A contrarian’s advice for founders
- “It’s not all doom and gloom,” said 500 Global Managing Partner Vishal Harnal of the startup ecosystem. “It’s just that the narrative is so overwhelming that the markets are down that it drowns out the fact that fundraising is taking place.”
- While it may take founders longer to raise funding, Vishal shared that 500 Southeast Asia is writing larger checks to provide early-stage companies with capital for at least 18 to 24 months of runway, allowing them to delay their next fundraising round to focus on key company-building activities.
- “During downturns, it seems like the world is falling apart. The news cycle is horribly negative with stories of layoffs, downrounds, controversy, shutdowns, and fear. But we invest with decade-long time horizons. It gives us the benefit of taking a much longer term view and allows us to see downturns for what they really are – market cycles that will continue to happen. They don’t shake us and we support founders with that confidence,” he added.
- His advice for founders? “There’s a playbook for bull markets, and another playbook for bear markets. A different approach needs to be taken to build and grow companies in each of these markets, and the ability to switch between these two playbooks is the survival skill every founder must possess.”
- Read the full interview in Tech in Asia to find out why 500 is writing larger checks, what themes we are investing in, and more. A subscription may be required.
Customer is king, but talent is everything
- Speaking of layoffs and the downmarket, 500-backed logistics startup Haulio’s people-first principle has created a positive work environment that is attracting and retaining tech talent.
- Haulio could have just hired more people to get things going. But the team saw this as an opportunity to overhaul and simplify their workflows. Haulio believes it is important to give employees room to come up with solutions independently, allowing them to cultivate a sense of ownership and increase their sense of belonging to the company.
- “Being a smart team is not only about finding ways to help our employees be a lot more effective in delivering value to our customers, but also about helping our own team achieve a better worklife balance,” said Sebastian Shen, Co-founder & Chief Product Officer.
- Read the full story here.
Food security for the win
- Climate change is real — heatwaves and wildfires are killing crops all over the world. So, it’s no surprise that investors are doubling down on startups that are addressing global food security concerns.
- One such startup is 500-backed aquaculture company eFishery in Bandung, Indonesia. Co-founder and CEO Gibran Huzaifah, took aquaculture as a subject in school because it had the reputation of being an easy ‘A’ grade. He ended up being inspired to start his own fish farm and discovered how delicate the process of fish farming is. Too little feed and growth was stunted; too much and the fish could die.
- A monthly subscription fee to eFishery provides farmers with an automated dispenser powered by smart feeding technology. They can also sell their produce via a smartphone app that offers higher prices than most distributors.
- Read the full story on climate-resilient investments on Bloomberg.