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June 16, 2022

Venture capital firm Sequoia is still “quite optimistic” about long-term prospects for start-ups, despite the recent market volatility.

“This is a particularly challenging market for founders to get started,” Abheek Anand, managing director of Sequoia Southeast Asia, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Wednesday.
When asked about the firm’s outlook for Southeast Asia’s start-ups, Anand said its early-stage investments this and next year are “going to be playing [in] where the markets will be 10 years from now.”

“Pretty much every metric on technology continues to grow and secularly grow in the long term.”

On Tuesday, Sequoia announced it raised $2.85 billion across a set of funds focused on India and Southeast Asia. That includes its first dedicated fund for Southeast Asia, with a pool of $850 million.

“This fundraise, which comes at a time when markets are starting to cool after a very long bull run, signals our deep commitment to the region,” the firm said.

Emerging trends in Southeast Asia

Despite the shaky short-term outlook, Anand said founders in Southeast Asia still have “growing ambitions.”

“For example, you’re starting to see a lot of companies get started in Southeast Asia, but … serving regional and global market.”

He added that “a new generation of founders” is also emerging, as the first generation of tech companies like GoTo and Grab have gone public.

“Their [executives] are now starting new companies and these are seasoned operators … They’re frankly, aiming higher than the companies that they came from,” Anand explained.

However, what will change for new start-ups and founders would be their “access to capital” and hence, short-term strategy.

“This period of free capital or very cheap capital that resulted in certain design choices that the big companies got built on, that’s going to likely not be present in the next year,” he said.

“Founders just have to be more sensible, more focused on fundamentals, more focused on durable and enduring business models.”