Leon John Hermann: India & SE Asia Cross Pollination, Operator vs. VC Career & Building a VC Fund - E209

· Purpose,India,Southeast Asia,Podcast Episodes,Start-up

It's not easy to execute. We see examples of Southeast Asian companies that try to crack India and have not been very successful, to put it mildly. At the same time, we're seeing the same from Indian companies looking to expand to Southeast Asia, especially Indonesia here. So this is the main connection, India and Indonesia.

And the reason is that everyone's starting to learn right now. It's not just you take that product, you launch it in your market, you hire some commercial people and then you just scale, basically. They understand while some nuances are very similar, other elements of the equation really need to be localised. And that's not that easy.- Leon John Hermann

Leon is an investment professional with a track record of more than 10 years building, operating and investing in category-leading technology companies in Southeast Asia and Europe. He’s currently a Director at Rigel Capital, a Southeast Asia & India focused investment company, as well as Head of Corporate Development at Wingcopter.

Prior to Rigel Capital and Wingcopter, Leon was a Venture Partner at Kejora Capital, where he launched a US$30 Million Early-Stage Fund in partnership with SBI Holdings to invest in technology companies in Indonesia. Before that he was with 500 Startups where he managed 15 GPs across 10 funds in Asia, MENA and the United States with combined more than US$300 Million in Assets Under Management. Before that, he led or participated in more than 30 investments (2 unicorns) in Southeast Asia for Global Founders Capital. He launched his career building eCommerce platforms in Asia Foodpanda and Zalora as well as Russian fashion eCommerce platform Lamoda. Leon is deeply rooted in the regional innovation ecosystem in Southeast Asia and Europe as lead mentor of the German Accelerator in Indonesia, Mentor at the GnB Accelerator, Mentor at MDI Ventures and frequent guest speaker across leading institutions and universities.

Jeremy Au: (00:30)
Hi Leon! Excited to have you on the show. We've been talking for many years now. I am really excited to share your journey. For those who don't know yet, could you share about yourself?
 

Leon John Hermann: (00:38)
Thanks Jeremy for having me. Good to be on the show. In short about myself, I'm an investor and operator between Asia and Europe and my story started back in 2013 when I went to Russia next to my college to build a fashion e-commerce platform, Lamoda, over there. Scaled it, and then in 2015, moved over to Indonesia, first as an operator with Rocket with Foodpanda primarily and Zalora.
Then for a few years I spent time in venture capital with different firms investing in Southeast Asia, but also got an exposure to the Middle East region and to Silicon Valley. Then thereafter spent most of my time fully with Kejora Capital, one of the largest VC firms from Southeast Asia. There, I launched a $30 million early stage fund in partnership with SBI Holdings.
Currently, I'm a director at Rigel Capital. We are a sort of a multi-stage investor in Southeast Asia and India. And at the same time a head of corporate development at Wing Copter.
 

Jeremy Au: (01:39)
Amazing! How did you get started in technology and startups?
 

Leon John Hermann: (01:42)
I believe it was a combination of emerging markets plus growth, which we certainly see in technology. So, I just like a fast paced environment and see opportunities to build sustainable businesses. Yeah, that intersection really excites me. That brought me in the first step to Moscow and then secondly, down to Southeast Asia to Jakarta since 2015. So, I've been on the ground for more or less seven and a half years between, I mean most of my time in Asia actually.
 

Jeremy Au: (02:13)
How did you move from Europe to Southeast Asia?
 

Leon John Hermann: (02:16)
So, at one point when I was in Russia, when you are in the market in general, you would might want to ask yourself is that a market I double down on and double down on means you do learn the language, you embed yourself deeper in the market, or for whatever reasons you might decide to explore other opportunities in other regions.
For me, in 2015, I came to a point that probably that region where I was in might not be the easiest to operate as an entrepreneur mid to long term. Therefore, I decided to use the learnings that I gathered over there and apply it to Southeast Asia. So, I was very glad to be given the opportunity back then to move to Indonesia and build companies over here.
 

Jeremy Au: (02:58)
Any fun stories about what it is like being an operator in your first few years in Southeast Asia?
 

Leon John Hermann: (03:04)
I was going to say, what are the wins and losses or failures that I experienced. Definitely one of the failures is during my time as an operator. So, when I just came down to Indonesia, our task was to scale Foodpanda. Back in 2015, Foodpanda was a marketplace for connecting restaurants with consumers in urban cities and in Southeast Asia and beyond.
It was modelled to be a typical rocket internet strategy after Grubhub and DoorDash in emerging markets. The key difference is in the markets like Indonesia and other really developing countries, you need to build out your own last mile delivery solution in order to enable restaurants. So, without having solved the last mile, you're not able to solve the online acquisition of customers for your delivery platform.
This is something which was very tricky for Rocket Internet, for Foodpanda to do because essentially your riders utilise very well in lunch time at dinnertime, but in between you will have many, many operational difficulties in that. So, long story short, at the same time, Gojek started to hit the market back in 2015. It was a time where stadiums were filled with drivers excited to join the platform, and it became quite apparent that in order to solve the food vertical, so to say, the first thing that you need to solve for is the last mile mobility.
This is something that Gojek was able to execute on it, in a very impressive manner. So, back then, if you ask me how it started in Indonesia? The start in Indonesia was a six month fight against someone that was too strong for you. So, it also had its ups and downs and restructuring teams and similar is never an easy exercise, but at the end of the day there's many learnings that came out of that period and also how it evolved in my professional career.
 

Jeremy Au: (04:51)
It's interesting right? Because this mobility space and the right connection between riders, users and merchants is a really tricky side of the marketplace. I'm still curious
about what would be some learnings about that trick in a marketplace. Do you think it makes sense? Do you think it's too complicated? or do you think it makes sense but you have to play very carefully. How would you think about that?
 

Leon John Hermann: (05:15)
I think the very big lesson from the region that we see is Grab versus Gojek scaling strategy. Back in 2016, 2017, the key difference was Gojek decided to commit to Indonesia and double down on the core market. What they had, their thesis was, “Hey! Look, we are launching new verticals. We will offer a more compelling value proposition to the end customer. And with this fully integrated marketplace across verticals, I'm going to be able to keep that customer in my ecosystem and therefore I will always be able, outcompete with Grab in Indonesia.”
Whereas Grab's strategy was, “Look, we have the mobility use case, we have started, we do have the full use case and those are significant when it comes to their total addressable market sizes across Southeast Asia. So, before I do too many verticals, I rather focus on the core ones and I scale them across the region.”
Clearly it works better as at least in the short term because that the key was you go after the addressable market sizes first and then be able to raise more capital, etc. Regardless of that, that's the key lesson though, if you scale horizontally and vertically, but at the same time marketplaces work. But the question is, “How were the economics when I entered the market?”, “So, how much did I pay the drivers?” and “How much was I willing to subsidise these consumers’ facing?”
So, now a big, big task is to see how big was this actually coming once I reduce my subsidies, once I hike up my commissions on food, I mean, we're seeing commission rates 40 plus being paid on those platforms.
So it's now going to be, let's say, the fat of the steak is being cut and let's see how much will remain. But, the right to be there is there for sure.
 

Jeremy Au: (07:02)
I think what's interesting is that these giants have obviously conquered their various inner core markets as well as other verticals. But, I think there's a lot of questions in people's heads like are they really strong, or are they relatively fragile? I think there's a lot of different startups now that we meet them and they say, like, my job is to just disrupt Grab or Gojek/ Tokopedia, right?
So, what do you think about that perspective, about their fundamentals in the future?
 

Leon John Hermann: (07:28)
So, let's put this into two. The first part is a disruptive disruptor. What you said I want to disrupt, Grab or similar. We are now in an interesting time because capital markets are down many employees and also in private markets we have seen many down around. So many employees that have shares as part of ESOP programs are now coming to a realisation that what used to be a maybe significant amount of money now all of a sudden got much less.
So, this is one of the key drivers that kicks off the next wave of entrepreneurship. Those are the ones that have built, scaled, seen without it not having a economical commercial interest, to stay there for the long term. They will subsequently become and understand something that the big fella's were not able to do, for steering a ship of tens of thousands of people is a very different beast. They're not agile and remaining agile, that scale is very tough.
 

Jeremy Au: (08:25)
I think what's interesting, obviously you've been embedded into Indonesia and Southeast Asia ecosystem for quite some time. Why have you seen it in the trends that have been there over the past ten years from your perspective? I mean obviously one has been the rise of Grab and Gojek and I think many people outside, you know, Southeast Asia would think of Grab and Gojek as you know, the most visible, I guess, folks in the Southeast Asia tech space.
What else have you seen over this time period? I think Rocket Internet was very big for a time period and now it's less big, I think from my perspective in Southeast Asia. What would you think about that?
 

Leon John Hermann: (08:57)
Yeah! No matter what metrics you would choose right now, it has changed significantly compared to ten years ago across all of them. When it comes down to the amount of VC funds available, the amount of access that we see in the market, liquidity events at local stock exchanges, but also the situation of the markets per se, as in the improvement of investment in infrastructure, the investments in infrastructure pay off already for some businesses, especially in supply chain and logistics.
We're seeing increased connectivity across the region. We are seeing a continuous rise in GDP if you're looking at the ten year period. I mean, the region continues to further show additional points that highlight the relevancy and the excitement also for the global capital markets. And, I think that's why I'm very optimistic about the region.
I mean, that's perhaps one element that's really key. So, I mean, the macros have improved.
The second really key is we are also seeing Southeast Asia get closer so with India, the markets are very similar. The average urban consumer in Jakarta somewhere downtown South Jakarta is not very similar to the average over consumer somewhere in Mumbai. And that applies also for the ones that may be in the smaller villages in Indonesia, in the Lampung, and the Indian Lampung, it is similar.
So the macro economic indicators of GDP per capita, etc., we're seeing that those markets just come closer together and this is very visible in the amount of Indian founders that are part of the Southeast Asian ecosystem, which is great because more diversity usually produces a better outcome. So in a nutshell, that's probably significant changes to the ecosystem.
I'm right now in Europe, so I speak quite a bit also with investors looking more into the region and obviously with a population of 2.3 billion between India and Southeast Asia with, you know, in Indonesia, we're seeing really, really healthy quarter on quarter GDP, a GDP growth rate. So it's getting more recognition on a global stage, whereas three years ago, institutional investors said, “Hey, look! I will deploy funds in Europe that have exposure in Asia and this is how I cover the region.”
Now, with their second fund, the fund vehicle, they might already start looking into committing really into vehicles that sit in the region, that create real operational value from the early stage to growth stage should look for possible liquidity events. This is different compared to ten years ago.
 

Jeremy Au: (11:21)
What's interesting is that there's a final process you're talking about, right, which is, I think, looking at trends across Southeast Asia and India. I think you mentioned not only market similarities and trend similarities, but they are also founders in terms of the migration of flows across both regions. Could you share more about how you think about investing across these two geographies?
Like is it synergistic because you know, or is it tough to do because the totally different countries, different regions, a lot of travel. So, how do you think about that?
 

Leon John Hermann: (11:54)
It's not easy to execute. I mean, we see examples of Southeast Asian companies that try to crack India and have not been very successful, to put it mildly. At the same time, we're seeing the same from Indian companies looking to expand to Southeast Asia, especially Indonesia here. So this is the main connection, India and Indonesia.
And the reason is that everyone's starting to learn right now. It's not just you take that product, you launch it in your market, you hire some commercial people and then you just scale, basically. They understand that they are still wild, some nuances are very similar, other elements of the equation really need to be localised. And that's not that easy.
And there are countless examples for that, for instance, in the social commerce space. So, an Indian social commerce unicorn that expanded to Indonesia and then for instance, has really optimised on getting lots of merchants on the platform. So, for users of fashion at wholesale price and there was no curation of inventory whatsoever with a pure fixation of merchant and inventory acquisition targets and understanding how to curate and who to partner with and how to manage your operations, how to manage returns also on the product side.
So, there's many, many things that really make the cases, albeit similar, still also unique and this is something that's not easy to solve.
 

Jeremy Au: (13:14)
I mean, it's not easy right outside. I think there was this hot trend, I think in 2020 and 2021 where a lot of Indian founders moving Southeast Asia built and to some extent not really vice versa. Not very many Southeast Asian founders went to India to build. And I think that's kind of reverse. I think we will see that in 2022.
Who do you think is going to succeed? I guess? Do you think there are going to be companies able to win both India, Southeast Asia? I do think those are like two different markets that are just going to dominate each thing. This is looking at the trends that are in both markets to invest in with the thesis.
 

Leon John Hermann: (13:51)
I would say the next 5 to 10 years will tell, but here's the thing. This whole concept of Southeast Asia and India or India and Indonesia already exists long before venture capital. This is very visible in the movie industry. If you guess many of the biggest movie production houses in Indonesia are in fact run and founded by entrepreneurs of Indian origin, second, third generation immigrants and the reason is finally because in India there's a thriving Bollywood industry and they have essentially taken many of some of those concepts.
They have localised it to Indonesia and essentially became a huge success. Many of the largest media production houses are run from based on that strategy. It
continues now on the tech side, what I can say for now is that we're very confident on building synergies between those markets. But I yet to see whether it's really one consolidated market play or whether there's also mergers between those markets or else, that remains to be seen.
 

Jeremy Au: (14:55)
When I think about the part where it remains to be seen over the next ten years it seems to become a mantra, obviously. A learning cycle for whatever you believe or say on a podcast or to it, you know, ten years, which is very different from being an operator. Which is why I think you built your launch today. You learn straight away what is going to work or not.
So, I'm just kind of curious. So you've done both sides of being an operation executive in fast growing startups across multiple categories and also being a VC. A lot of pros and cons of both roles because I think a lot of founders want to be investors and a lot of investors want to be founders, right? In terms of the operator versus building versus investing side.
So, what would you say are the pros and cons from your perspective?

Leon John Hermann: (15:36)
Let's look at it. If you were binary, you have to choose from one or the other. On the VC side, what our pros learn much more about many markets, exposure is definitely interesting. Secondly, you learn the instruments of fundraising terms in negotiations, fund negotiations, etc., how to close round to structuring, etc.. Thirdly, you also get to network a lot with people from different industries.
So, it's not just the learning but also a networking effect. I believe in the power of the network that you build. So, I think doing this for VC is definitely a good plus. So that's on the plus side.
On the negative side, it depends now what entry level you're looking at. Let's say if you're looking at analyst, associate, maybe also VP level, the thing is you get lots of exposure, you learn a lot.
But the economic interest might not be aligned with the things that you put into the firm. Eventually, you realise VC is a long term game, not just in the way that you treat your investment, but also in the way that you can commercialise your career. So, that's something you need to take into account.
Secondly, and this is then down to you, you sit by the sidelines. You can support and fund primarily fundraising is what you do support a lot on. I mean, what do you do most? You do fundraising, you do a case by case basis hiring, you do on a case by case basis some form of partnerships with portfolio or you're just at the sideline, you're not seeing the real. So that's maybe on the VC side. On the operator side, it is a nice feeling to see, to just look at your data studio or whatever and see this is the business that is growing each day and this is the customer reviews and feedback. If you know that you build this from scratch, it's just the feeling of the people in the whole company, and it is pretty fun, I mean, the ones that haven't it's not a shame everyone can start any time in their life.
This feeling of seeing something grow and the impact of the decisions that you make on the business is a different feeling. So, now we see in my view, now we see where can replicate that, but at the same time as a VC you can be entrepreneurial but this is and you need to build your firm from scratch.
That's a different case. Back to operator so that's one the entrepreneurial feeling. Two, it's now also generally you see your network a lot but it's also a lot of professional networks. So, the team itself is also a lot of long lonely jobs. Sometimes you sit at your desk, you do your research, you sometimes speak to founders, but it's all very professionally. I believe that it's harder to replicate the elements of company culture and bonding and similar in a VC firm than it is in a company setting. But, that might also be due to what stage of the cycle you're in as a VC firm. So, that's probably on the pro side. On the con side. Well, I know thirdly and that's important, you have all your eggs in one basket.
So, I mean, should you be having equity interests in the company that you work with and it goes well, obviously it’s a nice opportunity for you. On the other hand, being an operator also limits yourself to one industry to some degree. So you spend, you become more specialised. So, you would need to make the decision if you want to do that. So, that's my view here on the pros and cons.
 

Jeremy Au: (19:03)
How would you help someone understand, you know, because I think we are sharing the pros and cons, right? How does someone figure out whether they actually like it or not? Should they just take the job on the other side of it? Or how would you advise them to discover which one works out for them?
 

Leon John Hermann: (19:21)
I mean, if you're looking for entry level or let's say you just graduated recently and you don't really know what direction you would want to go, the best way is to do internships and try and dip your toes in the water. This can be internships, this can be talking to people in the industry, this can be speaking to people on LinkedIn that give good contact on why you're reaching out to them, what you're expecting out of this relationship, and how you can maybe also perhaps contribute to their professional career. There's many ways that you can prepare yourself to dip your toes in the water.
 

Jeremy Au: (19:56)
What's interesting is, obviously, you've done both sides of the table. I think there's always this question raised, do you have to be an operator to be a VC? And of course, I think the research goes both ways, right? Some people are saying yes, it helps. Some people say it doesn't. How do you think it plays out for you personally?
 

Leon John Hermann: (20:15)
I mean, it's funny you bring this up. I just saw a statistic from Europe from last week, the share of the people in organising VC firms with finance backgrounds is more than half. This is how much a VC should have been an operator prior where you see that a VC industry which is larger than Southeast Asia, in fact is still finance oriented.
At the end of the day, I believe in diversity. You cannot just have operators to VC and not the financial verify and financial expertise and vice versa. Only with a diverse team with different backgrounds, those bring the best results that are uncorrelated to any market. And I think in this context, they are decision making, I believe an operator can show empathy with a founder.
I believe that's one of the three core capabilities, because if you've been through things, there's just a different level that you talk to founders.
 

Jeremy Au: (21:09)
Could you share a little bit more about from your perspective, empathy for founders right from a VC perspective, I think it's tough. A VC perspective., you're seeing thousands of founders come through. You're going to say no to most of them. Frankly, as a founder, I’ve also met a lot of VCs that display any empathy for me, I think, in my situation.
So, I'm also kind of curious from your perspective, you know, I think every VC says they want to be having founder empathy, but I think you've asked most operators, I don't think they see a lot of that from the VC perspective. So, it does feel like it is a mismatch between what people say to do versus what they actually deliver or maybe
what gets received. So, what do you think is that discrepancy? What do you think is that difference from your perspective?
 

Leon John Hermann: (21:50)
Yeah, I mean, founder empathy is to be shown throughout the entire process. It’s also with every single founder interaction that you have, that you show understanding for a situation and respect, but also then in the interactions with with the founders, empathy is key and I try to manage it with find out the way that I really do it is I try not to, five years ago meet every day five or six different founders and let's say screen the market like crazy.
I just feel that this way of venture capital is not the way that I believe VC works. It's not like, speak to like a thousand companies and then curate the funnel and have a very analytical mindset on it. But it's really the way that I do it is I choose a few projects that I do, maybe also just an idea, then bring the Co-founding team together and then we go, I think about more.
Not that I look at my inbound flow, but I look more as in, based on the current ecosystems and assets that I have, what could be complementary and possibly synergistic to the portfolio that I have, and thereby to scale much faster or be more efficient. And thereby with this mindset, I limit the interactions that I have.
Then, if I do have deeper founder interactions and those are very significant, so calls at least on a weekly basis and lots of other initiatives we work on together.
 

Jeremy Au: (23:16)
From your perspective as well, could you share with us about the time that you have been brave?
 

Leon John Hermann: (23:22)
Yeah!. So what I was really saying, when I was brave is when I jumped into the venture capital industry. So, I shared earlier about my time with Foodpanda. I just arrived in Indonesia from almost the North Pole in Russia down to tropical Indonesia and I had this roller coaster ride with Foodpanda. And then about one year later I was just sitting in the plane and told to invest for Global Founders Capital in Southeast Asia.
I haven't had any clue on valuation, on terms sheets, on any of these things terms and was really thrown in the water, and I feel even though I didn't know, I was just
brave enough to commit to this challenge because I believe this mindset of going in the water and seeing if you can swim is a very, very important quality to have.
This is why I feel I was brave that I have done that. I've taken that challenge and it brought me to where I am today. So I'm very grateful for having been able to go through that back then.
 

Jeremy Au: (24:22)
What was your reason behind making that switch from the operator to VC perspective from your personal perspective? Why did you want this?
 

Leon John Hermann: (23:22)
I mean, let's face it. I mean, I was like 23 and you work and then you go to the warehouse each day somewhere in the outskirts of Jakarta, and you really, I mean, it's heavy work, which I also like and I enjoy it. But then if you were given the opportunity to explore a venture capital side and do investments and I mean, it was hard to say no to that.
I got to be honest. So, for me, it was a little bit run by accident. It's not that I applied or something. I just got a call one day and then I just said, okay, I'm going to come to London for a week and then let's go. It was a mini run, run into a venture capital by accident.
But then, now I really say on the intersection and also the way given that Rigel Capital is still quite new on the market, is also very entrepreneurial itself because building a VC firm is a completely different ballgame and then building a startup also.
 

Jeremy Au: (25:23)
Let's talk about that right? So, what's it like to build a VC fund where few folks have been operating as you have fewer folks than VC and even fewer folks building and operating and building a VC fund. So what's so hard about it? People are going to ask.
 

Leon John Hermann: (25:37)
Let's put it this way. Broadly speaking, what makes it so hard is the high entry barriers to get a fund up and running, at least in Southeast Asia still. And these entry barriers are because you have to do a lot of documentation, which takes about two to six months with a team of at least five full time people.
So you can imagine the financial resources then you would need to set up structures and similar. So there goes another hundred K, 150K, 200 K depending on the set of
advisory. And then you have all the investment you need to do, to raise your fund, provided you have a track record and you have X's. And you know, all of this is we assume, as a given, but then you can assume that the cost of fundraising you receive is firm.
And if you're looking at about ten, twenty million, it's going to be a bit of money. Also, if you were to raise this with small taxes, it's going to take a lot of your time also. So, the reason what makes it so difficult is because very few people have the means and resources to really enter into that industry.
It's quite tough. When you launch a new VC firm, the first thing that you've got to do as part of your documentation is going deeper in your strategy or positioning, the next funder that you're planning to raise for the possible interested investors you want to talk to globally. What are the global macro trends that drive investment in the region?
Right now in Europe, commodity prices grow like crazy early next year. At some stage prices will follow. So, it's going to be and we're going to have massive inflation. So obviously, you're looking at those global tailwinds where you can go into and pitch an exciting growth story and a diversification of your global asset portfolio strategy.
So that's in a nutshell, what needs to be done in order to set up a firm and what is the focus also when you do that.
 

Jeremy Au: (27:26)
Part of it you’re saying about raising money from limited partners, obviously. And you also talk about building ideas into your funnel. So what would you say are the things that you need to build within the fund itself as a company?
 

Leon John Hermann: (27:38)
Obviously you need to show something. If you want to raise a fund, what you need to show you need to show your team. You need to show your investment strategy. Some details on why the market is growing. You need to show the details on the funds and the structure and the commercial details of the fund.
You also would need to show an overview on the verticals that you cover, but also then some exemplary deals. So having said that, though, you don't want to spend too much time, each one over time on deal flow, because it might be that in six months money flows to fund, some of these opportunities are already gone. So you've got to find a bit of a balance between how much of my time I dedicate to a deal flow and a stage where my fund is already. That changes once the fund is launched.
 

Jeremy Au: (28:21)
So, you know, for people who want to build a VC fund, what advice would you give to them, what they set out to do also?
 

Leon John Hermann: (28:26)
It was actually saying that I asked myself a few years ago, I want to get exposure to as many companies and projects as possible, but I don't have money to invest millions of dollars. So, I ask myself, hey, how can I build myself direct equity positions in companies without essentially having the financial resources to do investments at scale.
So, what I did is I started to do advisory, so I started to raise money for companies. I started with a $1.5 million seed round in Germany. I continue with a $46 million series extension from Wing Copter and then sometimes those advisory relationships also turn to something more significant. The key here really is it gives you a track record.
So if you're looking to build a VC firm, the first thing that you need to solve is, okay, do I have a relevant track record to convince investors to trust me with their money and believe I'm going to generate good returns for them? And you need to show to them that advisory or through your personal investments or else you do have the capacity to do so.
 

Jeremy Au: (29:32)
That's the tricky part, right? How do you balance your time to do so? You take on lots of different roles, that you take on a few of them, how do you balance all these advisory roles and obviously stay an operator and as a VC and so forth.
 

Leon John Hermann: (29:46)
So I don't do any advisory right now, but this is how I started. Right now I really focus on my two projects and I'm able to do this because there's many synergies. At the end of the day, I just meet so many people and oftentimes one project might be more interesting for the others and so on. So, this is why that setup works generally, if you do advisory or others see what you can contribute.
At the end of the day it’s the fundraising or else. But, also take it a little bit, zoom out of that view. The key message really is if you want to launch your own busy firm, think about your own track record. And if you don't have your own track investment
record yet thinking about all of the creative ways to build it next to investing. And one of it is advisory and this is how I did it.
 

Jeremy Au: (30:29)
You know, obviously something like investing the track record, etc.. So how should folks think about their own track record? Is it a function of good deals? That deal has a track record in terms of founder reputation. What do you think about the investment track record at this very fuzzy time, right?
 

Leon John Hermann: (30:45)
So you look at all the money that you have invested in your personal capacity or on behalf of venture capital, VC firms or else. Then you look at the current estimated fair market value of those positions and you see if you have generated returns from your initial investment costs. So the way you should think about your track record is your most probably on the investment capital, your cash on cash returns.
Have I given money back? The founder was MPS. So, if you have MPS serving or similar and how happy founders are working with you, you can do that. It can be just the founder's statements and quotations. So there's quantitative and qualitative metrics you can use in order to give a better perspective on your track record.
 

Jeremy Au: (31:30)
Awesome. So thank you so much for really kind of sharing so much. I love to kind of paraphrase the terrific themes I got from this conversation. And the first is thank you so much for sharing about I think, Southeast Asia, some of the historical trends he's seen as personalise and operator in VC and of course the cross-pollination they see of India as well and why that's led you to want to put together this thesis around that VC find out. It covers both of these features even though it is to be determined whether it's one player winning both markets or whether there's one player winning each separate region.
The second, of course, is thank you for sharing about the operator versus a VC career. It’s not about the trade offs, the benefits, the cons, and also how to go about exploring those two careers.
And lastly, thank you so much for sharing your own personal experience about building a VC fund from the scratch, which as you've been operator in terms of building, but building a VC fund instead of a startup. So thank you so much for your advice, sir.
 

Leon John Hermann: (32:25)
Thank you, Jeremy. Thank you for having me.