Shao-Ning Huang: Angel Investor Economics & Mistakes, Women Founder & Investor Representation & Cut Off Toxic Relationships - E267

· Blog,Singapore,Angel Investor,Women,VC and Angels


I invest because I believe in the founder, and I want to believe that the business will make a difference in the ecosystem and the economy in the future. There are many problems in the space, in life, business, economies, financial technology, and everything. If we don't support new ideas to disrupt, support, and improve, then we will never progress” - Shao-Ning Huang


“I am not in favor of angels who invest solely because it's a hot space or because their friends are investing in it. The space you invest in should be something that you have a personal affinity for and that you feel is relevant to you. It's all about how you read the founder, decipher that part, and apply your personal understanding of the space or market. While a good founder is very reflective of themselves, an angel investor has to reflect on their own value system before choosing which space to invest in.” - Shao-Ning Huang


1. She advises new angel investors to listen to at least three to five pitches and analyze the founders before investing. She emphasizes the importance of investing in a space that aligns with one's personal values and interests rather than investing in a “hot space.” She shares her own personal investing mistakes.

2. Shao-Ning believes the business world is a masculine-language environment and women who don't adapt may be misjudged and seen as less confident. Some female investors are more interested in investing in businesses that have a positive impact, beyond the P&L, such as job creation or positively impacting people's lives. She covers many examples she has seen as a angel syndicate leader working with both sides of the table.

3. She also highlights the importance of supporting new ideas to disrupt, support, and better the ecosystem, economy, and society. We cover the potential impact of early-stage investing in climate tech and carbon footprint.

Watch, listen or read the full insight including cutting off toxic relationships, Hermes bags and majority-insider minority-outsider dynamics at

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Jeremy Au: (01:43)

Hey, Shao-Ning, really excited to have you on the show. I still remember our first conversation where I was a prospective founder and you were the prospective angel. And I really was struck by your warmth and also brainstorming at that point in time. So, excited after a couple of years to bring you on the show. And share a little bit about your journey and thoughts.


Shao-Ning Huang: (02:02)

Thank you, Jeremy. Thanks for inviting me to this program and thanks for doing this to bring angels and new angels, and then to support founders together.


Jeremy Au: (02:12)

Yeah, so could you introduce yourself real quick?


Shao-Ning Huang: (02:16)

Okay, so very quickly, I started as a founder first in the year 2000. Long story short, fast forward in a sense. So 2000 was actually the era in Southeast Asia where there were not many startups per se. But we were lucky. We chose a business that turned out to be a good choice as a job portal That's casual positive, so, not by choice, but we had no funding. So we learned to fund our business via sales, via cashflow, via really going on the ground to sell the product. And fast forward to 2012, we were approached by the leaders in the US and we were bought up and we did two years of it. Now, after that two years, we left the business technically, officially financial freedom.

So with that and then. I would say the last two, or three years of running Job Central, we found it in ourselves how could we further support our ecosystem then, right? So 2009, 2010, that period of time we started angel investing, started working, not started as angel investing, but I would say started more as advisors and mentors to share with the ecosystem what's going on in this space. And then I think after we got out of full-time work in 2014. I was in that second phase of life I didn't know what to do with myself. So 14, 15, 16, I think so-called Portfolio Life where you did a bit of everything, social work and everything, and I just felt like there's no bite in life. So 2017, and 2018, we decided that we need to find an anchor again. And I realized personally we're doing a lot of investing then. And then I realized what I really enjoy is interacting with the founders, and how I can really support them. So by then we already had 20 plus direct investments and also invest in BC. But then I also realized that to better support the founders, I have to bring more people into this because on a personal level, no matter how big your pot is, it's a limited bullet, right?

So if I can get more people into the space, I can support more founders and I can bring more angels who have a wider breadth of skill set to support the ecosystem that's why I set up Angel Central in 2018 and then I become really more like a professional angel in that sense, and also by then we realized, so I invest together with my husband, and also realized that into investing, allow outside of the home interaction, no longer talking to the computers, just talking to the bankers, or just talking to the children. Life is a lot more interesting after that. Yeah, that's more than a minute I think.


Jeremy Au: (05:03)

As much time as you need. And so, you know what's interesting is that you, became interested in startups via a founder and eventually as an angel investor. So what attracts you to startups? Versus, there's so many professions, right? In business in Southeast Asia. What keeps you in it? Yeah. Maybe why you started and why you continue. Yeah.


Shao-Ning Huang: (05:24)

Do you mean why I became a founder? Okay. So I became a founder as a fresh grad and so in me, so I grew up in the, I'm a Taiwanese, by birth, so in the sense actually, almost all Taiwanese have this belief that they can be a business owner and so I grew up in that environment and think, and I always thought that I would join my dad in this business and everything when I grow up or when I graduate. That didn't happen, but that idea of running my own stuff never went away. So that's why I studied business, and that's why I was always thinking I'll do it, but I actually didn't have a timeline and then when the opportunity came it just happened and it didn't help that when I was in the US between 96 and 99, you saw so much Dot Com stories at the excitement and then at the age of 20 early twenties, you feel like you are on top of the world. You can do anything that you want, right?

So when the opportunity came and I just felt that, I gotta give it a try and then I realized how little I know about everything in this world and then you realize the power of money, then you realize the power of learning. Yeah. That's how I became a founder, and also there is the truth that we launched the business in March 2000. NASTAC crashed in April 2000. So nobody is gonna fund you. Right? But I just didn't believe that we couldn't make it. So I think it's that, that's stubbornness, and you could call it resilience, but I just cannot believe that we couldn't do it. So we just go out and sell.


Jeremy Au: (07:07)

And what's interesting is that you were able to, as you said, cash out and then you decided to angel invest instead of just investing, right? I mean, come on. As you just mentioned, the Dot Com crashed. I mean, a lot of people lost their shirts. Right. So, there's a lot of conservative stocks to do. There's bonds, boring, very good. Just real estate.


Shao-Ning Huang: (07:27)

Most ones are doing very well now.


Jeremy Au: (07:28)

Yeah, exactly right. So, you decided to do angel investing. So can how, how did you start entering Angel investing as a category and asset class, personally?


Shao-Ning Huang: (07:37)

I think in a very true way, I didn't go in thinking that I want to do angel investing, and it was really, I think in 2014, 15, that period of time. Okay, 14, I was busy doing with my confinement, so I had my fourth kid then 15, 16, really having a lot of coffee because there's so much time on your hand and I was just very happy sharing the journey, helping the founders, but it was true that journey I realized so the founders need your first dollar of investment, first hire, and first sales dollar and it's true, those interactions, I realized how acute three are lacking in the ecosystem and so I could support them. I could support them by talking to them, adjusting their mindset, sharing stories, and what didn't work.

But I realized the first dollar of investment, like I say, even if I Bulls would support everyone, it's not going to be sensible. So how do I support them better? So initially it really started by sharing stories, helping them to shorten their learning curve. But along the way you realize putting in the dollar together is a good way to, invest is a good way to support, especially provider, that you really believe in the story so for me personally, the investments are done. I'm not an impact per se investor, but I would like startups that have that overlay of helping mankind helping in a certain way. And then Der Shing, who is a very financially number-sensitive person. So the two of us kind of like work together to build a portfolio. But when we build up Central, it's really because we, we saw them, in a sense, is hype and then we, people around us start seeing what we are doing, and they're curious and a lot of our friends are mid-career or they're business targets.

They have money, but they just how to enter this space. Right? So we started running workshops and start having a casual community and that kind of just happened, but I think it's the satisfaction of seeing that spark in the founder's eye when something that works, when something that I say works for them and then when you see the business owners or the professionals, they come in and say that this is something that actually I think beyond my dollar, I could spend some time to help. So we don't encourage our members to be all in, but we will suggest that going slow, but the key is it must be a business that you support and it must be a founder that you can see yourself talking to at least on a money basis.

Try not to be passive, but don't also go in thinking that you wanna think about the wheel and be the driver. It's a balance, but I think that's actually how we can support the founders a lot more because especially the young founders sometimes they don't have a sell or they don't know how to manage relationships as it took me, I would say, years to learn how to manage teams. Right? Yeah. So those are things that actually we could share experiences to cut the shorter learning curves. Yeah.


Jeremy Au: (10:48)

So you started sharing about some of the lessons that people have learned as an angel investors and that you personally are helping coach, syndicate members to do so. Any particular personal lessons that you learned? Because, you've done over 44 startups, and investments, right? So how, what lessons have you personally learned as an angel investor over that time?


Shao-Ning Huang: (11:08)

I've learned not to be emotional and I have learned so, so one data that I would like to shout out is I think because as a woman investor and I invest together with my husband, I will say, because of my presence and my involvement, about 35 to 38% of my portfolio are a women's CEO founder, and almost half of my companies have a women cofounder. So women's CEO or women's solo founders are, I mean, a category that certain investors shy away from and so personally when I started, I was a little bit emotional about this and there are cases where I would say that I actually, we used to have this silver bullet rule between Der Shing and me. We had one silver bullet each per year, and there was actually one case where I was emotional about it and then I invested in that solo women founder.

It turned out to be a disaster. So I learned what I want to be listening, to by nudging, listening, and investing. I should never use my silver bullet simply because my husband gave objective data to say why it's not the case. But I do have two other cases of solo women founders doing well. So it's not a saying that women founders do not work, but it's more, I gotta remember that I will listen to them, but I still got to evaluate using hard data and support because it's a good case, not because it's a solo women founder, but should never shy away from that conversation in the first place.


Jeremy Au: (12:55)

So that's an interesting intersectional problem, right? Obviously, women hold up half the sky. So obviously I think in business and everywhere else, I think there are in terms of talent and opportunity, pretty much it should be half on average. And then obviously women also buy a lot of things, right? They buy, for example, they make household decisions, they make business decisions, and they make a lot of consumer spending is driven by women. So I'll say at least half the economy is, are also driven by women as well, right? From a buying piece.

But also, like you said there is a conception that women founders, unfortunately, are underperforming the market, right? As you said. So people shy away from that. And then also there's you who want to support female founders, right? So what do you think is the reality of that? I s there are, is there reasons for underperformance, is there, or is it like the market, is this totally underpricing or mispricing the opportunity here? What do you see?


Shao-Ning Huang: (13:49)

For our talk four years on this day but maybe, just succinctly putting across that this is my view. I think the business world is a very masculine environment. The choice of languages. The style of languages, the way you carry yourself, it's a very masculine environment and men have been dominating the business world for industrial H until now, right? So because of that, it's entrenched and people do not realize that in a sense I think for women who have well, you will notice that there are certain traits about them, unknowing, knowingly or unknowingly. They have done well in their own corner. They're very masculine in masculine, not in appearance, but masculine in the way that thinks and the way they project.

So for a new founder or for women who are entering the space and keeping to their language style is feminine. There is going to be miscommunication because the existing environment will judge the founder using the language style that they're used to. So typically women like to end sentences, and women make statements using question marks. So women will tell you, I think I can do this. Yes, we can. Right? But the guy founder will be like, yes, we can do this. This is how we're going to do it. So you see that definitive way versus the women are more, you can say it's indirect, but because we're just not used to the confrontational. So imagine these two styles being seen in the IC meeting and half more than half of the room, even if there's a female sitting on the other side of the table, they're gonna judge it the way that they are used to in the business environment.

So you will see that woman as less confident. So one thing that I share with the female founders who are going to fundraising or in any negotiation stage is that always do your sentence this. And it doesn't end with the question, the intonation, the way you speak, the way you carry, not to the extent to say that please wear pants and don't wear a skirt. That actually, some people actually advise that because it's the outward appearance that you're doing it. But for me, it's just more the style, the confidence and you don't also, there's a finite line between aggression and assertive assertiveness. So you gotta know how to balance that.

The other thing is literally you gotta press your voice down a little bit so that you are grounded kind of feel and I think a lot of people, men, women, don't realize this part about women. I would say women are capable, but when you don't really when you're not used to the environment that you're behaving in, you bring your natural style. So that is something that I feel is it's, in a sense, it's superficial, but it can be easily and quickly addressed.


Jeremy Au: (16:50)

What's interesting is that you said that you also coach female investors, right? And they say they themselves are interpreting it with that lens. So that's interesting, right?


Shao-Ning Huang: (17:02)

I wouldn't say I coach. On the investor side, I'm very mindful that everyone has a different checklist-style, and pre-preference in there for the investment. So I don't coach, coach per se, but I will share what I think, what triggers me to invest and then what triggers them to invest, it could be very different, but I would say a lot of women when you get to the level when you are able to invest and you're investing out of your own bank account, these are women who have survived in the business environment for a long time, so they're really masculine in the way they function. So just be, it's just more reminding so that they are mindful of what the women on the other cell table are seeing and don't read it in the conventional. But that said, I will say a lot of women found this part. I think I probably get killed after saying this. I dunno whether, I did this, I did have this conversation with two other women investors, women angels who have been investing for a long time. A lot of women found this, especially solo founders.

They have both a victim mindset plus a hero mindset set. They feel that they gotta do everything and then nobody appreciates it at all. But I never heard of this complaint from any male founders. A lot of female founders are they take it very personally, but they feel that they gotta save the world, and that's very tricky to handle.


Jeremy Au: (18:33)

Yeah, I mean, yeah, I understand it to some extent. I remember I was fundraising in the US and I was an Asian male. My cofounder was a Caucasian female and I definitely remember an investor at some point, who said to us like, oh, it's good. We can check you twice under diversity. And I was like okay. And I, I felt both of those dynamics. Right.


Shao-Ning Huang: (19:00)

Yeah, I am very interested that you mentioned this. No, because in the US I was actually invited to join a conference, a dialogue where I have put either minority investor and minority founder slash investor. I got shocked by it because I never felt that, but I think the environment in the US I think it's really very tricky.


Jeremy Au: (19:23)

Yeah, so I think it's really less, not necessarily just a women thing, but it's really more like an outsider, insider, right? When you're a minority, the majority is just, when you're outside, you're both hero and victim, right? Which is, I think, true, right? I look at it as a judgment thing more like it is that's what I think I had that feeling myself personally. Right? So, I was doing education, right? So people were like, oh yeah, it makes sense for you to be doing education and I'm just I was just looking at, I was just like, I can't even. Yeah. so I think, I think it's a fair point, right? And I think what's interesting actually is that what I've noticed is that, I met, obviously, about half my portfolios or are female founders as well. But I think one thing I noticed is that obviously they, we meet and then obviously I think they often ask me after that is like, Hey, are there any female angels that could come on? Right. I think, and one thing I realized is that the male founders I've met they're just like, who has money? Let's go. Right?

Doesn't matter, you're like, male, woman, white, green, yeah. purple, let's go. Right. Whereas I think what I've noticed for sure is that I think there's a lot of female founders who are looking for or feel like they, there aren't that many female angels, right? Women that they like to have. And I think it's very important to them, and I think it makes sense, right? It's an affinity dynamic there.


Shao-Ning Huang: (20:43)

So for Angel Central, we have 140 members. Hundred 20 plus individuals. The balance is family officers. Yes, individual members, less than 80 per eight one 8% are women. But interestingly on the family officers, the reps are more than half are women, so they are women in the space, probably those who are making direct investment-related decisions are a lot lesser and I think in the ecosystem we know, I mean, I know three, two to three funds, they have a very direct women decision-making process. Women-led IC meetings and but I think not a big number.


Jeremy Au: (21:30)

So what's driving that from your perspective?


Shao-Ning Huang: (21:39)

What's driving that? I think first of all, a lot of, I mean if, let's say we're talking about institutional investment environment fund based fund management side, probably a lot the women were involved in this space from what I could see right now. A lot of them are in the financial compliance, and legal site. Less than 10% I know are actually in the operating site I ran other than, they're in the deal sourcing. But I think I don't see a lot in that decision making process in the IC process. This could be because maybe fewer women are willing to step forward and I mean, we have had one case recently where the women stepped back. She's actually at the forefront, but because of family commitment, she has to pull back a little bit. Right? I guess women have to shelter, I mean, to make sure they balance their life. It's a very personal decision. There's nothing wrong with it, but the outcome is just this.


Jeremy Au: (22:58)

So, I think you've always been a big voice, right? For more women professionals to join Angel Investing. I've heard you speak about that on panels. You've also spoken about that personally. From your perspective, why should more women professionals, why should they go out and angel investing?


Shao-Ning Huang: (23:15)

Why should they do it? I would say for on multiple levels. So one thing about. Women, I won't say all women, but I would say quite a few of the women I met, they care a lot about outcome and impact based business outcomes. So it's beyond the P&L. It's the how many jobs you create, how many lives that you impacted, and if you want to talk about this true charity, Then that's one way to do it. But the other way is if you could be involved with startups from earlier days, it doesn't have to be an impact based, property based uplifting business in that sense, but you could nudge the founders to do things in a certain way, to get them to a more open-minded, to get them to be more conscious and aware of certain behaviours.

So for one thing, I mean the password nowadays is carbon footprint. So if you are working with a founder who is in space energy consumption, and then staff, you could nudge them to behave in a certain way, to expand in a certain way. So it's actually, to me personally, I believe that it's not true that startup cannot be ESG conscious. Actually, a fact, a lot of startup can be s d driven, but of course not all 17 of them. But you gotta so that certain targets are all on the second tier level how to improve that so it can happen. So I think women can make this happen and sometimes, of course, at the start level, we were very conscious of how additional demands bring out the cost can cost, but we can be mindful and nudge to the mindsets, and that has a long lasting effect.


Jeremy Au: (25:07)

Yeah, I think the impact part is really important and I think one interesting dynamic, and we've talked about this in the past, is really about, new and financial investors who are also looking at it from a return perspective. Right. So could you share a little bit more about what are the, say, common barriers slash things they need to understand which includes both financial investors as well as women professionals, right? In terms of rate return and what they can get.


Shao-Ning Huang: (25:30)

Yeah, so I would say, so first thing across about both men and women who invest, the one key thing that of course, we're mindful of is the returns and whether the portfolio can, is the portfolio structured in a way to give you regular returns or just percentage returns at the end of the cycle? Right. So typically your bonds and your equities still give you a percentage of return. You aim for, ideally a balanced portfolio between seven and 8% per annual. But the early stage investment, what personally I would think of it as the legacy bucket is where I want to get the. So on a personal level, I have the rainy day bucket.

I have the daily cash need bucket, and then I have my legacy bucket. What I want it to multiply. So PE investing, early stage investing should belong to this part and it should be it, it should be this. The proportion of it should be impactful on your overall portfolio so that when it is multiplied by three x, it has an impact on it, but it has to be a consistent effort. So one key thing about risk management is portfolio thinking. So you, when you have multiple asset classes, that is a portfolio of asset classes within each port, each asset class itself. You further diversify, have multiple entry not entry points, and multiple units of investment so that you manage your risk for the, and Another thing about the early stage is that you have to be vintage thinking. You have to do it over five, seven, ideally 10 years so that you go in at different times. I mean, if you did everything from 2022 2020 to 2022, you probably enter a most expensive era.

But this year is different. This year you can see it coming down and then, you make use of the market situation, right? So it is that is actually one key thing that investor cross bot should think about and I will say, of course, crypto can give you 20 x 200 x in a couple of weeks, but I don't know whether those days are coming back. I mean, I never joined, I didn't join it. Right. I missed it. Right. I wished I was brave enough to join earlier on. But I think that is actually one thing that people got to bear in mind. Coming to women investors, I know women, especially, high-net-worth ladies. Of them, I know the way that they spend on, like just now, we are talking the MS bags, each bag, some of the limited additions that the price of the bank, it's almost two to three times my personal per enjoy investing budget. So it's like easily half a mill client number. I so some people believe that luxury items, it's an asset class. It's capital, you can get capital returns on it. I'm actually not in the game, so I'm not really sure about that.

Yeah, so I feel that this, and also the other thing is when you buy a bike, you are not impacting anyone. You are impacting that salesperson's commission but you're not impacting mankind. You're not impacting the number of jobs created, there's no multiplying effect in that sense. Yeah. So I feel that for women who care about paying forward, for women who really believe that they can further their impact in life, enjoying nursing is actually a good way to do it and you don't need to do it in a big way. Right. I think if you started small, 20,000, or 30,000 can be one check. Manage it over five, seven years to get a portfolio. 20 cases that are maybe just two MS bags.


Jeremy Au: (29:14)

I always remember as a kid, I was always confused about this handbag, motorcycle Ts, right? Because why would someone, ride and be like, maybe, yeah, it's a wallet inside? I always thought they thought was trying to steal the Ford and a wallet inside and then, as you said, I've only recently likened it to the retail value where I said up half a billion dollars per bag and I'm like, oh my God, I could, I can't even think of wearing a half a billion dollar thing. And I lose my bag quite often as well. Right. So I'm like, I forget my bag, or I leave you at the bag, with my laptop just to like, go to the restroom. So, yeah, I'd be like, wow. Now I understand there's a good ROI for motorcycle, head-back keys, right? And like you said, right.

I definitely started noticing yet I have some folks as you said, I think obviously look at it as art. They look at it as, consumption cause they get, and enjoy it and also they look at it as a conservative, like you said, they feel like they can definitely get a money back. There'll be some appreciation over time. So I think there's some, like I said, conservative capital appreciation, that they look at it as a safe investment but yeah, I think one thing I noticed was like, yeah, someone had a hundred bags. I saw that on the shelves. In my head, I think I kind of realized was like actually less like a 50 million seed fund. Right. That's larger than some VCs in Southeast Asia and on a wall. Right.


Shao-Ning Huang: (30:30)

I actually know someone who actually installed a security system to look after that particular room where all her bags are, and this is Singapore. It's not like in LA where you know you have the whole house on anti-theft system. This is Singapore, we actually have land housings along sixth avenue that has no gate. Right. And then this lady actually installed, she had that many bags that she installed a security system for that room.


Jeremy Au: (30:58)

So next time when the VC asks for an LP commit, they say, Hey, this, just comment two bags, you have two bags. Transfer the bags. I'll do that, I'll handle the resale value from there. So, don't even give cash. Don't eat a wire. This has been the two bags. Yeah. But I think, as you said, I think it's very fair, right? Which is, I think, it's, less about the bags, right? But it's the fact that every million dollar check, for example, can potentially, create thousands of jobs down the road, right? Because of the business you're building, but also kind of create a future, right? And, I think one interesting part is like, I think it's tough because, I think stock markets right, is like oh 7% rate of return, right? And it's consistent.

You can put it on an index, you don't have to touch it, you don't have to think about it. You get 7%, and then it's a, it's very liquid as well versus I think a lot of prospective angel investors really struggle because they're like, okay, if I, angel invest first, they have to do a lot of work, have to turn up, I have to make votes, I have to make a decision. I'm not very good. And then if I get it right, then maybe I'll get, yeah, 10, 20, 30% net return, which is very good. Maybe, I can be very wrong and I can lose it all, but the worst part is that I have to wait 10 years before I can exit. Right? So it's very illiquid as a return and so how do you sit down with folks and kind of like walking through this thing? Yeah.


Shao-Ning Huang: (32:12)

So actually whatever you say just now is what I say to and then the key is, so I do not believe in romanticizing what this asset class is about, so I'll rather spell it out and that individuals digest and filter because they need to go through their own system and I actually would discourage members who just joined to start investing immediately. My typical feedback to them is that listen to at least three, or five pitches. So every pitch is four companies on average, you at least listen to 20 pitches. Go through the process of analyzing, and talking to the founders before you write your first check. There are some founders who are so charismatic, so you know it, it just draws you to them, right?

That will trigger your first investment, good and bad. Because if that guy is really, so still ends up beyond the vision, beyond the charisma. There's execution capability. So that will be good I was gonna use the word good bet, but I will say it's a considered decision. It has been a considered decision, but there is a lot of that intuition as well, especially if it's a space that you understanI am not for angels who invest because it's a hot space because it's a space that all my friends are saying is going to make a lot of money, but it should be a space that you feel that personally there is some affinity and some a space that you think you can be relevant because as you said, enjoy investing is very time consuming before and after, and unfortunately, before investment, a lot of data that you're looking at if you're doing post seed, pre A or even A+ round, you have some data to back on. But if you're doing pre seed that spreadsheet, sometimes that spreadsheet only had three lines and then when you drill down to tree lines, you realize that it really casts well in the air.

There are no patterns, to recognize, and the patterns also created by the founders are imagined. Right. So it's really how you read the founder, how you decipher that part, and then you apply your own personal understanding of the space or your personal observation of the market to see whether that kind of imagination makes sense or not. So it's very much of you understanding yourself. So while the good founder is very reflective of themselves, an angel has to reflect on her own value system before you set what is the space that you want to go in.d. There are some angels who want to be called an angel because it's a good decoration, I thought. Right. You see some LinkedIn profiles. I know one lady who has what, 70, 80 syndicates and then she just takes it to her name. I was like, wow. It's a good decoration, I'll say, but I think for me, I invest because I believe in the founder, I want to believe that business is gonna make a difference to the ecosystem, to the economy down the road because there are a lot of problems in the space, in life, business, economies, financial technology and everything and if you don't support this new idea to disrupt, to support, to better, then we will never charge.

I mean, one thing that I always remember, IBM may be a passive thing. I mean, my first job was with IBM. I always use IBM. It's a hundred year old company that went through these days. But at the peak of it, the number of jobs and amount of technology, the kind of innovation that it was giving, they couldn't have done it if there was no support. It just said during the climb for IBM. I mean the style is different. It's just a four hour current era. A climb is no longer a number of years, but take this way and with resources from the ecosystem, we need to know that if we don't support, things are not gonna change and coming back to the ESG part if we don't support the early stage climate tag answer, I think we don't have year 3000. Maybe it's because we don't have a year 2,500. Right? We don't have that. And I mean, those Sci-Fi is about masks and, and whatever, Jupiter and whatever thing set existence, but do we care? If we care, we'll do something.


Jeremy Au: (36:47)

And on that note, what times or experiences have you been where you've been brave?


Shao-Ning Huang: (36:54)

Oh, brave. So my financial decisions are usually very considered, especially since I have a very smart husband who is very, who, who told me, right? I think the really brave thing is it's more a personal experience, I think after I turn 35, 38, given a period of time and very, my, I'm a very Asian value person. This is a bit personal, I decided to be brave and cut off the toxic relationship in my life so that I can be happier. Unfortunately, it came from my immediate family and I had to do that. It was very difficult, but it was driving me to the extent of being extremely depressed, and very insecure, and I had to make that call. It was hurtful. I, I think hurt myself in that process as well, but I felt that I'm coming to my forties. I have another 30, 40 years ago if I continue to hang around, I'm going to be miserable and if I'm miserable, my husband would be miserable. My kids would be miserable. So I had to do certain things. Yeah.


Jeremy Au: (38:23)

Yeah. It's tough, right? Because I think, I have experienced toxic relationships, right? And. I don't know. I feel like if someone gave me poison, I would be like, yeah, I'm not gonna drink it. Right. It's pretty obvious. Right. But I don't know why relationships, is the same thing, but then you're just drinking poison every other day, but you still keep drinking.

Shao-Ning Huang: (38:46)

Yeah, so so, I think to be brave about that was it took me, it was a very long struggle. It was a struggle from, I was at least 50 to 20 years struggle, and then I decided that I have to cut it off. And so when I make that decision, I told my husband that I think I'll probably go to hell. I mean, I'm Catholic. I grew up in a Taiwanese environment, so I'll go to the, for what I did, but I think I need to look after myself for the next 30 years on, on above the surface so that I can be, continue to be seen and continue to be relevant because this is what I'm aware of. This is what I know. I don't know what happens afterwards.


Jeremy Au: (39:37)

Yeah, it happens, right? And for those struggling with it, any advice you have for them on how to process or think through it or feel through it?


Shao-Ning Huang: (39:50)

I think I have the masculine gift of compartmentalizing, so you have to cut it off and unfortunately, In the middle of the night when everything is quiet, that part comes and becomes the whole thing. So you need to be, I mean, I learned to be very aware of it, and I learned to extract myself so that you don't let it consume you and so the good thing about it is I'm functional in the morning. So in that 10 years, when I was dealing with it on the surface, nobody could. But in the middle of the night, it's so, also my husband, he's the one who got to better the burn of it. Right? It's really very tough and then sometimes you get hysterical and just couldn't manage it. So it's you. I mean, I learn to compartmentalize my life, compartmentalize my feelings, and then force it out of you because you don't address it yourself first.

You have got to see it as, because part of this party and everything like in Chinese it means to look after shun means obligate and when you don't obligate, you don't do whatever they ask of you. Sometimes it's really unreasonable stuff. It just takes a toll on you because we have different value systems too. But we are told to, we're brought out to adhere completely. Because otherwise, you are not a good daughter, right? And so that is something that I was brought out to know, to say that is a hundred percent, two, 2000% wrong, but it makes me so unhappy, so miserable that it, it's just not worth it. So one thing I really learned throughout the process I had to keep extracting myself, looking at it as it is, and then learn why I feel a certain way and then deal with it.

The other thing was that I thought I wasn't brave enough. I should have sought professional help on this, but I couldn't, I somehow just couldn't do it, and that's why, maybe that's why it took so many years. Yeah. So maybe getting help, and getting someone to talk you through will be easier. Yeah.


Jeremy Au: (42:25)

Thank you. I really appreciate you sharing that, and I think it's very brave for you to have gone through that process and very brave for you to share for folks who have to process that. Right? As you said, life is long. Right. And if we have another 30, 40, 50 years ago, right?


Shao-Ning Huang: (42:38)

And that's why we're the government is increasing CPF contributions.


Jeremy Au: (42:43)

It's like government and we are responsible for our own happiness during this time.


Shao-Ning Huang: (42:47)

I expect the retirement age to be raised again soon.


Jeremy Au: (42:57)

I think I was reading something like an article saying like, our generation can live to about maybe 120. And I was like, okay? If we do everything right, and I was like, oh, okay, right.


Shao-Ning Huang: (43:07)

Yep. Life spend. Yeah. So yesterday I was looking at one startup. You probably know them. I think the idea is to manage help before we fall sick. That's how we need to address it. Not to the extent of biohacking. There's one story about some tech exit founder on some show who spent $2 million last year bio-hacking him. So that he's to the extent that now he's biological, he's, I think he's in his forties, but his heart's biological age is thirties and his gut is twenties or, or something. I can't remember.


Jeremy Au: (43:50)

On that note, thank you so much for sharing. I really appreciate the honesty and frankness here. I think the three big things I got away from this, of course, was the first was obviously the angel investor economics lessons you've learned personally and the mistakes that you've seen in yourself and other people as well. I thought it was a really interesting conversation because, you are one of the og angel investors in Southeast Asia, and so I think you have a very strong point of view, but also you've had the privileged position of a syndicate leader of Angel Central too and I think it's really a masterclass in this conversation. The second of course was, shining a torchlight on women founder and investor representation. So I think we talked about, business culture.

We talked about masculine coding and communication. How outsiders should adapt and evolve to be able to raise capital. Or the step up as an investor and also we talk about, what's driving some of the underlying representation slash trends, right? In the investor space but also I think that all investors should be excited to have a highly illiquid but strong way to return.


Shao-Ning Huang: (44:59)

And strong, strong cardiovascular muscle because you need to write off. 70% of your portfolio.


Jeremy Au: (45:07)

Yeah, so like you say, you say all these bad things first that you say, and there's a higher Richard, if you could do it right.


Shao-Ning Huang: (45:13)

But if you like the adrenaline of losing and winning, you go to the casino. Don't do angel investing because casino, you spend 12 hours there, and you get your up and down ready. But angel investing is time consuming, but it's rewarding because along the way, the learning, is not just about the founders, but about the industry, but also learning about yourself.


Jeremy Au: (45:35)

Yeah, that's so true and I think it's a great reminder for folks too. Also, as you said, potentially, have one last trip to the casino, or as you said, invest some of the Hermes bags as well to pay it forward and create jobs and create future lastly, I think thank you so much for, I think sharing, frankly, about how folks can think through about their own relationships, how to improve their own emotional health, and how to, like you said, compartmentalize, but also get professional help and make a decision about how to improve their own life. Right? So I really appreciate you taking the time to share. Thank you so much.


Shao-Ning Huang: (46:08)

Thanks, Jeremy. Have a good weekend.