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Impact SEA

Author: TRIVE Venture Capital

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Impact Investing conversations in South-East Asia. 1-to-1 interviews with technology startup founders, impact investors, impact experts and businesses in South-East Asia. In Season 2, It is hosted by 5 moderators: Christopher Quek, Managing Partner of TRIVE VC, a seasoned veteran in moderating startup conversations. And others joining him are Dylan Patt, Kevin Bennett, Akhil Alder and Theodore Pang. Get insights on how Impact-style investing and what startups are working on to make a change for SEA.
25 Episodes
According to statistics from the World Health Organization many countries in Southeast Asia have a significantly lower ratio of doctors to    general population when compared to countries like the U.S.A. and China, only Singapore comes close with 2.3 doctors per 1.000 people.   However Indonesia and Thailand have a ratio of just 0.4 doctors per 1,000 people whilst other Southeast Asia countries are higher, with Vietnam at 0.8, the Philippines at 1.2, Malaysia at 1.6 per 1,000.With increasing life expectancy and challenges such as the Covid 19 pandemic is healthcare in Southeast Asia heading towards a crisis? And how can advancing technology such as Health IT and Telehealth alleviate the pressure and increase the impact of the human workforce. And what can startups do to support the healthcare industry in S.E.A?To answer these questions, I speak to Dr Tan Hui Ling, Managing Director of Bagan Specialist Centre (BSC) and Oriental Melaka Straits Medical Centre (OMSMC), for her insights.
What is Impact Investing and how does it differ from traditional investing?According to the Global Impact Investing Network, impact investments are made with the intention to generate positive, measurable social and environmental impact, alongside a financial return. A report by the same organization stated that more than US$900mil was deployed by private impact investors into Southeast Asia between 2007 to 2017. The region was described as having the fastest growing impact investing market in the world for the latter half of that decade.Amid the flurry of activity in the region, are there specific areas of interest for impact fund managers in Southeast Asia? What are some key considerations for these investors? How do impact funds make investments with commercial sense, while staying true to the mandate of helping vulnerable communities in the region?In the Investor Series of IMPACT S.E.A, join me, Theodore Pang, Senior Investment Manager of SEEDS Capital, as I speak with impact investors to address these questions. We look at impact case studies and discuss topics such as intentionality, impact measurement and areas of opportunity.For the first episode of the Investor Series, we have Mason Tan, Director of Impact Investing at CBP Quilvest Wealth Advisory, or CBPQ. Based in Singapore, CBPQ launched the Garden Impact Fund to focus on social enterprises that serve vulnerable groups in Southeast Asia. So stay tuned, as I interview Mason on some of the investments he has made in the region, and why technological disruption in agriculture could be of great interest to the Garden Impact Fund.
The Indonesian Healthcare industry is facing a massive problem.The lack of necessary medical equipment, supplies, doctors, and beds are some of the main concerns with the Indonesian healthcare industry. There is one hospital bed per 1,000 people in Indonesia, well below the world average of 3.6 per 1000 people. There are also only 25 doctors per 100,000 people.A report done by Oliver Wyman shows a vast disparity of health results due to geography and income. The report explains that there is a 15-year difference in life expectancy between urban and rural areas, illustrating Indonesia’sIncredible geographical healthcare challenge. This is an almost uniquely Indonesian challenge: The country’s archipelago structure and a wide income distribution create regional issues that compound other factors.So what's being done now? Today’s traditional healthcare ecosystem model is inconvenient for patients. It is a traditional supplier-oriented, volume-driven, high-touch model. In addition, unique Indonesian characteristics pose their own challenges.How do we solve Indonesia’s problem of geographic disparity? What are some of the challenges that Indonesian healthcare startups face when tackling these problems? What should be the main focus moving forward? To answer these questions, I speak to Pak Danu Wickasana, MD of Good Doctor Technology, a digital healthcare joint-venture between Grab and Ping An Good Doctor, for his expert insights.
Season 2 Teaser

Season 2 Teaser


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According to a report by World Psychiatry, South Asian countries comprise one-quarter of the world’s population and approximately 150–200 million people in this region have a diagnosed psychiatric disorder and limited access to mental health. Despite the significant burden of illness and growing international emphasis, the mental health infrastructure in this region is relatively weak, with less than 1% of the total national budgets allocated to it. There is also a shortage of psychiatrists and other mental health professionals, clinical psychologists, as well as social workers. Pre-COVID-19 estimates reveal that nearly US$ 1 trillion in economic productivity is lost annually from depression and anxiety alone.This ongoing pandemic isn’t doing the world a favour either. A survey by WHO estimates that the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted or halted critical mental health services in 93% of countries worldwide while the demand for mental health is increasing. The twin terror of a pandemic in a region where mental health issues are rampant and improperly dealt with, could spell disaster for a country in ways more than just the economy. In addition to the limitations in resource allocation, the lack of community awareness toward mental health and prevailing stigma further limits the number of patients that actively seek health care. What is the state of solutions available for mental health issues in Southeast Asia? How do we tailor our solutions to properly suit the region? What opportunities do stakeholders have to make a significant impact?To answer these questions, I speak to Dr Kanpassorn Eix,  Founder of Ooca, for her expert insights on the significance of mental health in Asia and the innovative solutions in the region.
Every business and every industry sector has a role to play in making change happen. But what role do businesses and brands have in changing the behaviours of their consumers?According to a report from the IFC World Bank, the market potential for global impact investing is huge - as much as $269 trillion—the financial assets held by institutions and households across the world—is potentially available for investment. Directing just 10% of this amount into projects focused on improving social and environmental outcomes would go a long way toward providing the necessary funding for the world to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.In fact, a report done by Quest Ventures shows that despite the relatively small size of SEA, its impact investing ecosystem has developed significantly over the past 10 years. More than USD904 million has been injected via 225 direct deals by Private Impact investors (PIIs) and the numbers are in the billions for Developmental Financial Institutions (DFIs), the SEA’s impact investing ecosystem has developed significantly in the past decade. Seeing the increased interest in SEA, how do we further attract more impact investors to the scene? One of the methods is to use public relations (PR) to effect real action and change.How then do businesses, big or small, embed sustainability into the heart of corporations and brands for commercial and societal impact and how can companies use public relations to take up a more dynamic role; as an agent for change and attract investors? What gaps are there in company sustainability strategies that can be addressed by PR?To answer these questions, I speak to Sarah Craggs, Sustainability Practice Lead, MullenLowe salt, for her expert insights.
Do you have a home? If you do, you’re luckier than more than one billion people in the world without a roof over their heads.In spite of all the advancements of the modern world, there are still more than one billion people  without a home; a number set to double by 2030. In fact, according to the World Bank, in Southeast Asia alone, more than 37% of Southeast Asia’s urban population lives in slums and poor living conditions. However, how accurately can we determine the level of homelessness? According to the Homelessness World Cup Foundation, it isn’t as easy as we thought. Getting an accurate picture of global homelessness is one of the biggest challenges as census data often fails to include those who may be residing in inadequate settlements such as slums, squatting in structures not intended for housing, couch surfing with friends and family, and those who relocate frequently. Furthermore, the problem of homelessness is extremely unique for each country - there’s no one size fits all solution. Size, region or economic strength, all come into play when designing a solution for homelessness. With such large problems with data collection, how then can we effectively tackle the problem of homelessness? What are some practical steps that have been taken to resolve the housing crisis in Southeast Asia?To answer these questions, I speak to Prasoon Kumar, Co-Founder and CEO, BillionBricks, for his expert insights and some of the innovative solutions of this growing housing crisis. 
How do we use the knowledge made available to us today, and transform the social sector to deliver social good more effectively?With the virus becoming the new normal, The New Paper reports that non-profit organisations here have seen a dip in the number of volunteers as more people grow wary of gathering in large groups due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.In fact, a study released by Fidelity Charitable, a nonprofit organization created by Fidelity Investments, found that two-thirds of all volunteers had either decreased or stopped their volunteering because of the pandemic. Volunteering has fallen sharply in the pandemic, creating an enormous financial burden on the nonprofit organizations that depended on the free assistance.How do we reinvent the volunteering space to adapt the new normal? What is the significance of volunteering in SEA and how do we further develop the state of volunteering using A.I.?To answer these questions, I speak to Janelle Lee, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer, Bantu, for her expert insights.
According to a 2019 report by the UN Economic and Social Council, The Asia-Pacific region has long been affected by disasters. Since 1970, two million people have been killed in disasters – 59 per cent of the global death toll. The principal causes of deaths due to natural hazards in the Asia-Pacific region were earthquakes and storms, followed by floods. The Asia-Pacific experiences more than 40% of the world’s natural disasters, being the most seismically active area worldwide. China, India, Indonesia, and the Philippines, the top four natural disaster-prone countries in Asia, are expected to lose $380 billion each year between 2016 and 2030 as a result of natural disastersTo further add to complications, Covid-19 has infected more than 11m people in Asia to date and is expected to cause more than US$2.7trillion in future economic losses. With such great issues that plague humanity and the environment, Disaster Technologies are becoming an increasing importance to address these issues.But what is the state of Disaster Technologies for South-East Asia, and what opportunities can tech entrepreneurs see and make an impact? To answer these questions, I speak to Donald Kanak, Chairman of Prudence Foundation, for his expert insights on Disaster Technology and the importance that D-Tech has for Asia Pacific.
Angel investors act as catalysts for many early-stage enterprises, bringing these startups through key checkpoints of their entrepreneurial journey.A report by ANGIN finds that angel investment networks in SEA are at a pivotal stage of their life cycle. Indonesia is no exception, in fact according to a report by ANGIN, 76% of the start-ups and social enterprises funded by VCs and impact investors in Indonesia received angel investment in their first round of funding.This market for impact investing for angel investors is only set to grow. A report done by the Mekar group estimates that over the next five years Indonesia has USD 23 billion in investment opportunities to offer impact investors. How does Indonesia, as a growing startup ecosystem, help more angel investors invest in startups? What are some of the obstacles that angel investment networks face? How do we harness the power of these angel investors to drive Impact in SEA?To answer these questions, I speak to David Soukhasing, MD of ANGIN, for his experiences and insights on the Angel Investing scene in Indonesia. 
Angel investors have a crucial role in developing the startup ecosystem. They accompany founders who are building sustainable businesses. However,The private equity and venture capital market is an important facilitator of sustainable asset funding. In the same report by KPMG, 89% of limited partners say that they are using some form of Responsible Investment due diligence questionnaire or request for proposal as part of the fund selection process. However, only 28% of General Partners of funds said that the potential for high returns was one of the top three drivers for responsible investment. So how do we reconcile these facts that responsible investing is on the rise but yet private equity and VC funds have yet to catch up on responsible investing? What are the hindrances that prevent such fund managers from adopting responsible investment?To answer these questions, I speak to Jaclyn Seow, Head of ESG & Impact for Openspace Ventures, for her experiences and insights on responsible investing as a VC and the impact it has for South-East Asia.
The key to unlocking the fashion industry’s sustainability problem - the supply chain. Southeast Asia is perhaps the perfect place to start when it comes to examining the fashion supply chain. Currently a producer of apparel for global markets, the region’s consumer class is young, interested in brand-name goods, and expected to double in size over the next decade.However, the supply chain in Southeast Asia is often plagued with opaque and outdated business processes, harmful environmental impacts and questionable labour practices. This has a harmful effect on local workers and creates an unconducive environment for small brands to obtain financial opportunity and entrepreneurial growth in this market.How do we then begin to empower other fashion SMEs to create a more level playing field?  How do we improve the supply chain in the fashion industry and what steps can the fashion industry take moving forward? To answer these questions, I speak to Billy Naveed, Head of Strategy in Zillingo, for his expert insights on the problems with the fashion industry supply
Here in Southeast Asia, diet-induced health issues have been on the rise. A report by the World Health Organisation showed that the growing income levels in Asia have caused a divergence away from traditional starch-based diets and towards food with high levels of salt, fat, protein and sugar, with much of it being processed foods. This has resulted in a plethora of health issues - a study by Bloomberg estimates that Southeast Asia is responsible for about 20% of all diabetics globally, and has seen the world’s largest increases in premature deaths related to cardiovascular disease over the past two decades. National healthcare spending for obesity-related issues has also reached as much as 19% in some parts of Southeast Asia.Do the current solutions target the issue of healthy food, or does it just help improve food security? What are the challenges that FoodTech startups face when trying to implement solutions? And what other ways can we address this growing problem in Southeast Asia? To answer these questions, I speak to Dr Sherman Ho, Chief Scientist and Cofounder of Hoow Foods, a food-technology company that aims to research and develop healthier yet tasty foods to the world, for his expert insights.
Impact Investing has emerged as an alternative asset class that channels large-scale private capital into addressing the world's most pressing social and environment challenges.About 753 million people in Asia and the Pacific region live on less than US1.25 per day. So there’s a huge potential for Southeast Asia’s impact investment scene.In Asia, where wealth is growing faster than anywhere else in the world – the growth rate of Asian billionaires will outpace North America and Europe by a solid 10% over the next few years, one would expect to observe a commensurate deployment of resources towards impact investment. And yet, of the half trillion dollars’ worth of assets under management in the impact investment industry, Asia accounts for less than 10%. What are some barriers that cause this lagging reality? To answer these questions, I speak to Vicky Lay, Head of Impact, a global alternative investment management firm specializing in debt, venture capital and impact investment strategies, for her expert insights on impact investing and sustainable investing in Southeast Asia.
748 million people around the world are without basic water access and billions more still suffer from the effects of not having access to clean water. In fact, according to a report done by WHO in 2019, some 829,000 people are estimated to die each year from diarrhoea as a result of unsafe drinking-water, sanitation, and hand hygiene. In South-east Asia, there is still more than 134 million people who do not have access to improved drinking water. WHO estimates that between 68% - 84% of water sources are contaminated in Southeast Asia.What is obstructing our goal of universal access to clean water and sanitation? What creates such challenges and what is being done to overcome them?To answer these questions, I speak to David Pong, CEO - Waterroam, a water-innovation social enterprise that develops community water filters for disaster relief and rural development. As of 2020, Waterroam has successfully brough clean water to over 88,000 people in rural villages and disaster-struck zones across South-east Asia.
With a population of over 261 million, Indonesia is considered as one of the most attractive and active markets for impact investment and social entrepreneurship in Southeast Asia. According to ANGIN (Angel Investment Network Indonesia), large amounts of capital are being pledged to the country, with more than 100 impact investors scouting the market. There is tremendous potential for impact to be done, as the country’s 100 cities are still lacking in good city planning, and face multiple historic challenges like aging and inadequate infrastructure, in a report by PWC Indonesia. There is also large-scale development without regard for the environment, including extensive urban sprawl, effectively causing harm to the environment and its people.With such large impact problems that are growing faster than impact solutions can resolve, what can be done to quickly address these urgent sustainable issues? And how do tech startups help to overcome these challenges?To answer these questions, I speak to Dondi Hananto - Partner, Patamar Capital, a resident of Indonesia, who is in the heart of the action, for his expert insights on the future of impact investing in Indonesia.
The Philippines is a dichotomy in its performance for the UN SDG goals. In 2018, they rank as the world’s most progressive renewable energy nation for the third year running.In terms of gender equality, the Philippines was ranked eighth among the 10 best performers in the WEF’s Global Gender Gap report, alongside global sustainability leaders such as Iceland, Norway and Sweden. On the flip side, the Philippines is ranked as the world’s third biggest polluter after China and Indonesia, with 2.7m metric tonnes of plastic waste generated each year. And even though they lead the world in progressive renewable energy, almost 76% of their power generation was still supplied by fossil fuel plants.With a mixed bag of results, where does this country of 106m people truly stand in terms of sustainability performance? And how can impact investments and tech startups help?To answer these questions, I speak to Ping Manongdo, Country Manager - Philippines at Eco-Business, Asia’s leading media organisation on sustainable development, for her expert insights on the good and bad of sustainability in the Philippines.
According to the Cambridge Family Enterprise Group, family businesses dominate Southeast Asia and form a critical part of its economy. More than half of the region’s largest companies, and nearly all of its conglomerates—both private and listed—are family-controlled. These include household names such as SM Group (Philippines), Charoen Pokphand Group (Thailand), and the Sinar Mas Group (Indonesia). These businesses account for a significant percentage of employment and economic development in the region.Family businesses in South-East Asia are therefore a crucial economic force to work with if we wish to pursue impact activities and have a better tomorrow for this region. In a positive trend, family businesses are transiting to the next generation who are in their 20s to 40s who are more exposed to issues of climate change and sustainability. So what are their views on implementing impact solutions into their businesses? And how can startups engage the Next Generation business owners to enact impactful change.To answer these questions, I speak to Mei Tan, Co-Founder and CEO of the Innovatif+ community & platform for NextGen Family Businesses across Asia, for her expert insights on how the NextGen family businesses are looking at impact technologies.
According to statistics from worldometers, South-East Asia has approximately 670m people with 50% who are living within a city. This proportion of urbanities are forecasted to grow to 56% by 2030, which means an additional 40m more people will be living in cities in the next 10 years.Cities will become even more densely populated as a result, and such pressure will be further deepened on cities like Bangkok, Jakarta and Ho Chi Minh City, which are all sinking due to excessive resources extraction.In this near crisis situation, how do cities become smarter, more efficient and more intelligently managed? And what can technology startups do to contribute in making cities sustainable?To answer these questions, I speak to David Goh, former General Manager of APAC region, of Daimler Mobility, for his insights
According to a report done by Food Industry Asia, a whopping 8m metric tonnes of marine plastic debris enters the ocean annually, of which 60% is contributed from just five countries: China, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines. Food and beverage packaging contributes about half of the plastic debris, a significant human-created pollution. In addition, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused us to take a pause on our plastic ban efforts and created a “takeaway” culture for the sake of our convenience. With this added demand for takeaway food, how well can we meet our UNSDG Goal 14 of significantly reducing marine pollution from the excessive food plastic usage? Are there any policies in Southeast Asia that could help facilitate the shift to sustainable packaging and creating positive change for our oceans?Today, we speak to Pei Kang, CEO of TRIA Foodware, a maker of sustainable food packaging, for his insights.
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