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Daily Markup #617: Christine Tsai joins Khazanah to explore where technology can unlock the greatest impact, and the role of key players for innovation

Ching Yee Ho



Credit: Khazanah

The innovation ecosystem DNA

  • Top leaders around the world gathered in Malaysia for the annual Khazanah Megatrends Forum 2022. This year, the theme is a globally pertinent one on ‘Development and its Complexities: Steering Our Way Through a Perfect Storm’.
  • With greater urgency for innovation to solve today’s challenges, Christine Tsai, CEO & Founding Partner, 500 Global, was invited to discuss the role of key players in the innovation ecosystem, and the areas where technology can unlock the biggest impact.
  • “Venture capital is one of the most impactful ways to do that,” shared Christine. “500 Global backs founders building companies for financial inclusion, food security, digitalisation, healthcare, education, and sustainable cities.” These are investment areas that overlap with Malaysia’s Dana Impak’s key themes for strengthening the nation’s resilience.
  • How important are corporate partners for innovation today? Christine shared that they play a multi-faceted role as acquirers, investors, partners, and even distribution platforms for founders. However, there is often a disconnect between how corporates and early-stage companies operate; corporates need to understand that investing in startups and venture capital is long-term.
  • Asset allocators are also a crucial player in the innovation ecosystem, and Christine believes “despite the perception of venture being risky, there’s also significant reward, and we are just scratching the surface of all the capital that’s allocated to private markets.”
  • Why’s that? Diversification through a larger number of investments effectively de-risks early-stage venture funding for asset allocators, especially when compared to traditional venture capital that only invests in 10-20 companies. 500 Global’s track record with this approach has worked well in supporting the innovation ecosystem as a whole. 
  • Watch the full fireside chat here.

Ching Yee Ho