Golden Gate Ventures’ Jeffrey Paine: ‘I like to challenge the minds of the founders and startup ecosystem leaders.’

Jeffrey Paine, a co-founder and managing partner of Golden Gate Ventures, an early stage technology venture capital fund based in Singapore, is best known for his talks on startup ideation, technology investment trends in Southeast Asia, fundraising and engagements on creating startup ecosystems. His main goal is to challenge the minds of founders and startup ecosystem leaders through speaking and mentoring.   

Jeffrey’s company Golden Gate Ventures has been investing in Southeast Asia in over 40 companies with over $175 million funds under management since 2012.

He started and managed the Founder Institute in Singapore where he is overseeing its expansion in Southeast Asia and Japan. Since 2010 the Founder Institute in Singapore has graduated over 100 companies. Jeffrey received the Founder Institute Director Award 2012 for “Greatest Ecosystem Impact” Worldwide (Singapore).

He is a Singapore native and graduated with a Bachelors of Business Administration (Information Systems) from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. had a chat with Jeffrey Paine regarding his views on startups and mentoring.

1.  As an investor, what kind of startups have you invested in? And how did you find those startups to invest in?

We have invested in over 40 companies in Southeast Asia – mainly consumer-facing and infrastructure related. We have also started to invest in SaaS and deep-tech companies in Asia (Japan and Korea). Most deals are sourced internally or inbound referred.

2. What would be the core factors that you decide to invest in those particular companies?

Ambitious, coachable team with product – big market and founder fit.

3.  What is your firm’s investment range and in a typical year, how many startups do you invest in? And do S. Korea headquartered startups get investment from you or should it be headquartered in certain countries?

We invest in 10-12 companies a year, investing $500K to $3M on average. S. Korean headquartered companies have a chance for sure, as we are actively looking. We do however may not lead rounds since we are local to help much but we are keen to help them expand overseas.

4.  What are the main factors that startups fail as per your experience and how can they prevent mistakes in advance from your personal perspective?

Ability to hire properly, time the market and understand what the market tells you.

5. What’s your advice to entrepreneurs who meet investors like you? And what are the top 3 questions you always ask founders?

Just be yourself, it is about you the entrepreneur, not us, we are here to support you to grow your vision.

Top 3 questions:

  • Why are you doing this?
  • How did the founding team come together?
  • Which market/customer segment are you addressing and why?

6. What’s your general thought about the term “Global” and what are the important factors for Korean startups to consider for a US expansion?

It is tricky, it’s basically English speaking and Chinese speaking at the moment. For Korean companies to enter the US, a lot must be done – best in class product, knowledge of customers’ behaviour. The main two issues are – are you good enough and can you be culturally fit and execute?

7.  Our company name is “beSUCCESS”, what’s your definition of the term “success” as an investor or as an individual human being?

Bring something useful to the world and leave a legacy – professional or personal life.

8.  What are the one or two things you would do differently if you could go back to 10 years ago?

Study SE Asian languages and consider doing more in China.

9. When you come to Korea next time, what kind of Korean entrepreneurs and startups do you want to meet?

Ambitious founders looking to expand outside of Korea.


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KoreaTechDesk is a trustworthy source for news on the start-up industry in South Korea. It focuses on various tech start-ups, which are developing some unique and interesting products.

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