Meet the investor: Trang Tran
What investing areas do you focus on?
I will be primarily focusing on SEA market including stepping up our investing activities in Vietnam across key verticals namely Enterprise Technology (technology infrastructure that enables commerce activities), Financial Technology (FinTech) & Insurance Technology (InsurTech), Health Technology (HealthTech), and Industrial & Transport Technology. I will also be covering B2B SaaS opportunities globally.
What attracted you to venture investing?
Having spent some time in private equity industry looking at mostly traditional businesses, I felt the urge to explore venture investing to gain exposure and knowledge about technologies and innovation that could transform businesses and industries. I am excited about the tremendous growth potential of technology startups which very often by virtue of their ability to aggregate huge amount of data and harness them in a real time manner allow the business model to expand beyond their immediate addressable market into new growth verticals, geographies and monetization strategies. I am also quickly attracted to the energy, vibrancy and collaborative culture of the Venture Capital community, not to mention the many conversations with founders which always give me much thrill and excitement and expand my thinking and creativity.
What is something that you always look for in a pitch?
I am slightly greedy in that I think a pitch is incomplete if it lacks any of the fundamental aspects of product value proposition, business model, market potential, competitive moat, unit economics, and management team background and experience. Having all these addressed in the pitch deck is helpful as it quickens investors’ grasp of the opportunity especially if we get to review the deck prior to the first meeting or call. It also allows us to quickly identify and dive into key questions and areas that matter more and facilitates quicker decision making.
On the former (aptitude), it’s about their industry knowledge, thought process, articulation of ideas, the ability to lead, attract talents and execute which ideally should also come with a track record. On the latter (attitude), it’s a combination of passion and persistence on one hand while being open to ideas, feedback and and humble on the other.
What do you look for in a founder or executive team?
I think it can be summarized in two aspects: aptitude and attitude. On the former, it’s about their industry knowledge, thought process, articulation of ideas, the ability to lead, attract talents and execute which ideally should also come with a track record. On the latter, it’s a combination of passion and persistence on one hand while being open to ideas, feedback and and humble on the other. Having said that, I believe no one is perfect and for as long as a founder has a great idea and the passion to make things happen, he or she deserves to be heard. Even if the conversations may not materialize into an investment due to various different reasons, there are bound to be good learning for both sides.
If you were not in this career, what would you be doing?
That would likely be an entrepreneurial path that has to do with children’s education as I believe in the positive impact brought by access to quality education to families and society in improving income generation capabilities and eradicating poverty. I used to work as a part-time tutor during my undergraduate days and was close to starting an online tutoring business. Timing was clearly not right in SEA. I am grateful however to have been able to stay close to the industry in my capacity as an investor over the past few years and look forward to seeing more investment opportunities in Edtech in the region.
Connect with Trang on LinkedIn today!