Peng T. Ong on the traits of a good investment
MANILA, Philippines — Over the past 10 years, Southeast Asia has been enjoying a rapid rise of entrepreneurial talent. With access to new technological resources and an audience that’s 600 million strong (who also represent a population of some of the most social and mobile users), Southeast Asia is a region rife with opportunities for startups everywhere. The challenge now is weeding out the promising startups from the ones that need to go back to the drawing board.
Funding the right startups is what could spell out the future of the Southeast Asian tech landscape.
There’s no one better suited for this endeavor than serial entrepreneur, Peng T. Ong — also known as one of the most successful technology entrepreneurs from Singapore. He’ll be speaking at #ThinkPh, our annual tech summit, this coming July 21 at the Newport Performing Arts Theater, Resorts World Manila.
He first turned heads in 1995 when he designed and created the software for Match.com, an online dating website which, at the time, was a revolutionary way to form relationships. Match.com was then acquired by IAC in 1999, a company that continued the legacy of online dating services with subsequent products like OkCupid, Chemistry.com, and – you guessed it – Tinder.
Peng T. Ong later founded Interwoven, a California-based content management software firm that boasts of being one of the few Singaporean-founded businesses to be listed on the Nasdaq stock market. It was sold to British software firm Autonomy in 2009, which was later on acquired by Hewlett-Packard.
His last venture was Encentuate, which was acquired by IBM. In total, all 3 of the business he founded now generate annual revenues that total more than $1 billion.
Eventually, perhaps due to his rich history and success as an entrepreneur himself, Peng T. Ong became a venture capitalist, making matches of a different sort. First through his Beijing-based firm, GSR Ventures, and now as the Managing Director and Founder Partner of venture capital firm, Monk’s Hill Ventures.
Peng T. Ong knows a good investment. And more importantly, he knows the potential technology has to impact the world.
So, what is a good investment according to Peng T. Ong?
In an article that Peng T. Ong wrote himself for Tech In Asia, he points out what he looks for in a startup. He starts out by assessing the (1) entrepreneur and then (2) the business.
According to him, a successful entrepreneur is one who has clarity and resilience.
Clarity in the context of purpose — why you’re doing this startup and what you hope to achieve. It’s what will define your choices, from your target market to your team members, as well as your business model. It's what will help you figure out what’s important from what isn’t.
The second is resilience, or as he puts it “the ability to emotionally bounce back.”
“As an entrepreneur, shit is going to happen and how you handle that is the difference between success and not.”
Resilience is secondary to clarity, because clarity is what fuels your resilience. If you are sure about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, then you are more likely to keep going.
The next thing that Peng T. Ong looks at a potential investment opportunity is the business. There are two phases a startup goes through: The first is the experimental phases and the second is the crank-up phase.
In the experimental phase, you’re trying to figure out what works. You test out different models that will acquire users, generate renege, and help scale your business. You wash, rinse, and repeat until you find a model that you can execute and replicate on a larger scale.
The crank-up phase is where venture capitalists (VCs) like those at Monk’s Hill Ventures come in. Once you have a blueprint plan that has the potential to be profitable, you can use the capital received from VCs to replicate your small-scale successes in mass-scale.
These three factors are really what he looks for in a business: scalability, repeatability, and profitability. That, combined with a team full of purposeful and resilient entrepreneurs, is what will catch the eye of even the most fastidious of VCs.
If you want to learn more about what makes organizations successful in today’s competitive market, attend this year’s #ThinkPh and listen to Peng T. Ong’s talk about technology and the future. He's just one of a long lineup of decorated speakers. Buy your tickets today! — Rappler.com
Light meal and coffee will be served during the event