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Guest: William Bao Bean

The Distinguishing Characteristics Of Successful APAC Startups (Part 1)

October 21, 2022

Episode Notes

This episode of The Negotiation is a return to the show for William Bao Bean. William is a General Partner at SOSV and Managing Director of Orbit Startups.

Orbit Startups helps companies scale breakthrough technologies across emerging and frontier markets to the regions with the most aggressive growth. William is a senior advisor at SOSV who has been a pioneer in the tech and telecommunications space in Asia. During his time with SoftBank China & India Holdings, he led investments in companies such as Yodo1, DemystData, Lekan, and Massive Impact. He was also an equity research analyst at Deutsche Bank covering the Internet and Telecom Equipment sector in Asia for 11 years before joining Innov8 Ventures as Managing Director this year where he is focused on supporting China investments.

William discusses his work as a venture investor, what he did during the pandemic (and how COVID impacted his activities), and what defines successful startups in Asia. He also unravels some of the brilliance during accelerator programs, describes why founder characteristics may predict success, and what distinguishes teams he works with from those outside Asia in their approach to building a startup or portfolio company. Enjoy!

Topics Discussed and Key Points:

  • A brief description of Orbit startups’ activities.
  • Consumer internet became widely used during the COVID period.
  • The discipline of designing and running experiments
  • How to drive engagement and value over a screen or through the power of voice.
  • William’s startup activities and how COVID must have affected them.
  • Some of the brilliance that happens during accelerator programs.
  • What you need to do a startup revolution in the USA.
  • Communication is important for international startups.
  • The culture of experimenting in Asia is pretty strong.
  • Japan as a market is generally focused on Japan.
  • Potentially predictive factors for startup success in Asia.