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Venture Investment Trends with Wows Global

On the 28th of March, Wows Global partnered with La French Tech Bangkok and The Great Room to host an event discussing ‘Venture Investments in 2024: Trends and Predictions’.

Having followed Wows Global and La French Tech for a while, it came as no surprise to me that the event was chock-full of crucial insights, especially for early-stage startups. 

The event started with a talk from Gagan Singh, who delivered a comprehensive presentation on investment readiness. This was followed by a well-rounded panel discussion on key investment trends with Alina Truhina and Sébastien Dupuy, expertly moderated by Tharin Sethi.

In this video, I try to consolidate my learnings from the event into 5 lessons. Here they are: 

Lesson 1: If winter comes, can spring be far behind?

There has been a lot of talk about the ‘funding winter’ and how it has stifled the meteoric growth of the global startup ecosystem. 

There’s no denying that the last year or so has been a tough time to raise funds or even go public. Looking at the bigger picture, however, a lot of it was a necessary course correction for the highly inflated startup valuations that preceded it. 

Now, as we enter Q2 2024, there are definitive signs of recovery in the startup investments space. This time around, both investors and startups are more prudent in their approach. and that bodes well for sustained success.

Lesson 2: Treading the path to profitability…

Gone are the days of ‘growth at all costs’. Large cash-burn and frequent funding rounds for the sake of expansion aren’t the go-to strategy anymore. Instead, having solid unit economics, lean operations, and a clear path to profitability are more likely to inspire investor confidence in the current landscape.

When it comes to judging the path to profitability, investors look at factors such as GMV vs revenue, stage of business, market-demand-validation (AKA paying customers), balance in the supply-demand equation, and the moat that the business has created around it.

Lesson 3: Know thyself!

In startup investments, like in most things in life, self-awareness can be a game-changer. When raising funds, the devil is in the details. Due diligence readiness is one area where knowing thyself can make or break a deal.

Having a clear understanding of your product, market, people, financials, equity structures, and risks comes in very handy in the fundraising process.

Gagan recommended creating a due diligence checklist to identify the missing puzzle pieces in your data room. This helps startup founders fill gaps in their data repository and be ready for any curveballs that come up during investment discussions. 

Lesson 4: Right place at the right time! 

I have great news if you’re a startup founder or investor in Southeast Asia. It’s one of the most interesting and high-potential regions in the world. 

The rise of promising startups, a resurgence in investor confidence, the popularity of startup peer communities, the emergence of startup support infrastructure, and an improving regulatory environment - it’s all happening here and happening now. It’s still early days for all of these ecosystem pieces, and it looks like we’re only scratching the surface. 

If you’re playing your cards right, there’s incredible potential to be harnessed in this region. 

Lesson 5: What’s hot and what’s not?

I’m stating the obvious when I say that AI has been a fan favorite among investors. Outside of AI, the panelists enlisted climate tech, robotics & automation, supply chain digitization, recycling (especially battery recycling), and cybersecurity as in-demand verticals where investors and placing their bets. 

At the other end of the spectrum, investor sentiment is down for areas such as hardware, traditional e-commerce, hype-driven businesses, social media, cannabis, and subscription models owing to subscription fatigue. 

The panelists were quick to point out that there are exceptions in each category, so don’t take these lists are guaranteed wins or losses.

Once again, I thank all the organizers and panelists for a memorable evening of learning and networking. You can count on a Wows Global event to be a masterclass on all things startup, and this event was no different. I can safely say that La French Tech Bangkok is one of the prominent pillars of the startup ecosystem here in Bangkok. Can’t wait for the next one!

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