Funding the Sea Turtles
Category: Entrepreneurs By : R Joe Regan Read : 230 Date : Wednesday, August 02, 2017 - 10:41:04




Ahmad Zamroni / Forbes Indonesia

Sea turtles” is nickname for young Southeast Asians who have gotten an education or experience abroad, and then return home to start their careers, and often companies, in their home countries. The term is a play on Southeast Asia (sea) and the behavior of pregnant sea turtles to find their way home to lay eggs on the same beach, every year, despite wandering far and wide in the open ocean.

In years past, many diaspora never returned home, preferring comfortable lives and careers outside their home countries. However, with the rising fortunes of Southeast Asia, especially Indonesia, many now see better opportunities at home. A typical example is Ferry Unardi, who has a Harvard MBA (and Purdue BA), but returned to Indonesia to start online travel site Traveloka in 2012, now the largest in the country and with a growing regional presence.

Now a pair of venture capitalists have started Intudo Ventures, a $10 million fund to invest primarily in Indonesian early-stage firms, with a focus on those founded by Indonesian sea turtles. The fund is incorporated in the Cayman Islands and managed by a local VC fund management company. While the two general partners, American Eddy Chan, 37, and Hong Kong citizen Patrick Yip, also 37, aren’t sea turtles themselves, they saw this group have valuable skill sets. 

“Sea turtles feel a sense of pride and desire to return, and share best practices they acquired from their time in Silicon Valley, China and other overseas markets,” says Eddy, in an online interview. “We focus on melding best practices that we acquired abroad with the best practices in the Indonesian market, and applying such learning when we work with our portfolio companies and partners.”

The pair will split responsibility for the firm, with Eddy based in Silicon Valley and Patrick in Jakarta. A third member of the team, Founding Advisor Timothy Chen, will be based in China. Thus, the trio can triangulate between Southeast Asia, Silicon Valley and China. The two founders sport impressive backgrounds. Eddy has a Georgetown law degree and spent six years as a corporate lawyer working on M&A, private equity and venture deals, before becoming a venture capitalist himself, with smart investments into SpaceX, Planatir and PayPal. Patrick got a Babson College MBA (known for its entrepreneurial training), eventually becoming a managing director at Goldman Sach’s Indonesia office before founding investment firm Forte Capital. He has 14 years of professional experience in Jakarta. 

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