Golden Gate Ventures announces first Entrepreneur in Residence, deepens portfolio growth strategy for 1.5 - 2nd generation founders

Golden Gate Ventures announces first Entrepreneur in Residence, deepens portfolio growth strategy for 1.5 - 2nd generation founders

Published: 04-05-2022 12:04:00 | By: Pie Kamau | hits: 346 | Tags:

Golden Gate Ventures, a venture capital fund in Southeast Asia founded by Silicon Valley natives, announced its first Entrepreneur in Residence, Tiago Costa Alves, as the firm deepens its portfolio growth strategy for what is calls the '1.5 – 2nd generation' of founders emerging in Southeast Asia.

As the Southeast Asia startup ecosystem enters a new decade, attracting more sources of capital as it gains global recognition for its status as an innovation hub, there will also be a sharp rise in startups vying for the attention of investors and partners in the next decade. While the attention was focused very much on funding support in the last decade, the next decade will be about VCs providing more holistic support to the '1.5 – 2nd generation founders'. Golden Gate Ventures' appointment of its first Entrepreneur in Residence is aimed precisely at providing a deeper level of support for this new breed of founders.

A part of the firm's portfolio services platform strategy, which it bolstered with the announcement of Partner Angela Toy last year, the Entrepreneur in Residence role has been structured to help entrepreneurs win in a new environment that has both increased opportunities but also greater pressures and threats.

"The Southeast Asia startup ecosystem has come into its own in the last decade. But with that maturity comes different expectations: first, for founders to lead innovation and create new business models; second, for founders to build startups that will grow into the next generation of multi-nationals; third and most importantly, the world is looking to SEA to create a global game-changer. This requires a different level of support altogether. We have redesigned our portfolio growth strategy grounded in these very different goals. The Entrepreneur in Residence position is a key part of the strategy," said Angela Toy, Partner for Portfolio Growth.

To this end, Tiago Costa Alves, formerly Vice President Asia Pacific at leading mobile app marketplace Aptoide, fits the bill, having spent close to a decade on Aptoide's startup development journey. Building up its go-to-market strategy, driving two successful rounds of fund-raising, establishing strategic partnerships with leading global smartphone players like Huawei, Xiaomi, Vivo, and Oppo, driving product innovation, and hacking revenue growth were all in a day's work for Alves. He combines this experience with a strategic eye for marketing and a deep understanding of SEA's unique cultural dynamics.

Vinnie Lauria, Founding Partner, Golden Gate Ventures: "Our founders are already operating at a much higher level than before – some of them are building their second or even third startup; they are well-connected across the region; and they understand the changing market dynamics. Our choice of Entrepreneur in Residence, therefore, must be able to operate at an already accelerated pace. We believe Tiago has the right mix of experience, big vision and a tremendous knack for problem-solving to challenge our founders and help them stretch their ideas into new spaces. Tiago will also benefit from Golden Gate Ventures' extensive connections and deep resources to help him find his next venture. We look forward to being that first institutional investor cheque into the next game-changer across the tech startup space beyond the region." 

Lauria also predicts that SEA will see the EIR role grow in prominence in the next couple of years as the ecosystem matures and there are more founders with the right depth of experience to contribute to the ecosystem in the region's next wave of growth.

"The Entrepreneur in Residence role is important in building a dynamic startup ecosystem, especially where SEA is at in terms of its development. It creates a different level of connectivity that generates new ideas, solutions and innovations. This is exactly what is needed for a more mature ecosystem and more established founders. The first order of the day is for me to spend a lot of time reaching out to founders both within and beyond our portfolio. I am looking forward to cracking difficult challenges and finding the next breakthrough in tech startups," said Alves, newly-appointed Entrepreneur in Residence, who has committed to spending time in startup hubs and co-working spaces across the region as part of his role.

In the last decade, Golden Gate Ventures has been on a winning streak with early investments into SEA's growing cadre of startups that have gained unicorn and soonicorn status within the past 18 months, among which are Xendit, Carousell, Codapay, Carro, Omise, Bukuwarung, Xfers and Fuse. This has been driven by the firm's FirstIN strategy – as the first institutional investor cheque into startups. As Entrepreneur in Residence at Golden Gate Ventures, Alves will play a key role in identifying new investments for the firm, while the firm similarly looks to create new opportunities in partnership with Alves, under the banner of its FirstIN approach.