Founders must balance fundraising with delivering the right product, says ErudiFi’s Ketty Lie

Ketty Lie

Ketty Lie, who has held management and strategic positions at Leapfrog Investments and Vriens & Partners, founded ErudiFi in 2020. The technology company is focused on making education affordable in Southeast Asia.

In Feb 2021, Danacita, a student loan platform and a subsidiary of ErudiFi, announced the raising of $5 million in a Series A round led by Monk’s Hill Ventures and Qualgro. Danacita recorded a three-fold growth in financing to students in 2020.

Ketty Lie was among the 12 women (co-)founders interviewed for the DealStreetAsia Research & Analytics report Women in Startups: The SE Asia Edition. She shared her experience as a woman entrepreneur. Edited excerpts:

How has your fundraising journey been, and do you think it’s hard to raise funding as a woman co-founder?

I think, as a startup fundraising is always constant and we are grateful for closing. In terms of being a female co-founder, I think I’m really grateful for the co-founding team that I am working with, and it’s really them pushing through with the fundraising. It’s never a one-person thing. So for us, it’s always a journey that we’ve been very grateful for. We have a lot of work ahead, but yeah, good stuff so far.

How long did it take you to get your first funding?

I think we’re always looking at fundraising. Fundamentally, it’s more about building relationships and knowing that you’re coming in as part of our family. So, it’s really building relationships and then getting the right group of people to work on this problem together.

Were you focused on delivering the right product, or were you focused on fundraising, or both?

It’s always balancing both. Don’t shy away from sort of feeling like: that is not a sector you can play. Even if you don’t come from a technology background, Tessa (co-founder of Xendit) says, there are a lot of companies we can learn from. 

To read more such interviews and access data like the share of capital that flowed to women-led startups in SE Asia, refer to our Research & Analytics report.

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.