Inside Asia Podcast

Sustainable Angels (w/ Mark Inkster)

July 11, 2021

This week on Inside Asia, we take a look at the world of seed investing. I’m not talking about farming, although, in some ways, I am. I’m talking about the way good, early-stage ideas attract seed capital to get their ventures off the ground. And while I don’t have the data to support it, I suspect that the number one reason why most great business or product ideas never see the light of day is for one reason, and one reason only: Money.

After calling in favors from friends and family and tapping out the credit card, there’s a funding gap. To fill it, entrepreneurs oftentimes turn to angel investors. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some are successful entrepreneurs themselves, happy to spread their new-found wealth to help others like them. Others organize themselves into groups with a common set of investment goals or interests. In recent years, online platforms have emerged, letting almost anyone get involved. Like buying one hundred lottery tickets, just one might get lucky. 

Increasingly, angel investors are starting to specialize. Assemble together a team of consumer bankers, payments experts, and techno-geeks, and you can – for example - specialize in FinTech. Think about how technology can be applied to solve climate change, and you become Sustainability investors. That’s exactly what my guest this week has done. Mark Inkster is a technologist at heart. He’s spent decades in the region holding strategic roles at Yahoo!, eBay, Microsoft, and a handful of startups. Earlier this year he co-founded Asia Sustainability Angels, and together with a hand-full of others, he’s formed a circle to seed early stage companies bent on solving some of the biggest sustainability problems of our day.

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