“Medical Device Innovation, Digital Health, Pharmaceutical Tech, and Food Tech are among the places where key innovations in the healthcare and well-being industry, will greatly impact the World in a few year’s time,” according to Angel Low, Principal at Venture Capital and Co-Creation fund, The Hive Southeast Asia.
In an interview with AsiaTechDaily, Low mentioned that megatrends such as aging population, burdening of healthcare costs, and poor lifestyles are driving demands for quality innovations in healthcare.
Low added that by 2050, 65% of Asia’s total population will be of elderly age, and the cost of healthcare for the elderly will multiply by 5 times. Asia also accounts for 60% of the World’s diabetic patients. Further, the cancer mortality rate in Asia is 75%, compared to 65% globally.
On top of that, accessibility to quality healthcare is also needed as a result of the growing middle class.
Besides speaking about megatrends in the healthcare industry, the interview with Low also covers discussions about The Hive Southeast Asia, mistakes founders make when raising money, and other sectors that are gathering interest. Edited excerpts below:
What is your background and domain expertise? And when was the Hive Southeast Asia established?
The Hive is a seed-stage venture fund based in Palo Alto, San Francisco. It operates as a venture studio that works actively with founders in the early stages of creating and launching startups.
In 2021, when Dato’ Syed Haizam Jamalullail launched The Hive Southeast Asia, I saw opportunities in learning and collaborating with an esteemed venture capital fund from Silicon Valley, hence making the decision to join the company back in 2021.
I have always fancied the idea of co-creating, funding, and launching startups that solves real problems that enterprises face. Although the concept of co-creating startups is relatively new in Malaysia, I saw the opportunity to challenge myself, as this opportunity allows me to not only be able to engage with startups from an investment perspective, but also build companies from within.
Aside from my appointment with The Hive, I have a family office with my other half which we engage startups as angel investors. We have allocated close to RM 3 mil, and have invested close to RM 1.5 mil into early-stage startups, and high-risk assets.
Prior to joining The Hive Southeast Asia, I had experience working at a venture capital firm under MAVCAP, and experience working in a Private Equity Investment and Consultancy firm in Beijing, China focusing on consumer, TMT, and healthcare. Being able to work closely with Startups has always been my passion. The Hive Southeast Asia has provided me with an interesting opportunity to work as both a founder and an investor.
What types of companies/sectors do you invest in? And what do you look for when you invest?
We are industry agnostic but with a particular interest in early-stage startups.
The Hive Southeast Asia is a recipient of Dana Penjana Nasional. We are mandated to invest into companies that drive economic recovery and the emergence of a digital economy. We anticipate that there will be increasing interest in sectors such as digital health, edutech, agritech, and renewable energy. We also expect to see more opportunities that prioritise inclusivity and diversity.
What is your typical investment range and how many startups do you invest in every year? Additionally, can overseas startups get funding from The Hive Southeast Asia?
We invest in early stage startups between the size of MYR 500,000 to MYR 5 million.
As of December 2022, we have invested in 7 startups. We are currently mandated to look into Malaysian opportunities,
What mistakes do you see founders make when they are raising funds?
Founders should spend their time finding or refining their product-market fit. If the product being offered is not in alignment with the needs of the target market, founders will find it difficult to attract and retain customers.
Another tip is that founders should have realistic projections and valuations that are justifiable. It could be difficult to justify a projection of $300 million in two years, especially when the business has zero revenue today. Avoid making assumptions and projections that are difficult to justify.
Founders should also avoid equating their urgent needs with investors’ eagerness to invest. When I hear tones from founders that come across as: “my need for capital is more important than you. Drop what you are doing right now, listen to my pitch, write me a check, and introduce me to all the investors you know,” it can do quite the opposite effect.
Founders should avoid asking for an NDA signed before sharing information, as it becomes a hurdle to connect with investors. Instead, a pitch deck without confidential information that could be shared more broadly, is beneficial for the business.
The Hive is actively investing in North America from its fourth fund, The Hive IV. The Hive also has separate funds in Brazil, India, and Southeast Asia.
The portfolio of The Hive Southeast Asia includes Accendo, iMotorbike, Payd, Pod, Senang, and Thoughtfull.