Still plenty of room to play in SEA’s digital economy, says Quest Ventures’ Tan

Quest Ventures managing partner James Tan
Quest Ventures managing partner James Tan

Since 2010, Singapore-based venture capital firm Quest Ventures has been discreetly investing in e-commerce and internet economy startups in the region. Its portfolio today includes prominent names such as Carousell, Carro and ShopBack.

Through all this time, it has not needed to fundraise – until now.

Quest is lucky. It has a godfather – James Tan.

After close to a decade in China, Tan cashed out his stake in e-commerce company 55Tuan, packed his suitcase and returned home to Singapore.

“Because I’m a Singaporean, I wanted to do something in Singapore…By that time you had guys like 500 Startups who were all doing the same thing. My first investment was Burpple and that got the ball rolling,” said Tan.

That culminated into Quest Ventures, where Tan serves as the managing partner today. Through all that time, that 55Tuan pay-off has kept the firm comfortably afloat.

But Quest is nurturing big ambitions, requiring bigger capital.

The VC is now targeting an open fund of $50-100 million to invest in early-stage digital economy startups in Southeast Asia. It plans to invest in about 100 companies across the fund’s 10-year tenure, with ticket sizes between $500,000 and $1 million, and scope for potential follow-on investments.

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