other voice saying that maybe we should look at this thing. They might think that you don't believe in their vision or that that’s for later because they’ll do something else first. So, it really depends on how good your relationship is with that founder, but also the cacophony of other data that they're receiving from the market about whether they're on the right track or not, and in the boom time of fundraising, you feel super validated when people are throwing money at you.” - Shiyan Koh

Shiyan Koh, Managing Partner of Hustle Fund, and Jeremy Au talked about three main themes:

1. Podcast Hosting Gratitude: Jeremy and Shiyan reviewed their year-long journey of podcasting covering Southeast Asia tech. They reflected on the growth, challenges, and rich interactions they've had with their audience, and shared their appreciation for each other.

2. 2023 Startups & VC Bear Market: Jeremy and Shiyan recapped the challenges that regional startups, especially in later stages, faced in adapting to the bear funding landscape of 2023. Beyond founder mindset changes, they touched on the importance for VCs to conduct structural reflections on their investment decisions (both successes and failures) and the challenges due to the different incentives and lifecycles for junior and senior investors.

3. 2024 Southeast Asia Tech Predictions: Jeremy and Shiyan shared their predictions for 2024 such as the continued bear market challenges for later-stage companies that need to thus grow more to justify their bull-market valuations and/or conduct significant cuts. They view the press to be a lagging signal of these impending decisions. They also predicted deeper press and LP scrutiny on regional VC's individual investments (business models, operational efficiency and bottom-line sustainability). They also raised the upcoming political inflection points (and thus confluence) for the 2024 elections of Taiwan, USA, Indonesia and India.

They also talked about the significance of understanding unit economics for startups, the understated role of customer selection in business success, and the importance of understanding the multi-factorial causes of failure in the VC process.

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(01:17) Jeremy Au:

Hey Shiyan, Happy New Year. What a start to 2024.

(01:20) Shiyan Koh:

Happy New Year. Our roles are reversed. You're calling in from the US this time. I'm sitting in Singapore.

(01:25) Jeremy Au:

Yeah, it's been amazing to have this one-month break with the two kids, my wife and I, exploring the snow, letting them play and build snowman and hopefully get ski class in for them. So it will be interesting to see the experience. How about you? How's your break?

(01:39) Shiyan Koh:

It's pretty good. We did some skiing with the kids in Oregon. Early season conditions. I think they're really taking to it. The feedback from my son was he knows how to turn. He just chooses not to. So he just bombed straight down the hill.

(01:55) Jeremy Au:

Sorry. That sounds like every like executive committee strategy meeting. Like we do know how to turn and change direction. We just don't want to.

(02:03) Shiyan Koh:

So I thought that was pretty funny, and then they bring the kids to a steeper slope to force them to turn, basically, because they get scared to bomb down when it's too steep, so, there's probably some life analogy there somewhere.

(02:17) Jeremy Au:

We're just like, you're going to face bigger and harder trials. And then you have to learn how to do product market fit iteration and pivot.

(02:25) Shiyan Koh:

There's twists and turns to life, right? Not everything is a straight line.

(02:28) Jeremy Au:

Yeah. So speaking about not everything is a straight line, I think we wanted to cover what our reflections were for 2023 and a little bit of looking ahead to some of the current news, but also what we think about 2024 in the coming year. Because lots of people ask us, Oh, what's going to happen this year? So I figured it might be fun just to, chill and chat. So how do you feel about 2023?

(02:48) Shiyan Koh:

First of all, I think I'm shocked that we've done a whole year of podcasting. It feels like not that long ago that you pinged me to say, Hey, want to do this news show thing with me? And I was like, yeah, let's give it a shot, see what happens. And then I actually, at the end of the year, I had some downtime. And I went back and looked at all the stuff we did together. And we actually recorded 39 episodes together, which I think is pretty amazing, on a 52-week year with holidays and everything, right? That's a pretty full-time recording schedule, and I know you did hundreds, so this is just a drop in the bucket for you. I thought it was a good exercise to get over my fears of public broadcasting and to have a regular cadence. And I think I was actually pretty surprised by some of the feedback, like, the topics that people are interested in, what they enjoy, the range of people who listen to us, I think I was also pretty surprised by. And so that's been like both gratifying and terrifying, but yeah, I don't know. This is sort of live on the air, we haven't rehearsed any of this. So like, Jeremy, how did it go for you? What grade do you give us, to be ultra Singaporean?

(03:50) Jeremy Au:

It's like, look back at the past year, it's not sufficient unless we grade ourselves. I would say that if we were to give ourselves a grade, I think the grade that we had would be certified fresh, I guess, using the Rotten Tomatoes grading. What I learned recently was that, the Rotten Tomatoes, the scoring isn't like how good a quality of it is. So it's like, you say 70%, it doesn't mean that the quality is 70%. What it means is that there's a 70% chance that you enjoy the show. And I thought that was a nice way of saying it, which is the same way of how we say there's an 80% chance of rain doesn't mean there's like that intensity of the rain, right?

And so I think I've always think about it in a sense that I've always enjoyed our conversations. And so if I'm enjoying the conversation and we're both talking about the fact that we're both like domain experts in Southeast Asia about tech and venture capital and leadership and I think news of the day, then, if it works for us, then hopefully it works for a good group of folks. And I think it was quite interesting to also do that reflection review. And my reflection was that I'm really glad that the experiment worked out that people do enjoy our random conversations, our banter, and also our point of views. And also I'm really thankful for you for being like the first person to ever jump on and say like, Hey, you know what? I'm game to try this co-hosting gig. And so it's been fun to have that ride with you over the past year.

(05:04) Shiyan Koh:

Oh, are we having a moment Jeremy? I feel so touched.

(05:08) Jeremy Au:

Yeah. Well, why not? You can have a moment. On that note, we wanted to talk about the big things that also happened in 2023. I think that there was a lot of shaking out, of the overall portfolios for VCs, right? So it's kind of like assembling, redoing the budget, pivoting, so so forth. Now, on the founders' side, I think a lot of readjustment to the actual funding environment that kind of kicked in hard in 2022, so I think that was the big news and I think there's some big M&A news and so forth. I'm just curious when you look ahead for the next year, what you think is coming around the corner.

(05:40) Shiyan Koh:

I think the reality check continues to come in hard and fast, right? So, for the later stage companies, if they survive 2023, I think it's more of the same. It's either you need to really grow into your evaluation to raise an up round, or you need to do significant cuts to. But I don't know, it's an interesting thing, right? I think about this a lot. I did a bunch of postmortems over break as well, writing up learnings from different portfolio companies and the premise of venture capital, is that, you do a bunch of upfront investment because on the back end, you have a bunch of high marginal revenue, low marginal cost sales, whether that's SaaS or in the old days, semiconductor chips or whatever it is.

(06:20) Shiyan Koh:

It's just the timing of the investment, right? You invest because you're going to reap this benefit later. And for a while, when the fundraising was easy later, just seemed really far away, like you didn't have to show that you were actually getting operating leverage on a business. And now as things have slowed down, later is now, you need to show results now. And I feel like that's an interesting sort of psychological trick that people play on themselves where it's like, yeah, eventually that businesses need to make money. And so then it's like, well, how long did you think you had to prove that thing? And why did you think that you had longer or shorter? What is right? And when I looked at some businesses in our portfolio that went sideways, they weren't bad businesses, but they ran out of time, even though they had transformed their businesses within 12 months, it wasn't enough. And it made me ask the question, if they had done it 12 months earlier, could they have made it? And these are businesses that have raised 10, 20 million dollars. So all those things continue to be true in 2024. And I think for a company starting today, they have a much more realistic picture of how much time do I have to show that I can do that. No one's going to give me multiple rounds and pots of money to keep setting on fire.

(07:23) Jeremy Au:

Yeah. I've also received several shutdown notices over the past three months. I think it was the end of the year. People want to wrap things up. And I also got the opportunity to catch some conversations with them to hear about this. I think my interest on this is in two levels. One of course is, the strategic side like, could put a market fit. What are lessons? And then I guess a spin off that is, is there something I could have done differently as investor or advice? Or is it something I could have seen earlier in terms of tradecraft? So these are kind of like dynamic there.

And of course, the other side is maybe more from a coaching perspective, because I run the Phoenix founders event where we have offsite for founders in transition, so I'm more like coaching them and helping them navigate to the next chapter of professional careers. And I think it's been interesting because on the strategy side, it feels a little bit more straightforward set of lessons because, it's like we could have been more lean. We could have operated faster. We got, pivoted more money. So I think it feels like that stuff feels relatively clearer in terms of knowledge. I think there's a big of a black box to me personally, in terms of investor tradecraft which is like, the set of assumptions around verticals, geographies, founder attributes, and so forth, and even what the right role for the VC is with them, right? And so I think this box of it is actually still in disequilibrium is, it's still not settled. I don't even know how to get to that finish line. So I still haven't finished processing that chunk of it. And I think the last thing is,

(08:40) Shiyan Koh:

As in, you shouldn't have done the deal to begin with?

(08:43) Jeremy Au:

I think so. I think the other aspect of it is, like you said, is when could I have stepped in or is this something I could have done more of, or less of, and so I think that's the interesting dynamic.

(08:51) Shiyan Koh:

I reflect on that second question a lot because, I think that, there are a number of times that I said to people, Hey We should look sooner at monetization or we should focus more. And I think you kind of get a mixed reception to that because the founder is getting a lot of really positive feedback in the market from their top line growth or their fundraising. And then you're like this other voice. It's like, Hey, maybe we should look at this thing. And they're kind of like, uh, you don't believe in my vision or like this is for later, you know, like I'm going to do this thing first. So it really depends on how good your relationship is with that founder. And, but also like the cacophony of other data that they're receiving from the market about whether they're on the right track or not. And I think in the boom time of fundraising, you feel super validated when people are throwing money at you.

(09:39) Jeremy Au:

Yeah.

(09:39) Shiyan Koh:

So that's like a hard, I don't know. I asked myself that question a lot, right? Which is like, what could I have done differently?

(09:44) Jeremy Au:

And I think the interesting part about, I think for a lot of VCs that I talk to in a market is that, you're not necessarily rewarded for doing this structural reflection. And what I mean by that, of course, is that as a GP, you're obviously rewarded for the right deals. Whether you had false positives or false negatives and being thoughtful about both of them. I think for a lot of folks who are kind of like middle or junior, a lot of the incentives is really about getting more deals through because it compensated on the deal by deal carry perspective or they want to build out that investment track record. And so there's an interesting dynamic where that structural reflection is not necessarily happening at a peer to peer level, or even on a team level. So I think that would be my personal challenge to myself, but I think that would be a personal challenge to a lot of folks in the ecosystem to be like, how do you have that awkward, but really frank conversation to be like, okay, let's do a debrief, an after action review.

Every failure has multiple points of failure, right? All the way from A to B to C to D. How do we understand there's a multi factorial cost to it? And how or where could we have stepped in? I think that process of debrief is really important. And I'm only just starting on that process. So that's how I think about it.

(10:46) Shiyan Koh:

I think that's right. But I guess if you bucket the failure drivers, I think there's like, did we pick the wrong person? Would we have known that or not? Did we pick the wrong market? So you learned more about the market as a thing went on. You're like, Oh, actually this is a crappy market. Or like basically there was a strategic decision along the path of the company that we kind of went down the wrong way and then we closed off a bunch of options to ourselves, so I think people generally don't want to say they pick the wrong person or market.

(11:15) Jeremy Au:

Yeah.

(11:15) Shiyan Koh:

But I think it's a useful reflection. There are some markets that are just really tough. And I guess I think of it as how many degrees of freedom do you have? How many things can you get wrong? And there's some markets where the margin is so thin that it's hard to be wrong repeatedly. There's no margin of error, basically. And so then it's like the execution has to be perfect. The team has to be perfect. And it's, perfection is hard and probably impossible, but the people thing is really hard because sometimes it's like, Oh yeah, this person was really great. Zero to one. But then, they didn't scale and in a founder friendly market, they don't get replaced. And so then you end up in this morass.

(11:51) Jeremy Au:

Yeah. So let's look at what else we think is going to happen, predictions for 2024. I'll start off first. I would say that the big two pivot points would be for the Taiwan election that's coming up very soon in Q1 for 2024, and the second would be the US elections in November of this year. I think both of these are really important decisions that we made by the respective populations, but because, both of them really impact the US-China relations, and I think the decisions around globalizations, trade rules, tech sectors, trade barriers and flows, especially for Southeast Asia, which is at the crossroads of that trade between East and West. So I think that would be the things that I'll be watching very carefully for 2024. How about you, Shiyan?

(12:33) Shiyan Koh:

Yeah, I think those are big macro events. I think the other thing that I'm watching and maybe not as sort of a global event is, I'm curious to see how fundraisers work for funds. So I think there are a bunch of funds coming up on their Fund III. And the Fund IIs were largely raised off of paper markups in Fund I. And I think a lot more LPs are impatient for DPI. And so I'm kind of curious to see how those Fund IIIs go.

(12:57) Jeremy Au:

Yeah. On that note, I want to say congratulations to Asia Partners for raising and closing the final close at $474 So closing a Fund II in this market, and I can't imagine what it was like to fund raise over the course of the past 12 months. To get there must have been torturous, I mean, with all the market changes and conditions, but I think this is a very much needed dimension. I think Nick Nash who was a previous guest on the Brave Podcast, so you can find the episode earlier. It's a big part of the story. There is a need for more growth stage capital, especially for Series A, Series B, Series C in Southeast Asia, because of the retreat of the US funds, growth funds, were operating more aggressively in Southeast Asia in 2020 and 2021.

(13:36) Shiyan Koh:

Yeah, I mean, I think there's a need for more growth stage companies, like we need to get more companies to that stage. They got to do 20, 30 million of revenue. We can't only operate in the realm of the sub $5 million company.

(13:48) Jeremy Au:

Chicken and egg problem in many ways, right? Because from the founder's perspective, it's like, we don't have enough growth stage capital to get there. And then vice versa VCs are like, hey, there aren't enough growth stage companies.

(13:55) Shiyan Koh:

No, but I think that goes back to the capital efficiency question, what is your dollars raised relative to gross profit generated over the lifetime of this business? Like what's the ratio? Like if you raise 10 million bucks and you've only ever generated a million dollars in gross profit, like that doesn't seem very capital efficient. Then it's more than the ones like, well, there's something wrong with your business. Not, I need more money.

(14:17) Jeremy Au:

Well, you could make the argument from the founder's perspective, and I've met a few of them, is that their board has been pushing them to grow faster because they thought that there was going to be this growth stage capital available. And so it's like, You know, being asked to run and then suddenly you find out there's a brick wall or a giant hole, I guess.

(14:32) Shiyan Koh:

Sure, but I mean, at the end of the day, did you start a company to make moneyor you started a company to raise money?

(14:36) Jeremy Au:

Well, hopefully, if you're listening to this podcast, now they know

(14:39) Shiyan Koh: no, I mean, obviously you started coming to make money. Right. And so it's like, well, when do you make money and how, what's your theory on how you make money and how you make money consistently and durably. I think that matters. And so I just, I'm old fashioned, right?

(14:52) Jeremy Au:

I think the biggest takeaway, personally, I spend a lot of time working with founders, is really working on the unit economics slide, because one way of thinking about it is like, how do you frame it up for fundraising, but it's actually a distillation of how you think, how you make money. And what experiments you need to get there. And I sat down with one company, I remember about a year ago, and I was just like, hey, this is totally uninvestable from my perspective, but you may be able to get investor money, but you have to focus on the monetization piece, because there's so many assumptions that we have here, but we can't just grow usage with the hope that we can lay on a monetization product and so forth. And I wish to say that was the only person I talked like that about. But there were hundreds of companies that basically had that layered set of assumptions and milestones that was tricky for people to understand and for the market to believe.

(15:33) Shiyan Koh:

Yeah. I mean, unit economics is super important and of course, when you start out, the unit economics don't look great, right? Like when you start, you're still figuring a bunch of stuff out, but one of my favorite founders, it's more that he has a consistent plan to improve margins. He's focused on it. He said like, look, this is the current state of my business. Here's where I think I can improve it to, on a margin perspective. And he has margin improvement initiatives that are separate from his revenue growth initiatives. So he's like, I am trying to move a lever, and I am focused on it. And he has a slide, and then he delivers, and then the next quarter we meet, and he's like, Okay, look, I did these things, and I still think there's room to improve margin. And we're going to go do these things. And it's so important and not enough people do it, right? Not enough people actually pay attention to margins. And they just like, Hey, I grew this thing, or I added some customers. You're like, okay, good. How profitable are those customers? What's the retention look like? Are they good customers or bad customers? And I think that's another place where people get tripped up.

(16:28) Shiyan Koh:

When we've talked about this before, like customer selection and segments is of course, in the beginning, you're just trying to figure out who your segments are, right? So you like, have some mishmash of customers, but if you don't deliberately try to understand this is a good customer, this is a bad customer, and you don't fire your bad customers, you get confused. You're like, well, I'm adding customers. But you might actually be losing money on some of these customers. They might be giving you roadmap items that are not relevant to your good customers. Like there's so many ways that that ends up being like a terrible thing and you need to realize that sooner. There's that sort of operational discipline, is important and that's something that I was reflecting on I was like, could I push people to do that faster and not them hang around the hoop with bad customer selection.

(17:09) Jeremy Au:

Yeah. So big fan of Dershing who kind of wrote on his blog about what he's looking at for his outlook in 2024. So definitely check it out. We'll link it out here. The big thing that his perspective is that the recent SPACs And IPOs from 2020 to now, which include, Bukalapak, Grab, Money Hero, Prenetics, Life 17. His point of view is that last round of private valuations are almost 50 to 80 percent their current public valuation, So in other words, there's big gap between, private valuations versus the public markets. And so his perspective is that, a lot of late stage companies are now caught in this dynamic and he thinks that there's going to be more bad news, and there's going to be more corrections, of late stage companies, definition of late stage is obviously a bit fuzzy here, but I just believe that there's going to be more news coming out this year.

Personally, I think I'm aware of about three companies that were very hot last year and, are definitely struggling currently. And so, it's kind of like, no one in the private news side that you know either, it's gonna be a massive down round or it's gonna kind of liquidate. So I think that's the fact is, I think, publicly, I think we'll see more of these bad news, I would think in the coming year.

(18:12) Shiyan Koh:

Oh yeah. I mean, I think on the sort of bad news. Yeah. Lazada layoffs is a good one. I think that just happened. So, people are doing corrections and then I was going to highlight the Carta news over the weekend. So I think that was more like bad PR. If you guys know Carta, probably a lot of you are customers, they do cap table management software as well as fund administration and they had been launching a nascent secondaries market product as well, which makes sense, right? You'll, you know what everyone's holdings are. And so, you're well positioned to basically provide a marketplace, but I think over the weekend some CEO tweeted that one of his investors had gotten cold outreach from Carta saying like, Hey, do you want to sell your shares? Which I think is an absolute no, no from a like, hey, are you using my private information to go solicit on behalf of your new product?

And then, the official explanation at first was like, this was a rogue employee, like overzealous rogue employee who went and did these cold outreaches but the conclusion was that Carta then decided to shut down their their secondary market product, which in the context of their other revenue lines was tiny. I think it was a $3 million product versus $200 million for capital management and a hundred million revenue for a fund admin. And so it kind of wasn't really worth the blowback that they were getting, but at the same time, I think it could have been handled better. So if you had sort of said to the companies, hey, we have this new product, it could be useful to you guys. Do you want us to let you know when people are putting offers up and you can engage, then, I think people would react very differently from like, why are my private investors getting cold outreach from this company that I use for some completely different purpose. So, interesting sort of like crisis PR case study.

(19:43) Jeremy Au:

You know, I think in terms of reaction, I think they move relatively quickly from my perspective. And I think it was like less than 24 hours from me seeing it to seeing kind of like, the decision to exit the business. So, you know, I think that it was as handled as well as it could be. I think taking a step back, it's been no secret that Carta had for many years and planning to build out that sequential march from cap table management to find administration to you know, the secondaries marketplace because they were public about that in their press releases, funding announcements and their vision. So, I think that it's an interesting dynamic, of course, because cap table is the largest slice of the business, but one of the lowest margins, because there's so many competitors for CapTable management. Fine Admin is growing, growing pains, because, honestly, fine administration, there's less competitors, obviously, but it's a very complicated business.

(20:28) Shiyan Koh:

It's so much work.

(20:29) Jeremy Au:

So much work. And then actually secondaries marketplace was a smaller slice. That's what the CEO said, but was left and said was that it was the highest margin by far, right? Because all you're just doing is you're connecting two sides and then you collect a cut from both sides of the transaction. I think that was the big dream, frankly, if you look at their strategic roadmap, right? Obviously I think there's going to be other ways that they explore, but I really like what the CEO kind of wrote. And he said like, Hey, you know, decision was that at the end of the day, we had to represent customers, and we're representing this case, the back office, cap table management for startups, managing the back office for funds. And we can't monetize top of it because, you break the trust in the fundamental earlier products that they have.

And that reminds me a lot actually of a very common issue that I often see in many startups because they often say something like, okay, We're gonna build this product now and then we're going to use this user base to monetize their data and sell this to somebody else. And you see this all the time. And I think you see this a lot, for example, in AI companies.

I've met several AI companies over the past, six months and very much conversation okay, we want to, you know, we want to, for example. So service X profession right? Whatever profession is that customer service or so forth. And over time we want to use that data. We're gonna train up a model and then we're gonna use it to create a super version of it that disrupts the profession that we're training them on. it's not wrong from a technical layer perspective because you want that data to train on the model that as you create a super agent, but then the business model breaks out, breaks down because the best people in the profession would know that you're marching towards this. it's not an uncommon problem or strategic incoherence, I would say, between being a product for a persona versus monetizing the data and trying to create a layer of a marketplace or sell that data outside of that core customer..

(22:05) Shiyan Koh:

Totally. Anyway, exciting start to 2024.

 

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“Kalau kita sudah membicarakan hal ini sebelumnya, seperti pemilihan pelanggan dan segmen tentunya pada awalnya Anda hanya mencoba mencari tahu siapa segmen Anda, bukan? Jadi, Anda suka memiliki beberapa pelanggan yang campur aduk, tetapi jika Anda tidak dengan sengaja mencoba memahami apakah pelanggan tersebut adalah pelanggan yang baik atau pelanggan yang buruk dan Anda tidak memecat pelanggan buruk Anda, Anda akan menjadi bingung. Anda terus menambahkan pelanggan, namun Anda mungkin kehilangan uang dari beberapa pelanggan ini. Mereka mungkin memberi Anda item peta jalan yang tidak relevan dengan pelanggan baik Anda. Anda perlu menyadarinya lebih awal. Disiplin operasional itu penting dan itu adalah sesuatu yang saya renungkan. Saya memikirkan bagaimana saya dapat mendorong orang untuk melakukan hal tersebut lebih cepat sehingga mereka tidak terjebak dalam pemilihan pelanggan yang buruk.” - Shiyan Koh

“Ini tentang waktu investasinya. Anda berinvestasi karena Anda akan memperoleh keuntungan ini nantinya. Dan untuk sementara, ketika penggalangan dana kemudian mudah dilakukan, rasanya sangat jauh. Anda tidak harus menunjukkan bahwa Anda mendapatkan pengaruh operasional pada suatu bisnis. Dan sekarang, ketika segala sesuatunya melambat dan menjadi lambat, Anda perlu menunjukkan hasilnya. Itu adalah trik psikologis menarik yang dimainkan orang-orang pada diri mereka sendiri, yang pada akhirnya bisnis perlu menghasilkan uang. Ketika saya melihat beberapa bisnis dalam portofolio kami yang bergerak sideways, itu bukanlah bisnis yang buruk, namun mereka kehabisan waktu. Meskipun mereka telah mengubah bisnisnya dalam waktu 12 bulan, hal itu belum cukup. Hal ini membuat saya bertanya-tanya, jika mereka melakukannya 12 bulan sebelumnya, dapatkah mereka berhasil? Untuk sebuah perusahaan mulai saat ini, mereka memiliki gambaran yang lebih realistis tentang berapa banyak waktu yang mereka miliki untuk menunjukkan bahwa mereka mampu melakukannya. Tidak ada yang akan memberi saya banyak uang untuk terus membakarnya.” - Shiyan Koh

“Saya ingin mengucapkan selamat kepada Asia Partners yang telah mengumpulkan dan menutup dana sebesar $474 juta. Saya tidak bisa membayangkan bagaimana rasanya menggalang dana selama 12 bulan terakhir. Untuk mencapainya pasti menyiksa dengan segala perubahan dan kondisi pasar, namun menurut saya ini adalah dimensi yang sangat dibutuhkan. Itu adalah bagian besar dari cerita ini. Diperlukan lebih banyak modal tahap pertumbuhan, terutama untuk Seri A, Seri B, Seri C di Asia Tenggara, karena mundurnya dana AS, dana pertumbuhan beroperasi lebih agresif di Asia Tenggara pada tahun 2020 dan 2021.” - Jeremy Au

Shiyan Koh, Managing Partner Hustle Fund, dan Jeremy Au berbicara tentang tiga tema utama:

1. Podcast Hosting Syukur: Jeremy dan Shiyan mengulas perjalanan podcasting mereka selama setahun yang meliput teknologi Asia Tenggara. Mereka merefleksikan pertumbuhan, tantangan, dan interaksi kaya yang mereka alami dengan pemirsa, dan berbagi apresiasi satu sama lain.

2. Startups & VC Bear Market 2023: Jeremy dan Shiyan menceritakan kembali tantangan-tantangan yang dihadapi startup regional, terutama pada tahap-tahap selanjutnya, dalam beradaptasi dengan lanskap pendanaan yang beruang pada tahun 2023. Selain perubahan pola pikir para pendiri, mereka menyinggung pentingnya VC untuk melakukan struktural refleksi atas keputusan investasi mereka (baik keberhasilan maupun kegagalan) dan tantangan akibat perbedaan insentif dan siklus hidup bagi investor junior dan senior.

3. Prediksi Teknologi Asia Tenggara 2024: Jeremy dan Shiyan berbagi prediksi mereka untuk tahun 2024 seperti tantangan pasar bearish yang terus berlanjut bagi perusahaan-perusahaan tahap selanjutnya yang perlu tumbuh lebih besar untuk membenarkan penilaian pasar bullish mereka dan/atau melakukan pemotongan yang signifikan. Mereka memandang pers sebagai sinyal yang tertinggal terhadap keputusan-keputusan yang akan datang. Mereka juga memperkirakan adanya pengawasan yang lebih mendalam dari pers dan LP terhadap investasi individu VC regional (model bisnis, efisiensi operasional, dan keberlanjutan laba). Mereka juga mengangkat titik perubahan politik yang akan datang (dan pertemuannya) pada pemilu 2024 di Taiwan, AS, india, dan India.

Mereka juga berbicara tentang pentingnya pemahaman unit ekonomi bagi startup, peran seleksi pelanggan dalam kesuksesan bisnis, dan pentingnya memahami penyebab kegagalan multifaktorial dalam proses VC.

(01:17) Jeremy Au:

Hai Shiyan, Selamat Tahun Baru. Awal yang luar biasa untuk tahun 2024.

(01:20) Shiyan Koh:

Selamat tahun baru. Peran kita terbalik. Anda menelepon dari AS kali ini. Saya sedang duduk di Singapura.

(01:25) Jeremy Au:

Ya, sungguh luar biasa bisa menikmati istirahat satu bulan bersama kedua anak, saya dan istri, menjelajahi salju, membiarkan mereka bermain dan membuat manusia salju, dan mudah-mudahan mendapatkan kelas ski untuk mereka. Jadi akan menarik untuk melihat pengalamannya. Bagaimana denganmu? Bagaimana istirahatmu?

(01:39) Shiyan Koh:

Itu cukup bagus. Kami bermain ski dengan anak-anak di Oregon. Kondisi awal musim. Saya pikir mereka benar-benar melakukannya. Umpan balik dari anak saya adalah dia tahu cara berbelok. Dia hanya memilih untuk tidak melakukannya. Jadi dia langsung mengebom langsung ke bawah bukit.

(01:55) Jeremy Au:

Maaf. Kedengarannya seperti rapat strategi komite eksekutif. Seolah-olah kita tahu cara berbelok dan mengubah arah. Kami hanya tidak mau.

(02:03) Shiyan Koh:

Jadi menurut saya itu cukup lucu, lalu mereka membawa anak-anak ke lereng yang lebih curam untuk memaksa mereka berbelok, pada dasarnya, karena mereka takut untuk menjatuhkan bom ketika lerengnya terlalu curam, jadi, mungkin ada analogi kehidupan di sana.

(02:17) Jeremy Au:

Kami seperti, Anda akan menghadapi cobaan yang lebih besar dan lebih sulit. Dan kemudian Anda harus belajar bagaimana melakukan iterasi dan pivot yang sesuai dengan pasar produk.

(02:25) Shiyan Koh:

Ada liku-liku dalam hidup, bukan? Tidak semuanya merupakan garis lurus.

(02:28) Jeremy Au:

Ya. Jadi berbicara tentang tidak semuanya berjalan lurus, saya pikir kami ingin meliput apa yang kami refleksikan untuk tahun 2023 dan sedikit menantikan beberapa berita terkini, tetapi juga apa yang kami pikirkan tentang tahun 2024 di tahun mendatang. Karena banyak orang bertanya kepada kami, Oh, apa yang akan terjadi tahun ini? Jadi menurutku mungkin menyenangkan hanya untuk bersantai dan ngobrol. Jadi bagaimana perasaan Anda tentang tahun 2023?

(02:48) Shiyan Koh:

Pertama-tama, saya rasa saya terkejut karena kami telah melakukan podcasting selama setahun penuh. Rasanya belum lama ini Anda mengirimi saya pesan, Hei, mau melakukan acara berita ini dengan saya? Dan saya berpikir, ya, ayo kita coba, lihat apa yang terjadi. Dan sebenarnya, di akhir tahun, saya mengalami waktu senggang. Dan saya kembali dan melihat semua hal yang kami lakukan bersama. Dan kami sebenarnya merekam 39 episode bersama, yang menurut saya sangat luar biasa, dalam setahun 52 minggu dengan hari libur dan segalanya, bukan? Itu adalah jadwal rekaman yang cukup penuh waktu, dan saya tahu Anda telah melakukannya ratusan kali, jadi ini hanya setetes air untuk Anda. Saya pikir ini adalah latihan yang baik untuk mengatasi ketakutan saya terhadap penyiaran publik dan memiliki irama yang teratur. Dan menurut saya, saya sebenarnya cukup terkejut dengan beberapa masukan yang diberikan, seperti topik yang diminati orang, apa yang mereka sukai, jumlah orang yang mendengarkan kami, saya rasa saya juga cukup terkejut. Jadi itu terasa menyenangkan sekaligus menakutkan, tapi ya, saya tidak tahu. Ini semacam siaran langsung, kami belum berlatih apa pun. Jadi, Jeremy, bagaimana hasilnya bagimu? Berapa nilai yang Anda berikan kepada kami untuk menjadi ultra Singapura?

(03:50) Jeremy Au:

Ibaratnya, melihat ke belakang pada tahun lalu, tidaklah cukup jika kita tidak menilai diri kita sendiri. Menurut saya, jika kita memberi nilai pada diri kita sendiri, menurut saya nilai yang kita miliki akan disertifikasi baru, menurut saya, menggunakan penilaian Rotten Tomatoes. Apa yang saya pelajari baru-baru ini adalah, di Rotten Tomatoes, skornya tidak seberapa bagus kualitasnya. Jadi ibaratnya bilang 70%, bukan berarti kualitasnya 70%. Artinya, ada kemungkinan 70% Anda menikmati pertunjukannya. Dan menurut saya itu adalah cara yang bagus untuk mengatakannya, yaitu dengan cara yang sama kita mengatakan bahwa ada 80% kemungkinan hujan, bukan berarti intensitas hujannya sebesar itu, bukan?

Jadi saya rasa saya selalu memikirkannya dalam arti bahwa saya selalu menikmati percakapan kami. Jadi jika saya menikmati percakapan ini dan kami berdua membicarakan fakta bahwa kami sama-sama ahli domain di Asia Tenggara dalam bidang teknologi, modal ventura, dan kepemimpinan, dan menurut saya berita hari ini, maka, jika hal tersebut berhasil untuk kami, semoga ini berhasil untuk sekelompok orang yang baik. Dan menurut saya cukup menarik juga melakukan tinjauan refleksi tersebut. Dan refleksi saya adalah bahwa saya sangat senang bahwa eksperimen ini berhasil dan orang-orang menikmati percakapan acak kami, olok-olok kami, dan juga sudut pandang kami. Dan saya juga sangat berterima kasih kepada Anda karena menjadi orang pertama yang melompat dan berkata, Hei, tahukah Anda? Saya ingin mencoba pertunjukan co-hosting ini. Jadi sungguh menyenangkan bisa melakukan perjalanan bersama Anda selama setahun terakhir.

(05:04) Shiyan Koh:

Oh, apakah kita sedang bersenang-senang, Jeremy? Saya merasa sangat tersentuh.

(05:08) Jeremy Au:

Ya. Mengapa tidak? Anda dapat memiliki waktu sebentar. Oleh karena itu, kami ingin membicarakan hal-hal besar yang juga terjadi pada tahun 2023. Menurut saya, ada banyak guncangan yang terjadi pada keseluruhan portofolio VC, bukan? Jadi seperti merakit, mengulang anggaran, melakukan pivot, dan lain sebagainya. Sekarang, di pihak para pendiri, saya pikir ada banyak penyesuaian terhadap lingkungan pendanaan aktual yang mulai terjadi pada tahun 2022, jadi saya pikir itu adalah berita besar dan saya pikir ada beberapa berita M&A yang besar dan seterusnya. Saya hanya ingin tahu ketika Anda melihat ke depan untuk tahun depan, apa yang menurut Anda akan segera terjadi.

(05:40) Shiyan Koh:

Saya pikir pemeriksaan realitas terus berjalan dengan cepat dan cepat, bukan? Jadi, untuk perusahaan tahap selanjutnya, kalau bisa bertahan di tahun 2023, menurut saya kurang lebih sama saja. Entah Anda harus benar-benar mengembangkan evaluasi Anda untuk meningkatkannya, atau Anda perlu melakukan pemotongan yang signifikan. Tapi entahlah, itu hal yang menarik bukan? Saya banyak memikirkan hal ini. Saya juga melakukan banyak pemeriksaan postmortem selama istirahat, menulis pembelajaran dari berbagai perusahaan portofolio dan premis modal ventura adalah, Anda melakukan banyak investasi di muka karena di bagian belakang, Anda memiliki banyak pendapatan marjinal yang tinggi, penjualan dengan biaya marjinal rendah, baik itu SaaS atau di masa lalu, chip semikonduktor atau apa pun itu.

(06:20) Shiyan Koh:

Itu hanya waktu investasinya, bukan? Anda berinvestasi karena Anda akan memperoleh keuntungan ini nantinya. Dan untuk sementara, ketika penggalangan dana nantinya bisa dilakukan dengan mudah, sepertinya Anda tidak perlu menunjukkan bahwa Anda benar-benar mendapatkan leverage operasi pada sebuah bisnis. Dan sekarang ketika segala sesuatunya melambat, sekaranglah saatnya, Anda perlu menunjukkan hasilnya sekarang. Dan menurut saya itu adalah semacam trik psikologis menarik yang dimainkan orang-orang pada diri mereka sendiri ketika, ya, pada akhirnya bisnis perlu menghasilkan uang. Lalu, berapa lama Anda berpikir Anda harus membuktikan hal itu? Dan mengapa menurut Anda waktu Anda lebih panjang atau lebih pendek? Apa yang benar? Dan ketika saya melihat beberapa bisnis dalam portofolio kami yang bergerak sideways, itu bukanlah bisnis yang buruk, tetapi mereka kehabisan waktu, meskipun mereka telah melakukan transformasi bisnis dalam waktu 12 bulan, itu tidaklah cukup. Dan hal itu membuat saya bertanya-tanya, jika mereka melakukannya 12 bulan sebelumnya, dapatkah mereka berhasil? Dan ini adalah bisnis yang telah mengumpulkan 10, 20 juta dolar. Jadi, semua hal tersebut akan tetap berlaku pada tahun 2024. Dan menurut saya, untuk sebuah perusahaan yang mulai beroperasi saat ini, mereka memiliki gambaran yang jauh lebih realistis tentang berapa banyak waktu yang saya miliki untuk menunjukkan bahwa saya bisa melakukan hal tersebut. Tidak ada yang akan memberi saya banyak uang untuk terus menyala.

(07:23) Jeremy Au:

Yeah. I've also received several shutdown notices over the past three months. I think it was the end of the year. People want to wrap things up. And I also got the opportunity to catch some conversations with them to hear about this. I think my interest on this is in two levels. One of course is, the strategic side like, could put a market fit. What are lessons? And then I guess a spin off that is, is there something I could have done differently as investor or advice? Or is it something I could have seen earlier in terms of tradecraft? So these are kind of like dynamic there.

And of course, the other side is maybe more from a coaching perspective, because I run the Phoenix founders event where we have offsite for founders in transition, so I'm more like coaching them and helping them navigate to the next chapter of professional careers. And I think it's been interesting because on the strategy side, it feels a little bit more straightforward set of lessons because, it's like we could have been more lean. We could have operated faster. We got, pivoted more money. So I think it feels like that stuff feels relatively clearer in terms of knowledge. I think there's a big of a black box to me personally, in terms of investor tradecraft which is like, the set of assumptions around verticals, geographies, founder attributes, and so forth, and even what the right role for the VC is with them, right? And so I think this box of it is actually still in disequilibrium is, it's still not settled. I don't even know how to get to that finish line. So I still haven't finished processing that chunk of it. And I think the last thing is,

(08:40) Shiyan Koh:

As in, you shouldn't have done the deal to begin with?

(08:43) Jeremy Au:

I think so. I think the other aspect of it is, like you said, is when could I have stepped in or is this something I could have done more of, or less of, and so I think that's the interesting dynamic.

(08:51) Shiyan Koh:

I reflect on that second question a lot because, I think that, there are a number of times that I said to people, Hey We should look sooner at monetization or we should focus more. And I think you kind of get a mixed reception to that because the founder is getting a lot of really positive feedback in the market from their top line growth or their fundraising. And then you're like this other voice. It's like, Hey, maybe we should look at this thing. And they're kind of like, uh, you don't believe in my vision or like this is for later, you know, like I'm going to do this thing first. So it really depends on how good your relationship is with that founder. And, but also like the cacophony of other data that they're receiving from the market about whether they're on the right track or not. And I think in the boom time of fundraising, you feel super validated when people are throwing money at you.

(09:39) Jeremy Au:

Yeah.

(09:39) Shiyan Koh:

So that's like a hard, I don't know. I asked myself that question a lot, right? Which is like, what could I have done differently?

(09:44) Jeremy Au:

And I think the interesting part about, I think for a lot of VCs that I talk to in a market is that, you're not necessarily rewarded for doing this structural reflection. And what I mean by that, of course, is that as a GP, you're obviously rewarded for the right deals. Whether you had false positives or false negatives and being thoughtful about both of them. I think for a lot of folks who are kind of like middle or junior, a lot of the incentives is really about getting more deals through because it compensated on the deal by deal carry perspective or they want to build out that investment track record. And so there's an interesting dynamic where that structural reflection is not necessarily happening at a peer to peer level, or even on a team level. So I think that would be my personal challenge to myself, but I think that would be a personal challenge to a lot of folks in the ecosystem to be like, how do you have that awkward, but really frank conversation to be like, okay, let's do a debrief, an after action review.

Every failure has multiple points of failure, right? All the way from A to B to C to D. How do we understand there's a multi factorial cost to it? And how or where could we have stepped in? I think that process of debrief is really important. And I'm only just starting on that process. So that's how I think about it.

(10:46) Shiyan Koh:

I think that's right. But I guess if you bucket the failure drivers, I think there's like, did we pick the wrong person? Would we have known that or not? Did we pick the wrong market? So you learned more about the market as a thing went on. You're like, Oh, actually this is a crappy market. Or like basically there was a strategic decision along the path of the company that we kind of went down the wrong way and then we closed off a bunch of options to ourselves, so I think people generally don't want to say they pick the wrong person or market.

(11:15) Jeremy Au:

Yeah.

(11:15) Shiyan Koh:

Tapi menurut saya ini adalah refleksi yang berguna. Ada beberapa pasar yang sangat sulit. Dan saya rasa saya menganggapnya sebagai berapa derajat kebebasan yang Anda miliki? Berapa banyak kesalahan yang bisa Anda lakukan? Dan ada beberapa pasar yang marginnya sangat tipis sehingga sulit untuk melakukan kesalahan berulang kali. Pada dasarnya tidak ada margin kesalahan. Jadi sepertinya eksekusinya harus sempurna. Tim harus sempurna. Dan memang, kesempurnaan itu sulit dan mungkin mustahil, tapi soal manusia itu sangat sulit karena kadang-kadang seperti, Oh ya, orang ini benar-benar hebat. Nol banding satu. Namun kemudian, mereka tidak berkembang dan di pasar yang ramah terhadap pendiri, mereka tidak tergantikan. Dan kemudian Anda berakhir di rawa ini.

(11:51) Jeremy Au:

Ya. Jadi mari kita lihat apa lagi yang menurut kita akan terjadi, prediksi untuk tahun 2024. Saya akan mulai dulu. Menurut saya, dua titik pivot terbesar adalah pemilu Taiwan yang akan segera diadakan pada kuartal pertama tahun 2024, dan yang kedua adalah pemilu AS pada bulan November tahun ini. Saya pikir kedua hal ini adalah keputusan yang sangat penting yang kita buat oleh masyarakat masing-masing, namun karena keduanya sangat berdampak pada hubungan AS-Tiongkok, dan menurut saya keputusan seputar globalisasi, peraturan perdagangan, sektor teknologi, hambatan dan arus perdagangan, khususnya untuk Asia Tenggara yang merupakan persimpangan perdagangan antara Timur dan Barat. Jadi menurutku itu adalah hal-hal yang akan kuperhatikan dengan cermat di tahun 2024. Bagaimana denganmu, Shiyan?

(12:33) Shiyan Koh:

Ya, menurut saya itu adalah peristiwa makro yang besar. Saya pikir hal lain yang saya tonton dan mungkin bukan acara global adalah, saya penasaran untuk melihat cara kerja penggalangan dana untuk mendapatkan dana. Jadi menurut saya ada banyak dana yang masuk ke Dana III mereka. Dan Dana II sebagian besar diperoleh dari markup kertas di Dana I. Dan saya pikir lebih banyak piringan hitam yang tidak sabar untuk DPI. Oleh karena itu, saya penasaran untuk melihat bagaimana kinerja Dana III tersebut.

(12:57) Jeremy Au:

Ya. Pada catatan itu, saya ingin mengucapkan selamat kepada Asia Partners karena telah mengumpulkan dan menutup penutupan terakhir pada $474. Jadi, penutupan Dana II di pasar ini, dan saya tidak dapat membayangkan bagaimana rasanya mengumpulkan dana selama 12 tahun terakhir. bulan. Untuk mencapainya pasti sangat menyiksa, maksud saya, dengan segala perubahan dan kondisi pasar, tapi menurut saya ini adalah dimensi yang sangat dibutuhkan. Saya pikir Nick Nash yang merupakan tamu sebelumnya di Brave Podcast, sehingga Anda dapat menemukan episode sebelumnya. Itu adalah bagian besar dari cerita. Diperlukan lebih banyak modal tahap pertumbuhan, terutama untuk Seri A, Seri B, Seri C di Asia Tenggara, karena mundurnya dana AS, dana pertumbuhan beroperasi lebih agresif di Asia Tenggara pada tahun 2020 dan 2021.

(13:36) Shiyan Koh:

Ya, maksud saya, menurut saya ada kebutuhan untuk lebih banyak perusahaan dalam tahap pertumbuhan, seperti kita perlu membawa lebih banyak perusahaan ke tahap tersebut. Mereka harus menghasilkan pendapatan 20, 30 juta. Kami tidak bisa hanya beroperasi di bidang perusahaan yang bernilai di bawah $5 juta.

(13:48) Jeremy Au:

Masalah ayam dan telur dalam banyak hal bukan? Karena dari sudut pandang pendiri, sepertinya kami tidak memiliki modal tahap pertumbuhan yang cukup untuk mencapainya. Dan sebaliknya, para VC berkata, hei, jumlah perusahaan yang berada pada tahap pertumbuhan tidak cukup.

(13:55) Shiyan Koh:

Tidak, tapi menurut saya ini kembali ke pertanyaan efisiensi modal, berapa jumlah dana yang Anda kumpulkan dibandingkan dengan laba kotor yang dihasilkan selama masa bisnis ini? Seperti apa rasionya? Misalnya jika Anda mengumpulkan 10 juta dolar dan Anda hanya menghasilkan laba kotor satu juta dolar, sepertinya hal itu tidak efisien dalam hal modal. Maka itu lebih dari sekadar, ada yang salah dengan bisnis Anda. Tidak, saya butuh lebih banyak uang.

(14:17) Jeremy Au:

Nah, Anda dapat membuat argumen dari sudut pandang pendiri, dan saya telah bertemu dengan beberapa dari mereka, bahwa dewan direksi mereka telah mendorong mereka untuk tumbuh lebih cepat karena mereka mengira akan ada modal tahap pertumbuhan yang tersedia. Jadi itu seperti, Anda tahu, diminta berlari dan tiba-tiba Anda menemukan ada tembok bata atau lubang raksasa, saya kira.

(14:32) Shiyan Koh:

Tentu, tapi maksud saya, pada akhirnya, apakah Anda memulai sebuah perusahaan untuk menghasilkan uang atau Anda memulai sebuah perusahaan untuk mengumpulkan uang?

(14:36) Jeremy Au:

Baiklah, semoga jika Anda sedang mendengarkan podcast ini, mereka sekarang mengetahuinya

(14:39) Shiyan Koh: tidak, maksud saya, jelas Anda mulai datang untuk menghasilkan uang. Benar. Jadi itu seperti, kapan Anda menghasilkan uang dan bagaimana caranya, apa teori Anda tentang bagaimana Anda menghasilkan uang dan bagaimana Anda menghasilkan uang secara konsisten dan tahan lama. Saya pikir itu penting. Jadi menurutku, aku kuno, kan?

(14:52) Jeremy Au:

Saya pikir hal yang paling penting, secara pribadi, saya menghabiskan banyak waktu bekerja dengan para pendiri, adalah benar-benar mengerjakan slide unit ekonomi, karena salah satu cara berpikirnya adalah, bagaimana Anda membingkainya untuk penggalangan dana, tetapi sebenarnya itu adalah sebuah penyulingan cara Anda berpikir, cara Anda menghasilkan uang. Dan eksperimen apa yang Anda perlukan untuk mencapainya. Dan saya duduk dengan satu perusahaan, saya ingat sekitar setahun yang lalu, dan saya berpikir, hei, ini sama sekali tidak dapat diinvestasikan dari sudut pandang saya, tetapi Anda mungkin bisa mendapatkan uang investor, tetapi Anda harus fokus pada bagian monetisasi. , karena banyak sekali asumsi yang kita miliki disini, namun kita tidak bisa begitu saja meningkatkan penggunaan dengan harapan bisa meletakkan pada produk monetisasi dan lain sebagainya. Dan saya ingin mengatakan bahwa itulah satu-satunya orang yang saya bicarakan seperti itu. Namun ada ratusan perusahaan yang pada dasarnya memiliki serangkaian asumsi dan pencapaian yang sulit dipahami orang dan dipercaya oleh pasar.

(15:33) Shiyan Koh:

Ya. Maksud saya, unit ekonomi itu sangat penting dan tentu saja, ketika Anda memulainya, unit ekonominya tidak terlihat bagus, bukan? Seperti ketika Anda memulai, Anda masih memikirkan banyak hal, tetapi salah satu pendiri favorit saya, dia memiliki rencana yang konsisten untuk meningkatkan margin. Dia fokus pada hal itu. Dia berkata, lihat, ini adalah keadaan bisnis saya saat ini. Di sinilah saya pikir saya dapat memperbaikinya, dari sudut pandang margin. Dan dia memiliki inisiatif peningkatan margin yang terpisah dari inisiatif pertumbuhan pendapatannya. Jadi dia seperti, saya mencoba menggerakkan tuas, dan saya fokus padanya. Dan dia mengalami penurunan, lalu dia memberikannya, lalu pada kuartal berikutnya kita bertemu, dan dia berkata, Oke, lihat, saya sudah melakukan hal-hal ini, dan menurut saya masih ada ruang untuk meningkatkan margin. Dan kami akan melakukan hal-hal ini. Dan ini sangat penting dan tidak banyak orang yang melakukannya, bukan? Tidak banyak orang yang benar-benar memperhatikan margin. Dan mereka hanya berkata, Hei, saya mengembangkannya, atau saya menambahkan beberapa pelanggan. Anda seperti, oke, bagus. Seberapa menguntungkankah pelanggan tersebut? Seperti apa retensinya? Apakah mereka pelanggan baik atau pelanggan buruk? Dan saya pikir itu adalah tempat lain di mana orang-orang tersandung.

(16:28) Shiyan Koh:

Jika kita sudah membicarakan hal ini sebelumnya, seperti pemilihan dan segmen pelanggan tentunya pada awalnya Anda hanya mencoba mencari tahu siapa segmen Anda, bukan? Jadi Anda suka, ada beberapa pelanggan yang campur aduk, tetapi jika Anda tidak dengan sengaja mencoba memahami bahwa ini adalah pelanggan yang baik, ini adalah pelanggan yang buruk, dan Anda tidak memecat pelanggan yang buruk itu, Anda akan menjadi bingung. Anda seperti, ya, saya menambahkan pelanggan. Namun Anda mungkin benar-benar kehilangan uang dari beberapa pelanggan ini. Mereka mungkin memberi Anda item peta jalan yang tidak relevan dengan pelanggan baik Anda. Sepertinya ada begitu banyak hal yang akhirnya menjadi hal yang buruk dan Anda perlu menyadarinya lebih awal. Ada semacam disiplin operasional, yang penting dan itu adalah sesuatu yang saya renungkan, saya berpikir, dapatkah saya mendorong orang untuk melakukan itu lebih cepat dan tidak membuat mereka terjebak dalam pemilihan pelanggan yang buruk.

(17:09) Jeremy Au:

Ya. Penggemar berat Dershing yang menulis di blognya tentang prospeknya di tahun 2024. Jadi, pastikan untuk memeriksanya. Kami akan menghubungkannya di sini. Hal besar yang dia lihat adalah SPAC dan IPO baru-baru ini dari tahun 2020 hingga sekarang, yang meliputi, Bukalapak, Grab, Money Hero, Prenetics, Life 17. Pandangannya adalah bahwa putaran terakhir penilaian swasta hampir 50 hingga 80 persen penilaian publik mereka saat ini, Jadi dengan kata lain, ada kesenjangan besar antara penilaian swasta versus pasar publik. Jadi perspektifnya adalah, banyak perusahaan tahap akhir kini terjebak dalam dinamika ini dan menurutnya akan ada lebih banyak berita buruk, dan akan ada lebih banyak koreksi, bagi perusahaan tahap akhir, definisi tahap akhir sudah jelas. agak kabur di sini, tapi saya yakin akan ada lebih banyak berita yang keluar tahun ini.

Secara pribadi, saya rasa saya mengetahui sekitar tiga perusahaan yang sangat panas tahun lalu dan, saat ini sedang mengalami kesulitan. Jadi, sepertinya, tidak ada seorang pun di dunia berita swasta yang Anda kenal, ini akan menjadi kerugian besar atau akan dilikuidasi. Jadi menurut saya faktanya adalah, menurut saya, di depan umum, kita akan melihat lebih banyak berita buruk ini, menurut saya di tahun mendatang.

(18:12) Shiyan Koh:

Oh ya. Maksudku, aku sedang memikirkan berita buruk. Ya. PHK di Lazada adalah hal yang bagus. Saya pikir itu baru saja terjadi. Jadi, orang-orang melakukan koreksi dan kemudian saya akan menyoroti berita Carta pada akhir pekan. Jadi menurut saya itu lebih seperti PR yang buruk. Jika Anda mengenal Carta, mungkin banyak dari Anda adalah pelanggan, mereka melakukan perangkat lunak manajemen tabel batas serta administrasi dana dan mereka juga telah meluncurkan produk pasar sekunder yang baru lahir, yang masuk akal, bukan? Anda akan tahu apa yang dimiliki semua orang. Jadi, pada dasarnya Anda berada pada posisi yang baik untuk menyediakan pasar, tetapi saya pikir pada akhir pekan beberapa CEO men-tweet bahwa salah satu investornya telah mendapat kontak dingin dari Carta dengan mengatakan seperti, Hei, apakah Anda ingin menjual saham Anda? Yang menurut saya mutlak tidak, tidak, dari pertanyaan, hei, apakah Anda menggunakan informasi pribadi saya untuk meminta atas nama produk baru Anda?

Lalu, penjelasan resmi awalnya seperti, ini adalah pegawai nakal, seperti pegawai nakal yang terlalu bersemangat yang pergi dan melakukan penjangkauan dingin ini tetapi kesimpulannya adalah Carta kemudian memutuskan untuk menutup produk pasar sekundernya, yang dalam konteks jalur pendapatan mereka yang lain kecil. Saya pikir itu adalah produk senilai $3 juta versus $200 juta untuk pengelolaan modal dan pendapatan seratus juta untuk admin dana. Jadi, dampaknya tidak sebanding dengan pukulan balik yang mereka terima, tapi pada saat yang sama, saya pikir hal itu bisa ditangani dengan lebih baik. Jadi jika Anda mengatakan kepada perusahaan tersebut, hei, kami memiliki produk baru ini, ini mungkin berguna bagi Anda. Apakah Anda ingin kami memberi tahu Anda ketika orang-orang mengajukan penawaran dan Anda dapat terlibat, lalu, menurut saya orang-orang akan bereaksi sangat berbeda dari seperti, mengapa investor swasta saya mendapatkan pendekatan dingin dari perusahaan yang saya gunakan untuk tujuan yang sama sekali berbeda? . Jadi, menarik seperti studi kasus krisis PR.

(19:43) Jeremy Au:

Anda tahu, menurut saya dalam hal reaksi, menurut saya mereka bergerak relatif cepat dari sudut pandang saya. Dan saya pikir itu seperti kurang dari 24 jam dari saya melihatnya hingga melihat keputusan untuk keluar dari bisnis ini. Jadi, tahukah Anda, menurut saya hal itu telah ditangani sebaik mungkin. Saya pikir mengambil langkah mundur, sudah bukan rahasia lagi bahwa Carta telah bertahun-tahun dan berencana untuk membangun langkah berurutan dari manajemen cap table untuk menemukan administrasi, Anda tahu, pasar sekunder karena mereka mengumumkan hal itu kepada publik dalam siaran pers mereka, pengumuman pendanaan dan visi mereka. Jadi, menurut saya ini adalah dinamika yang menarik, tentu saja, karena cap table adalah bagian terbesar dari bisnis ini, namun salah satu margin terendah, karena ada begitu banyak pesaing untuk manajemen CapTable. Fine Admin berkembang, semakin menderita, karena, sejujurnya, administrasi yang baik, tentu saja pesaingnya lebih sedikit, tetapi ini adalah bisnis yang sangat rumit.

(20:28) Shiyan Koh:

Ini sangat banyak pekerjaan.

(20:29) Jeremy Au:

Begitu banyak pekerjaan. Dan sebenarnya pasar sekunder adalah bagian yang lebih kecil. Itu yang dikatakan CEO, tapi dibiarkan dan dikatakan bahwa itu adalah margin tertinggi sejauh ini, bukan? Karena yang Anda lakukan hanyalah menghubungkan dua sisi dan kemudian Anda mengumpulkan potongan dari kedua sisi transaksi. Saya pikir itu adalah mimpi besarnya, sejujurnya jika melihat peta jalan strategis mereka, bukan? Jelas saya pikir akan ada cara lain yang mereka jelajahi, tapi saya sangat menyukai apa yang ditulis oleh CEO tersebut. Dan dia berkata seperti, Hei, tahukah Anda, keputusannya adalah pada akhirnya, kami harus mewakili pelanggan, dan kami mewakili kasus ini, back office, manajemen tabel batas untuk startup, mengelola back office untuk dana . Dan kami tidak dapat memonetisasinya karena Anda merusak kepercayaan terhadap produk fundamental yang mereka miliki sebelumnya.

Dan hal ini mengingatkan saya pada masalah yang sangat umum yang sering saya lihat di banyak startup karena mereka sering mengatakan sesuatu seperti, oke, Kami akan membuat produk ini sekarang dan kemudian kami akan menggunakan basis pengguna ini untuk memonetisasi produk mereka. data dan menjualnya kepada orang lain. Dan Anda melihat ini sepanjang waktu. Dan saya rasa Anda sering melihat hal ini, misalnya, di perusahaan AI.

Saya telah bertemu beberapa perusahaan AI selama enam bulan terakhir dan banyak percakapan oke, kami ingin, Anda tahu, kami ingin, misalnya. Jadi profesi pelayanan X kan? Apapun profesinya itu customer service atau lain sebagainya. Dan seiring waktu kami ingin menggunakan data itu. Kami akan melatih seorang model dan kemudian kami akan menggunakannya untuk membuat versi super yang mengganggu profesi tempat kami melatih mereka. itu tidak salah dari perspektif lapisan teknis karena Anda ingin data tersebut dilatih pada model yang saat Anda membuat agen super, tetapi kemudian model bisnis tersebut rusak, rusak karena orang-orang terbaik dalam profesi ini akan tahu bahwa Anda sedang maju. menuju ini. Menurut saya, ini bukan masalah yang jarang terjadi atau inkoherensi strategis, antara menjadi produk untuk persona versus memonetisasi data dan mencoba menciptakan lapisan pasar atau menjual data tersebut di luar pelanggan inti tersebut..

(22:05) Shiyan Koh:

Sama sekali. Bagaimanapun, awal yang menarik untuk tahun 2024.