Richard Armstrong: Thailand Startup Ecosystem Challenges, Creator Insights & Media Founder Transition to Venture Capital - E408

· Podcast Episodes English,Thailand,VC and Angels,Creators


“As a startup, you can move a lot quicker. You don't need to sign 20 things off to get approval of things. If you want to do something, provided that the team agrees, you can move a lot faster. In the US, it's like disruption. In Asia, it's like finding a way how you can get corporates on the cap table, but not get it to a limit where it's not fundable in the next round.” - Richard Armstrong

“Some people aspire to be top movie stars. Nowadays kids want to want to have tens of millions of followers on TikTok. That's what they aspire to be. That's how this generation has changed, but in a way, it's actually smart because what they don't realize is that by having this massive distribution channel, they're really able to leverage themselves in many ways. Maybe they’ll be able to build businesses because they have a massive audience. Having a couple million followers on YouTube and TikTok can help leverage to grow businesses, launch new product lines, or do collaborations.” - Richard Armstrong

“A lot of business models don't work for Southeast Asia. Consumer subscription is quite hard because it’s based on spending power and people’s view of Maslow hierarchy of needs. Buying a subscription to a startup isn't the most important thing. The second thing is B2B SaaS. You've got to be very smart to solve SaaS, and you’ve got to solve it at a particular level. The third one, generally, is the AI companies for Southeast Asia. To build a strong AI company, you need to build it for the world. You start off in Southeast Asia and then leverage the engineering or the tech talent, and then you sell globally.” - Richard Armstrong

Richard Armstrong, Venture Partner at TA Ventures, and Jeremy Au discussed three main points:

1. 267,000 Instagram Followers Insights: Richard recounted his formative years growing up in multiple countries leading to his interest in sharing his personal journey. He debunked common myths about media creators: emphasizing that success in the space requires more than just creativity, but also demands business acumen and a strong support system. He highlighted that despite popular beliefs, most creators are not wealthy and that success in the media follows a power-law curve where only a small percentage of top earners can earn a good living.

2. Founder Transition to Venture Capital: Richard shared about his first ventures in e-commerce and food waste management, and why he eventually moved into angel investing and eventually into venture capital. He highlighted the stark differences, particularly the challenges of accessibility and the importance of networking within the VC community. His journey was motivated by the desire to leverage his understanding of emerging markets and bridge the funding gap faced by startups in these countries.

3. Thailand Startup Ecosystem Challenges: Richard pointed out that despite Thailand’s strong GDP, the startup ecosystem remains underfunded relative to other Southeast Asian peer countries - particularly at the seed stage. He discussed his optimism for potential growth in the next two years, driven by investor interest, improved market conditions and more focused government support.

Jeremy and Richard also talked about the global impact of regional strategies, the importance of building partnerships vs. focusing solely on disruption, and the role of personal background and global exposure in enhancing VC effectiveness.

Supported by Grain

Grain is an online restaurant that serves healthy yet tasty meals on demand and catering. They are backed by investors, including The Lo and Behold Group, Tee Yih Jia, Openspace and CentoVentures. Their meals are thoughtfully created by chefs with wholesome ingredients. For the month of April, Grain teamed up with Hjh Maimunah to bring you a quirky yet delightful experience for the first ever Michelin-inspired catering in Singapore. Learn more at If you ever need to feed your teams of family, go check out Grain.

(01:35) Jeremy Au:

Hey Richard, really excited to have you on the show. So you're a VC and you're covering quite a unique range of geographies across Southeast Asia. So I want to take that opportunity to share your story. Could you share a little bit about yourself?

(01:48) Richard Armstrong:

Jeremy, for having you on. I've heard so many good things about your podcast. And yeah, as I say, so many people recommended me to have a session, so I'm glad we managed to find some time. So yeah, a bit about me as they say, I'm half Thai, half British. I was born in Thailand. I grew up in quite a few countries around the world. I lived in Australia. I lived in New Zealand, Malaysia, England, Ireland. So just probably imagine emerging countries to developed countries, it gives you a stronger setting of people, technology, things like that. So extremely good for that chance. And so, yeah, as I say, the countries I've lived in and then my entrepreneurial journey started off, starting an e-commerce company in the creator space. And then second company was in the more in the food waste space and then ended up angel investing. Then now at TAV as a venture partner leading up their emerging markets, so, guess how that's my career evolved and happy to dive in deeper in any of those topics.

(02:33) Jeremy Au:

Awesome. So could you share about what was it like growing up?

(02:35) Richard Armstrong:

Yeah, so, I mean, as you can probably imagine as I mentioned, living in all those countries, I moved around quite a lot, right? And I guess in terms of, when I moved around, you met new friends, you moved around and you lost them and things like this. So, cause my parents were expats. So whenever they went somewhere, we would go somewhere. So I think it was really good. The experiences were great cause you got to try out all these different traditions and also learn different things from a really young age. So it helped us really adapt. I think that was very important, right? So, I would say that's something we learned at a very young age to quickly adapt to whatever the current situation in or whatever the country you're in.

(03:10) Jeremy Au:

That's great. And so how did you get started in technology and entrepreneurship?

(03:13) Richard Armstrong:

Yeah, so, I mean, I guess I could say a bit of it came from my dad. I mean, even though my dad has of corporate background, he was always into tech for a while and he wanted to start his own thing and things like this. So from a young age, we were always bouncing ideas off. And eventually, and then me just growing up and learning it, hearing about all the different entrepreneurs all over the world. And also as I say, reading, I used to read a lot as well. And, just wanting to learn new things is very important for me. So, from a young age, I think I realized that, the corporate space was probably not for me. I wanted to be my own boss or as I can say, or control my own sort of situation, I would say, not being a sort of the nine to five. So I learned from that from a young age and, starting my first company at around like 19 and then like scaling that up to a profitable business and then as they say, we're zero VC dollars raised was great. And that sort of got me a bit about entrepreneurship and then understanding like the good things and the not so good things right the late nights and everything like this but it got me a good taste and as I say, the second business was more of the startup side because we actually raised money . That was a food waste company but I was an investor there just mainly handled the fundraising so it allowed it sort of, allowed me to these two startups, I found it sort of gave me a bit of an idea on one, from a, I guess, building a profitable business and then the other one building a venture, business, right? So looked at it from both lens and then both those things really helped me sort of understand the ins and outs of being an entrepreneur. And then eventually, building up my network as well allowed me to be in the VC space which is where I'm best suited for over the last few years. So, yeah.

(04:44) Jeremy Au: Awesome. What are some myths or misconceptions about media and creator from your perspective?

(04:48) Richard Armstrong:

Yeah. So, I mean, I think there's a combination, right? I think the misconceptions is people think that every creator has not a strong business understanding of things, right? But it is actually some very smart creators out there if you look at all the top creators, right? They have a very strong team with them, they understand business or their area probably more than even some people that are building creator businesses in the startup space but, I think that's a big misconception, because even though they might not look that, okay, they're like business savvy or tech savvy on paper, but to get to where they are, they, as I say, they're in a league of their own, right? And they understand whatever they do to a very high level, so I think that's probably the biggest misconception.

The second one I would probably say is that, that all creators are super well off or all media people are super well off. That's not true. I mean, I would say, I mean, you and I know this, right? As a lot of the creator revenue and things like this is driven by 1% of the celebrities or media people, right? 99% of the other revenue isn't actually. goes to them, right? So in terms of, if you look at Spotify, that's the same as well the top 1% artists So I think that's the second biggest misconception, right? People are like, Oh, wow, you have a million followers or something like this. Oh, you're making like tens of millions of dollars. That's just not the case, right? I think, every sort of creator and media celebrity is different. I think that's sort of the two biggest misconceptions of people outside the media space and outside the, I guess the investing landscape they wouldn't understand.

(06:11) Jeremy Au:

People really want to be famous, right? People want to be creators and that seems to have been, obviously a tale as old as time, I guess, but, it still seems to be uniquely internet driven, right? TikTok or Instagram. What're thoughts about this?

(06:23) Richard Armstrong:

Yeah, I think it's a combination of things. Some people aspire to be top movie stars or, I mean, nowadays kids want to be like, you know, they want to have like tens of millions of followers and on TikTok. That's what they aspire to be. That's how this is generation has changed or, have a massive YouTube channel, right? But I mean, in a way, it's actually kind of smart because, what they don't realize is as they say, even if by having this massive distribution channel, they're really able to leverage themselves in many ways. Maybe they're able to build businesses, maybe they're because they have this massive audience, right? Let's have a couple million followers on YouTube, a couple million followers on TikTok, they're able to really leverage to grow businesses, to launch new product lines, to, to do collaborations where they couldn't before, right? So I think it's sort of understanding the why behind they want to do it, right?

Do some people, they want to just do it for the fame or do they just want to do it for, as I say, to improve their lives or as I say, because they want to, they see a massive problem or they see a massive niche gap and. They think that they're the best for it. So I think that, I think you can put it into three of those buckets. So in this case, we're seeing a lot more people probably for the one that they're realizing the power of technology and the power of of like the internet, and saying that, okay, by being a celebrity, influencer, things like this, they're able to build their personal brand, right? I think this is what the new generation is

(07:40) Jeremy Au:

And how did you transition or why did you want to transition into venture capital?

(07:44) Richard Armstrong:

Yeah. So, I mean, it as I said, I was angel investing a bit here and there. I I mean I've built a portfolio so far, but in terms of, it's sort of developed, right? I think for me being on the founder side and really understanding, having ped the company as well and also raise money before it's sort of seeing both sides of picture, right? And coming from a market like Thailand where capital is very hard to come by, in terms capital and resources, you have to do, like a lot not much, right, put it that way. And so it's really taught me that angle and then not just that, but VC has always been a very closed industry for anyone that's outside the industry. And in terms of the access and things like this, people view VC as Oh, you can only really get in or you can only be that if it's from inside and it's just built, which is somewhat true in some ways, but in terms of its purpose. There is actually ways as well, right?

(08:30) Richard Armstrong:

So I think it's for having building up that strong network from a young age as well and able to sort of give back and also help operators, founders and things like this, who are first time capital open the door for them where it was a bit harder for me when I was raising capital, when I was, like raising money for SPVs and, things like this. So Yeah, in a way, wanting to do it for Thailand and also other emerging markets would say that's probably why I started going to I mean, I love to, explore new technologies. I think being able to pick the best solving like the biggest problems all over the world, and then speaking to them every day and sort of deciding if you can be on the ground floor of the, that particular company I don't think there's a, probably a better job in the world than this. As I say, it's sort of different to being, I don't know, in public equities where you're just like, trading already massive large companies private equity, right? Where you're just buying and selling large businesses, right? So venture early stage. Yeah, I think that's the best area to be. And, I think, they also the right ones also add a lot of value.

(09:26) Jeremy Au:

And could you share more about what that transition has been like for you?

(09:29) Richard Armstrong:

Yeah. I mean like I think at the very beginning, it was quite tough, right? Because I mean I was sort of an outsider, and you know coming into the industry and things like this. I still remember a while back, trying to speak to many people as possible, just network as much as possible, meet as many people all over Southeast Asia or other emerging markets, as much as possible, but in terms of, a lot of people, I would try, you know, do something for them. I just try to help them out whatever they need. And then, a lot of people actually gave back and like help open doors for me. But then you have some that didn't, but I guess that's with everything, right? So, there were a few people that really helped me open doors, build up a strong network. And I think at very beginning, I was trying to get my hand on as many pitch right?

Just seeing different business models and everything like this. But now, I've seen probably like over a thousand or something like this. So I've just, now I probably want to see less pitch decks, but before it was like getting as much information as I can, learning a bit of a lot about venture, being an outsider and building my network because venture, as they say, mainly it's returns and also like access, right? And also how much value you can add. As they say, those are combination things. So everything is built on your network. So I think if you have the best network as well, you can get in the best deals, talk to the best founders, add the most value and things like this. And as an angel, I tried to do that as much as possible. And that how I transitioned to venture capital.

(10:40) Jeremy Au:

So what are you covering in venture capital?

(10:42) Richard Armstrong:

Yeah. So I'll tell you a bit about the fund I'm at. So TAV is a global venture firm. We've done around 220 investments to date around two out of those 220 investments, we've been able to exit around six IPOs, 12 unicorns. So we've had a pretty strong track record, right? I mean, we're already investors in Cambrian, Adore Me, we're sold to Victoria's Secret in Europe, Depot, SumUp, so we're global, right? Put it that way. For me, I'm mainly focusing on the emerging market side, but I cover, as a global firm, we don't restrict any geography or necessarily any like region. Put it that way. And, we want to be sector agnostic as well. We back the team, we back the founders, and mainly have pre-seed and seed so I guess we can say that's what I look at everything in terms of I'm a generalist, but in terms of the areas I mainly spend a lot is probably healthcare, e-commerce, marketplaces, anything consumer-related. You know, because having that consumer background as well also having the media angle as well and able to look at the two together, I think is a massive superpower to have.

(11:36) Jeremy Au:

What do you think about, the region, right? So obviously the Southeast Asia, but you know, you obviously have a lot of exposure to different countries and different business models. How do you think about the different geographies?

(11:47) Richard Armstrong:

Yeah, I mean, look, the world's a big place, right? But I think you could put the different geographies in different buckets. Southeast Asia, there's a lot of characteristics similar to Latin America. I think all the destinations of these regions and, you know maybe can put Africa in that bucket as well. All these regions, they are emerging, right? So they're growing very fast. They're growing rapidly. The GDP per capita is rising and also, as I say the population is young, the rates high and things like this, but they all have risks.

For example, in that time, we'll take the risks of currency fluctuations, things like this, risk with inflation, geopolitical risks, and things like this in Southeast Asia. Certain markets, we have geopolitical risk as well and things like this. So, I think, there's a lot of similarities in terms of, I would say spending power is a bit higher, but in terms of characteristics, infrastructure, so as I can say, there's a lot of these models as well that have just worked in the US and Europe and people are just being replicated here, but there's a lot of these localized models that are slightly different as well. So, obviously being in the U. S. and Europe as well, you see all these models model from like a high level, but then in emerging, you see a lot of models being much more, I guess, developed and pick for that particular geography right? So I would say that's how I put the region into buckets, but I'm very excited for healthcare in Southeast Asia. I mean, that's why we back like HD and stuff. And then also like in that time, I'm excited for, businesses like food waste space and the sustainability example the company I back was Mercado Diferente, right? So, yeah, there's certain sectors I like in the e commerce and things like that.

(13:09) Jeremy Au:

Can you share more about what are some things not to do in Southeast Asia?

(13:13) Richard Armstrong:

I mean, look, I think in terms of this, there's quite a lot of business models don't work for Southeast Asia. I would say things like maybe consumer subscription is quite hard as well, just based on spending power and things like People look at sort of the Maslow hierarchy of needs, buying subscription to this startup isn't the most valuable thing, right? Oh, this isn't the most important thing. So I'd say things like consumer subscription is I wouldn't say it's probably shouldn't do, but you could try but very people would succeed in this model right? And the second thing is probably SaaS, B2B SaaS and things like this. I think B2B SaaS because, I mean, let's not put Singapore in this bucket, right? Let's talk about Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and things like this. I think you've got to be very smart to solve SaaS. So you got to be solving SaaS for a particular level, right? So, for example, one of my portfolio companies is a company called Okra, right? They're focusing on like the level below enterprise for SaaS, right? So the ACV contracts are like 5-10k, so they're not 30, 40k, 50k. There is an opportunity there, but when you're focusing on like SME SaaS, it's very hard to monetize in Indonesia. Other markets like in India, like Kata books and all those models, right? So those are probably two as well.

The third one I would say is probably maybe generally, AI companies for Southeast Asia. I think to build a strong AI company, you need to build it for the world, right? Maybe you start off in Southeast Asia and you leverage the engineering talent or the tech technical talent, and then you sell globally, right? You see a lot of models in India doing that. They're not just selling in India, but they're selling globally. So I would say those are the two. But then the third one is more of a n opportunistic one.

(14:42) Jeremy Au:

What's interesting of course is that, there's a lot of excitement about, for example Thailand . Could you share a little bit more about your thoughts? Because, Wing has previously shared about how Thai economy is very strong within the startup ecosystem, has been relatively bigger that what fundamentals suggest. So I'm just kind of curious how you think about that.

(14:59) Richard Armstrong:

Yeah, you're totally right there. I think in terms of Southeast Asia and things like this, in Thailand Pacific, Thailand has a massive market opportunity, you know as you say, it's one of the highest GDP per capita in the region. The economy is relatively strong but for some reason, they don't get the amount of startup into attention as you know Like Vietnam, but in a way like for me I've been saying for a while now that Thailand is one of the markets are much more bullish in Southeast Asia. And as I say, the data shows that's heading the right way. I mean, if you look at the bull market, everyone was like, oh, why are you investing in Thailand? Why don't you just do Philippines or actually, no, maybe Vietnam and Indonesia, right? Philippines, there's actually some opportunities there. And then, Sino Valley, there's too much political risk in Thailand. I probably view the political risk in Thailand less so than other emerging markets, other markets especially with the change in leadership and it's sort of heading in the right direction. I think you're going to get a lot more startup and funding capabilities. There is still a gap in the funding needs but I, that I think is an opportunity. You have that gap in the market where you have founder. You have like angels that do 10, 20 K and then you have investors. You have like CVCs that do 2, 3 million, right? You don't have anyone to fill in this sort of gap. As they say, there's a few players that are filling in that gap, but , it's not in depth, right?

They're not like solely focused on that region. And I think that's what the ecosystem needs, sort of there's a hundred K to get the team going, a strong team, things like this. But yeah, but in a way it's a good thing because Thai founders have always had it much harder to build. They have to do with more, do more with less. And I think that's a very important trait to have, whether it's a bull market or bear market. And then, in a way that helps set them up for their later stage rounds in profitability, and so in a way, if it doesn't change too much, if people are interested in the areas it's still an opportunity. Like the data shows it's heading the right way, but if it does change, I think, Thailand could quickly change to much more appealing market in eight, months but it's just as I say, just look at how things change and, markets like Pakistan, Bangladesh, even Indonesia, right? Everyone was like, Oh, wow, Indonesia, we're super interested in the market. And then all of a sudden, like a year later, two years later, it's like, Oh valuations are high, we're going to focus on, I don't know, Singapore as they say, the sentiment changes very quickly I think it's, as they say, that's why you need to have your own thesis and hypothesis.

(16:57) Jeremy Au:

Talk more about the capital gap that you see for the Thailand ecosystem.

(17:03) Richard Armstrong:

Yeah. So, I mean, look, as I mentioned, and also having raised capital like this, as a founder, even a strong founder, it's hard to raise money in Thailand because as I mentioned. In Singapore, in Vietnam, in any region, in other in Southeast Asia, you have someone that sort of does the seed right? In Thailand, you don't. You used to have 500 that did that right? But then they sort of spun off and then started doing series A and stuff like this, which a lot of people use Series A, you know So it's more so, you know that pre-seed and seed, that first capital in, which is actually could be the life blood of the company or make or break that business so no one is actually filling in that gap. I mean, I've been talking to a few friends and we do a few SPVs here and there on really great businesses for Thailand, and then a hundred K, 200 K ticket sizes, because that's sometimes all the founder needs. They don't need 3, 4 million. I always make the joke that in Thailand, if you raise like 200k 300k, it's like raising three or five million dollars in the US because I mean you have so many more options in other regions or even Singapore as well, right? So yeah, but I think this will change soon. But I mean now it's the opportunity if the investor sees it they should go after it.

(18:07) Jeremy Au:

You said that Thai founders have adapted to this. How do you think they have adapted to this?

(18:11) Richard Armstrong:

Yeah, I mean because in a way, whether it's a bull market or bear market, right? They don't have much capital to rely on as a founder in Indonesia or a founder in Vietnam. They've had to, as I say, maybe the company in Indonesia raises 3 million. The company in Thailand, maybe only raised 500K, right? So even though like engineering talent and everything like this is, similar in prices there. They say, okay, hey, we have to get to break even a lot much more easier than this other company because this could be our last fundraising round and then that mindset in a way is good for us Investors right because we're like hey if there's less funding rounds and things like this, it's going to be less dilution, which ultimately benefits us investors, see a lot of IPO companies and things like this, where a lot of the teams and a lot of the investors own, like barely any percent of the company if they exit for a billion it's, still probably doesn't even return the fund.

(18:59) Jeremy Au:

And could you share more about, when you think about this, you said that you think that Thailand in about two years, could you share a little bit more about what those factors are that you think are important for this to happen?

(19:06) Richard Armstrong:

I think it was obviously the first one is a key one. And I mean, as I say, someone filling in that funding gap, which could takes someone to say, Hey, I want to do like a $5 million fund or $10 million fund for Thailand and I think, we'd be on the right track there. But I think things we need, like, you know, government support on funding capabilities and things this, you see countries like Bangladesh, right? They have this sort of startup funding thing where you do, or in even Singapore, right? They have the match for match, program, right? Where if an investor invests this much. They will put in this much, right? So it's just things like this. And then, offering these services, I think is very important. So I think those things will help a lot. And also, I think in terms of once more, I guess, investors come and start to see the appetite, which is starting to happen. I think Thailand is more attractive for FDI, with the recent political changes as well, which will be good for Thailand and their overall landscape, but I guess we'll see.

(19:55) Jeremy Au:

When it comes to Thai startups, what are some industries that see, or patterns that you see and the type of problems they go after, and how they go after that?

(20:02) Richard Armstrong:

Yeah, I think you know as I say I've got the really strong founders in Thailand like some of them are leading companies that are probably gonna in the next 18-24 months, providing the there's liquidity in the market I think it's a combination of things. I've seen a lot ofthese founders folks s in B2C. As I say, there hasn't beemany B2B companies to that certain extent yet. So B2C is the first thing, and then you see verticals like healthcare, logistics As I say, just anything e-commerce or anything related where you've got to work with vendors, like you're not just say central, or you're working with multiple people right? Because in a way, it's actually kind of good if you work with multiple people, then, less there's less one of the Thai businesses build it because if you're just working with them, they'll say, okay, we'll just build it ourselves. But if you work with all the players, then they need, right, because you, you drive a certain amount of revenue to their bottom line as well.

(20:47) Jeremy Au:

That's really fair, because one of the big debates is that, in the West, it's very much about the disruption of incumbents, right? But it feels like in Southeast Asia, there's a lot more partnership. How do you think about that?

(20:57) Richard Armstrong:

Yeah, I mean it's good, right? In terms of I think that's a risk of emerging markets as well you know, you have the risk of like the larger players going to build it out themselves. I think the way you look at it is that you know as a startup as a young company you can move a lot quicker. You know then they're right. You don't need you don't have a lot of the sign 10 20 things off to get approval some things, right? If you want to do something, provided that, as they say, the team agrees, as a startup, you can move a lot faster. And I think in terms of this is good for, companies, in the US it's like, you know, disruption, I think. And, in, in Asia, it's like finding a way how, you know, you can get these corporates on the cap table as well, but not get it to a limit where it's not fundable in the next round.

So it's like it grows to a certain level. And then, as I say, where it may be less, you cap, they only own 10, 20% of the company, that's it. You still have controlling stake. That's important. And then you agree a fair partnership with them. And that works because that ensures that the company actually survives, but what sort of happens in emerging markets as well is that once the companies get to a certain point is that, they take on this larger company in the country and they sell 30, 40 percent and, if 40, 50 percent is owned by a, a large corporate, if it's not an acquisition, what interests would the next investor want to invest? and, if the founders own less than what motivation is that them to be there still? So I think it's just making sure that it makes sense from a business perspective and then finding a way to punch it because it can work and it's done being done. It's just like some things you have to like navigate as a founder emerging markets

(22:21) Jeremy Au:

Could you share a story about a time that you personally have been brave?

(22:24) Richard Armstrong:

Yeah. So, for me, growing out all these countries and living up moved around a lot and one of the times I was being quite brave was, when my family and stuff moved back and I actually made the decision to go to boarding school by myself from a young age. And actually to think about that, it probably shaped the way I was today and helped me sort of think the way today, because, I mean, coming from that, growing up as well, I went to an international school and things like it sort of was a different landscape and then going to boarding school just made me much mature and independent, right? So I would say deciding that from a young age, was probably be like a key moment in helping me think and sort of have the mindset I have today. So I think it's a very growth mindset, right? It's something that, you know, where I'm still relatively young, but in terms of, you know, I've done a few things here and there, right? But I don't look I've done this and that. I look at it as, I'm learning every day, I think that's a, that's an important thing for me.

So, having that mindset of, willing take the risks as much as possible. And as I say, I always said this before as the best, probably the most important advice I've ever got is take moonshots when you're young, right? Because if it works, it works, very well. And if it doesn't, you learn an important lesson very early, right? So, yeah, I would say that's the mindset that I had is a very growth mindset. And as I say, never stop learning. I mean, it's adventure. Moonshots, technically, right? So somewhat, you know, some pitch decks here and there. But no, I mean, in general, right? I think it's a combination of things. I think it was everyone like sort of going through that traditional way of, A lot of people, especially in Southeast Asia or other emerging markets, right? It's sort of like, okay, you do this, and you do this, and you do this, and then you have a family, get married and things like this, right? It's sort of that combination of things, right? You get a job, you climb up the corporate ladder and you do this and things like this, right?

But for me, I guess, I wanted to sort of do my own thing and create my own path, right? Sort of being an entrepreneur as well from a young age, doing many things. And then, as I say, investing in startups, and then Going to venture, right? So I would say it's a different path to like the, I guess the average person.But I mean, a lot of the people that build their own sort of path and create that. So, yeah.

(24:18) Jeremy Au:

When you think about that unique path, what aspects make it unique? U know one aspect of it for you was your social media presence and being a creator as well, so could you share more about that?

(24:27) Richard Armstrong:

Yeah, I mean, that's only a combination of things. It's a combination of, I think, being a sort of a global citizen and then also moving around a lot, understanding like a lot of things in terms of understanding like, different markets, countries, things like this. And then, having that operator background and then, from a young age as well. And then, having the venture background as well and having this strong network. So it evolved. And I think that's, as I say, how it landed in venture. And then the media angle, as I say, over a period of time, I have a bit of a media, how do I say background as well, right?

So my day job is venture capital, but you know, I, I do have a, a bit of a entertainment background as well, right? So actually my family bit come from this as well, because my sister's, a well known movie person like a movie star, things like this in, in Asia and I guess doing these things and then some opportunities opened up. you know, As for me, it was like, okay, my day job is venture capital, but in terms of, if I want to craft my edge more how do I have something very unique?

Cause I mean, you and I know, VC is probably one of the most competitive industries out there. You need to have an edge, but you need to have a even greater edge than the typical Harvard or Stanford guy. And it's sort of like crafting that. So it's like, this case, it's like, okay, if I had the meteor engine That's massive because this is a venture firms. They're building as well. They spend millions of dollars. So if you can build your own, massive. Right. So yeah, that's sort of the combination because you have that distribution and, know, which is, I think is a unique thing we can offer because, if you can say to a founder that, Hey, maybe you start a fund or something, right?

And you're like, okay, I can give You know couple hundred thousand or three hundred five thousand, but the round is oversubscribed, right? But I can offer you this massive distribution this Media leverage that no other fund in the region can offer you, That in itself, why wouldn't a founder take you on the cat tail, right? I think I realized quite a lot of times as well as an angel investor some beneficial things as well. So, as I say, doing a few media projects. I was finished doing a film in the Philippines. I have another two uh, this year. But yeah, look, my day job is still venture. yeah, I do films as well. So, yeah.

(26:21) Jeremy Au:

On that note, I'd like to summarize the three key takeaways I got from this conversation. First of all, thank you for sharing your early entrepreneurial experience you explained the experience around media and what you've taken away about myths and misconceptions about creators and revenue and what it takes to succeed.

Secondly, thank you so much for sharing about why you transition to venture capital, and some of the different aspects of venture capital that you know that are hard versus easy, and what it takes to have an edge in the system And lastly, thank you so much for sharing about Thailand as an ecosystem. You heard it first and you believe this market will turn around in the next two years, based on several factors..

(26:53) Richard Armstrong:

I mean, yeah I think it should you know, I think in terms of a lot of investors are starting realize and, there's a lot of quality companies. I mean, just saw like HDDiscos Series A, it's opened the path for other companies and other investors to sort of understand the region as well. So, yeah.

(27:08) Jeremy Au:

Awesome. On that note, thank you Richard for coming to the show.

(27:08) Richard Armstrong:

Enjoyed it, Jeremy. Glad to be on.