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Under the Radar: Openspace Ventures’ Hian Goh on what a deepening funding winter means for VC firms, screening for the next unicorn amid the AI craze and cashing out on investments like Love, Bonito

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Using active intelligence to find and back companies creating transformational impact at the intersection of tech and life. That’s what we’re going to talk about today. 

Founded in 2014, our guest is Openspace Ventures, a multi-stage investor that looks at Southeast Asian B2C and B2B businesses with a compelling vision for expansion. 

The firm looks at three types of targets: (a) Series A and B firms with an established product-market fit and need capital for rapid scaling, (b) Series C and D firms who are market leaders with proven revenue traction but need capital for expansion into new markets or adjacent spaces and finally, (c) firms that belong to the rising asset class of crypto and Web3. 

Openspace Ventures currently has 6 funds and over US$800 million under management, supported by regional institutional investors including Singapore’s state investor Temasek, Germany’s DEG, Norway’s Norfund and the Softbank Group. 

The VC firm has over 45 portfolio companies under its belt and is one of the early investors into GoTo. Other notable companies it has invested in include Finnomena, Halodoc as well as homegrown fashion label Love Bonito. 

But what role has Openspace Ventures played in helping its portfolio companies become who they are today using active intelligence and how far can that playbook be used for other startup targets?

Meanwhile, the SE Asia Deal Review compiled by DealStreet Asia revealed in May this year that startups in Southeast Asia raised US$1 billion in equity funding in the first quarter of 2024, down 41 per cent on a yearly basis. 

Does this mean that VCs are more selective with investment targets? And given Openspace Venture’s focus on Web 3 firms, how does it screen for quality investments amid the generative AI craze? And is this the time for the firm to cash out on some of its existing investments?

On Under the Radar, The Evening Runway’s finance presenter Chua Tian Tian posed these questions to Hian Goh, Founder and General Partner, Openspace Ventures.

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  1. Under The Radar

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  2. The Evening Runway with Hongbin Jeong, Roshan Gidwani and Chua Tian Tian

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