Asia Early Stage Investment Summit

19 September 2018

09:00 – 13 :00

BANSEA is hosting the Asia Early Stage Investment Summit as an event partner of SWITCH SG 2018 this year, encompassing various themes that have been trending in the startup ecosystem and early stage funding landscape across Southeast Asia.


Sivapalan Vivekarajah

President, Malaysian Business Angel Network (MBAN)

Mdm Nguyen Phi Van

Chairwoman, Saigon Innovation Hub

Nguyen Phi Van holds an MBA from Australia majoring in marketing communication. Her experience spans over 20 years as a senior executive in brand, retail, and franchise development across global emerging markets in Asia, The Middle East, Africa, and Eastern Europe. She is currently board advisor at the Asia Pacific Chief Marketing Officer Council (CMO), SME & startup development advisor to various government agencies, and chairwoman of Saigon Innovation Hub. Phi Van is 2015 award winner of Retail Leadership presented by Asia Retail Congress, and 2017 award winner of 100 Top Great Retail Minds presented by World Retail Congress. Phi Van is the author of four books, “Franchising – The Short Route to Global Markets”, “Cross The Rice Field, Reach The World”, “Global Citizen Handbook - Version 4.0”, and “Go Global: An MSME’s guide to global franchising``

James Tan

Chairman, BANSEA

James Tan is Managing Partner at Quest Ventures, a leading venture fund for technology companies that have scalability and replicability in large internet communities. Prior to this, James was co-founder and COO of 55tuan, a NASDAQ listed e-commerce group that grew to more than 200 cities and 5,000 employees across China. As the first Singaporean and one of the rarefied few foreigners to found a public listed internet company in China, and for his investments in the next generation of entrepreneurs, James was recognised as an outstanding overseas Chinese by the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council of China.

James currently serves as advisor, board member or trustee on public and private organisations such as Action Community for Entrepreneurship, Applied Innovation Institute, Business Angel Network of Southeast Asia, Beijing CYL Joint Committee on Entrepreneurship Development, Beijing Software Industry Association, National Research Foundation CGAP Fund, and Sports Excellence Business. James has been guest speaker at China-focused and entrepreneurship events such as ITB Berlin, Private Equity Insights, Stanford-PARC Digital Cities, SWITCH, Tech in Asia, and World Islamic Economic Forum. He is an advisor or mentor at Chinaccelerator, Founder Institute, IBM SmartCamp, Startupbootcamp, and PSA unboXed. He has guest lectured at Fudan, HKUST, IE, NUS, Tsinghua, and UC Berkeley.

James is a graduate of the University of South Australia, and received scholarships from both Beijing and Singapore governments for his MBA from Tsinghua University in partnership with MIT. He studied and dropped out of computer science at NUS during the first dot-com era to work on two-sided markets. For leisure, James enjoys photography and has been featured in ComputerWorld, Readers’ Digest, and commercially represented by Liaison Agency. He backpacks Asia and volunteers in marine conservation as a PADI scuba-diving and DAN dive-safety instructor.

Kenneth Bok

Director, Blocks

Kenneth Bok is Director of blocks, an integrated blockchain services platform. He first read the Bitcoin whitepaper in 2014 and has been participating in token crowdsales ever since. Some of his notable early investments include Ethereum, Cosmos and Tezos. He is the lead organizer and founder for De/Centralize, a leading conference on the decentralized web. He is also an angel investor and advisor to blockchain projects.

Kenneth has over 10 years of experience in trading, capital-raising, investments and technology. He started his career as an equities trader at Goldman Sachs on the One Delta trading desk in London from 2008-2010 and subsequently moved on to become an independent trader and investor. He has also done brief stints at the GIC, BlackRock and Aurel-Leven BGC.

Kenneth holds an M.Eng. in Mechanical Engineering (Imperial College London) and an M.A. in Philosophy & Religion (California Institute of Integral Studies). As part of his passion for humanitarian and ecological causes, he has done pro-bono work for the Earth Law Center, and is Advisor and Singapore Ambassador for Horyou, a social media platform for good.

Ramesh V. Raghavan

Board Member, BANSEA

Ramesh V. Raghavan is an investor, mentor & advisor and board member in several start-ups. Ramesh’s angel investments have been in number of sectors such as gaming, education, Internet of Things, accelerators, fin-tech businesses where he has led and syndicated investments.

Ramesh has been a Board Member of the Business Angels Network of South East Asia (BANSEA) since 2014 and is also on the Board of BANSEA Fund I, an early stage investment vehicle. He had earlier also co-founded Tenshi Peak Ventures, a Singapore-based early stage investor vehicle. He has been also a speaker in several angel investment conferences in Asia. Since 2012 he has been actively involved in the venture capital, entrepreneurship & innovation space across South East Asia, India & Hong Kong and is currently focusing on entrepreneurial initiatives in the fin-tech and education space.

Michael Blakey

Managing Partner of Cocoon Partners, UK Angel Investor of the Year 2015

According to Michael, your entrepreneurial journey starts young He should know. He paid his way through college in the US by running some of the best music events in the city. Michael loves building things – including companies.

And Michael isn’t your typical investor – he’s been in the trenches. He has hustled. And he has succeeded. Michael attributes his atypical journey to becoming a successful entrepreneur-turned-investor to having struggled for years in school, owing to his dyslexia. As a result, he was always on the lookout for ways to succeed outside of school. In turn, it is exactly this kind of differentiation and drive that he looks for in Founders as an investor today.

Since becoming an angel investor in 2000 through Avonmore Developments which he co-founded with his brother, Michael has invested in over 25 companies in the UK and achieved 6 successful exits. He has also invested in 8 early stage companies in Southeast Asia including Anchanto, MyDoc and Nugit under the name of Cub Capital since 2013. Most recently, Michael was named ‘UK Angel Investor of the Year 2015’ by the UK Business Angel Association, selected as one of the ‘Maserati 100’ and voted by AngelsNews into the list of ‘Business Angels You Should Know’. These accolades were not attributed to Michael only in recognition of his successful investments, but for the relentless support he gives to the founding and management teams of the companies he invests in as well as his generous contributions over the years towards building the startup and investor ecosystem in the UK.

Patti Chu

Greater China Director, AVPN

Dr. Rex Yeap

Vice Chairman, BANSEA

Dr. Rex Yeap is a Partner of Invention Capital directing efforts towards the creation, commercialization of novel inventions, investing and incubating early stage companies. In addition, he is a Vice Chairman of Business Angel Network (BANSEA) and he is also the co-founder of an angel investment fund (BANSEA Fund One) and served as the Chair in its Investment Committee Board for this fund. Dr. Yeap is also an investor-mentor in SiTF for its iJAM and ACE Grant programme. Over the past decades, Dr. Yeap angel investment portfolio includes early stage technology companies mostly in the Information Technology space.

Dr. Yeap is also part of the Adjunct Teaching Faculty at Nanyang Technological University in the Master of Science in Technopreneurship & Innovation programme and has extensive lectureship and facilitation experiences for both Masters and Bachelor degrees (1998 – present) in the area of computing and business management. Since 2006, he is a SCOPE-IP consultant with Intellectual Property Office of Singapore. Dr. Yeap is a Certified Patent Valuation Analyst with a Master of Science (Distinction) from University of Leeds and his post-doctoral research involved the invention of a few patented hedge fund systems. Dr. Yeap has over 25 years of experience across the Infocomm technology value chain that spans industry, government and academia. He started his career in the area of interactive digital media (specifically, computer game design and development) back in the late 80s. He was subsequently blessed to be among the pioneering (1997) patent mapping and analysis alumnus of Kent Ridge Digital Labs (National Science and Technology Board, now A*STAR).

Since then, he has been continuously involved in numerous patent mapping, analysis and strategy related ventures. He has worked with a range of international clients in their IP road-mapping and commercialization strategy through the use of proprietary and open innovation and patent analytics methodologies. Dr. Yeap was the co-founder of 3i Analytics and together with his team, they produced over 2000 original qualitative-quantitative technology IP reports and he also directed efforts to secure, design, develop and commercialise the next generation award-winning SurfIP portal. Dr. Yeap list of patents & publications is available in this website,

Chia Boon Chong

Director, Group Sustainability at Singtel

Boon Chong started his career with Singtel in 1994 in the Corporate Communications Division, focusing on the company's communications needs and public relations matters. He is a communications specialist with vast experience in the entire spectrum of this field including media relation, internal communication and event management.
He has been heading the Group Sustainability unit since March 2010, responsible for driving a wide range of sustainability and strategic community programmes to further entrench Singtel's position as a sustainable and responsible company.
Boon Chong currently sits on the Management Committee as the Treasurer of the Global Compact Network Singapore, an agency that promotes corporate social responsibility and sustainability in Singapore.
He holds a degree in Bachelor of Business Administration (2nd Upper Honours) from the National University of Singapore.

Alfie Othman

Head of the Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise, raiSE.

Alfie Othman has had a successful banking career of over twelve years in the banking sector. Alongside his private sector work, Alfie has devoted significant time to the public sector and civil society. Alfie is also recognized as a Social Enterprise practitioner within Singapore.

At present Alfie heads the Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise, raiSE.

raiSE was set up to raise awareness on social entrepreneurship and raise support for social enterprises (SE) in Singapore. raiSE hopes to strengthen the social enterprise sector in Singapore and encourage the growth of social enterprises as a sustainable way to address social needs.

raiSE has gained support from its multiple stakeholders in the Government, community and corporations. In particular, raiSE has secured up to $30million in funds from multiple stakeholders to grow social entrepreneurship over the next 5 years through programme funding, grants and impact investments.

Since 2016, Alfie has been appointed as a Fellow at SIM University, providing advice on Financial Inclusion and the emerging Fin Tech phenomenon.

Shoko Suzuki

Managing Director, Harbourfront Ventures

Based in Singapore, she invests in seed / pre-series A / series A companies primarily in fintech, blockchain, healthcare and clean technologies.

Prior to relocating to Singapore, she worked as healthcare equity analyst at Capital Group, one of the largest long-term equity / fixed income funds in the US with over $1trillion AUM, then worked as M&A advisor focused on cross-border deals between European mid-market and emerging Asian countries. She also worked for IFC in Washington DC, conducting the evaluation of the World Bank group’s EM investment portfolio, before co-founding a renewable energy startup based in Italy and Japan.

She holds BA in Environmental Planning from University of Tokyo, MBA from INSEAD and Master in Corporate Finance from SDA Bocconi

Dominic Mellor

Senior investment specialist & Head of MBI, Asian Development Bank (ADB)

Dominic is a senior investment specialist at the Asian Development Bank (ADB) responsible for designing and implementing programs that facilitate the deployment and scaling of impactful technologies and early-stage business models in the Asia and Pacific. Since 2016 he has designed and implemented 6 accelerator programs in emerging ASEAN focusing on fintech, agritech, travel tech, and smart city solutions in emerging ASEAN markets. Industry partners have contributed over $6 million towards these activities that have leveraged over $14 million investment. Dominic also designed and launched the Mekong Business Initiative (MBI) funded by the Government of Australia that aims to build the innovation ecosystem in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam. MBI has undertaken multiple activities including capacity-building of angel investors and incubators.

Main Themes

Angel Investing

Find out more about Angel investing from the Angels themselves! Find out how Angel investors manage their portfolio and learn from veterans in the early stage angel investment industry.

Southeast Asia

The focus will be on the Southeast Asia region, covering the Mekong Delta countries like Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and many more. Find out more about the opportunities and potential present in these exciting startup landscapes in Southeast Asia.

Impact Investing

With the rise of impact funds all over the world, learn more about how Southeast Asia is catching on with this trend and find out what the major players are up to.

Agenda 2018

9:00 | Opening and Welcome Speech

By BANSEA Chairman, James Tan

9:10 | Keynote: Angels Change The World, One Investment At A Time

Dr. V. Sivapalan, President of Malaysian Business Angel Network

9:30 | Panel Discussion: How Not To Fail At Angel Investing

Michael Blakey, Managing Partner of Cocoon Partners, UK Angel Investor of the Year 2015
Ramesh V. Raghavan, Board Member, BANSEA
Shoko Suzuki, Managing Partner at Harbourfront Ventures
Suse Reynolds, Angels Association New Zealand

10:10 | Fireside Chat: Alternative exits in SEA; The rise of Secondaries and Trade Sales.

James Tan, Managing Partner, Quest Ventures
Haiping Choo, Senior Vice President, CapBridge

10:30 | Fireside Chat: Looking at ICOs in a new light

Dr. Rex Yeap, Board Member, BANSEA
Kenneth Bok, Director, Blocks

10:50 | Panel Discussion: Zooming into the increasing potential of China and South Asia

Annie Lu, Head, Asia at Investible
Ravi Narayan, President, TiE Bangalore
Shameem Ahsan, General Partner, Fenox Venture Capital
Sam Lee, Co-founder, Nanyang Angelz
Suresh Mahadevan, BANSEA Member

11:30 | Panel Discussion: Perspectives on Impact Investing and whether Southeast Asia is ready for it

Alfie Othman, Head of the Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise, raiSE
Chia Boon Chong, Director, Group Sustainability at Singtel
Badri Pillapakkam, Partner, Omidyar Network
Patricia Chu, Director, AVPN

12:10 | Panel Discussion: Opportunities and Challenges in Early Stage Investment Scene of Southeast Asia

Mdm Nguyen Phi Van, Chairwoman, Saigon Innovation Hub
Dominic Mellor, Senior ADB Economist & MBI Project Lead, Asian Development Bank
Francis Simisim, Partner, Original Pitch Ventures
Willson Cuaca, Managing Partner, East Ventures

12:50 | Closing Remarks

By BANSEA Chairman, James Tan

Asia Early Stage Investment Summit

Gathering the Thought Leaders of tomorrow

The Asia Early Stage Investment Summit is held to bring likeminded yet individualistic investors together, fostering stronger support and a more vibrant ecosystem in the early stage funding landscape.

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