Golden Gate Bridges Two Valleys Linking Silicon To KL

ARISING OPPORTUNITY

Golden Gate's Vinnie Lauria: Bridging Two Valleys, Linking Silicon To KL

U.S. based venture capital firm – Golden Gate Ventures open their doors to Malaysia by establishing their Kuala Lumpur office. It is said that it is easier to get into Harvard than trying to persuade Golden Gate to invest. AWANI Review speaks to their Founding Partner Vinnie Lauria on why moving into KL is crucial.

Golden Gate Ventures is an early-stage venture capital (VC) firm and has been investing in Southeast Asia since 2011. In the seven years of operations, they’ve backed e-commerce startups that have made it big, such as Carousell, Lenddo and RedMart.

“We love this region. We know that this part of the world offers some unique opportunity for startups to grow. If you can manage to grow here, you can surely grow elsewhere around the globe, says Vinnie Lauria, one of the Founding Partners of the VC.

In Singapore, the market is mature. That’s good for bringing in stability. But its neighbours, particularly that of Malaysia are so much interesting to look at

Lauria’s statement of this worldview is certainly a valuable truism to say the least.

Southeast Asia is the world’s fastest growing economy collectively. Some economies like Vietnam and Malaysia consistently grow at more than 5 percent per annum. Large countries like Indonesia have a huge population of over 260 million people, many of whom are already in the middle income segment, or fast growing into it.

“In Singapore, the market is mature. That’s good for bringing in stability. But its neighbours, particularly that of Malaysia are so much interesting to look at."

“We typically invest in internet and mobile startups across many sectors, including e-commerce, payments, marketplaces, mobile apps, and more, and many of them are here in Malaysia and is waiting to pump their growth with investments,” adds Vinnie.

The currency consideration also plays a major factor to investing in this region. With the depressed currencies of major ASEAN countries like the Ringgit and Rupiah, every dollar that the VC raises back in the States will mean they get more for their buck if they invest here.

“The valuations that we see here is a bit interesting. I can tell you that if we were to invest in the States, it’ll be a bit tricky because the valuations could be out of whack a bit. But things are relatively still stable in this part of the world. And yes, we are indeed happy to look at more investments if there is a business case to do so,” he says.

And just how much do they plan to commit?

“We have plans to invest over US$18 million (over RM75 million) in this region in the coming months. But let me tell you something, it is not always easy to get our funding. We have an extremely strict approval and filter process. In fact, our approval rates are much smaller than that of Harvard’s," he says, ending the interview on a sobering note.

Watch the full interview below:

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