Techfolio: Mapping Out Growth

by Marc Almagro
Photography by Chino Sardea
10 Apr 2017

Quest Ventures raises its success by working with companies that will retain their relevance across markets, and have demonstrable scalability and replicability

Since the time that James Tan started Quest Ventures in 2011, it has funded some of the top startups in Southeast Asia including Carousell,, ShopBack, Ethis, Xfers, and, among many others. It remains focused on startups that have scalability and replicability in large Internet communities.

“We look for good people who form great teams with awesome ideas", says Tan. “We want these businesses to have applicability in not just their origin cities, but in cities across our region.”

Besides providing capital, the company’s founders also plug into a network of fellow founders who share learnings to accelerate their growth and avoid pitfalls. Quest Ventures also helps in hiring, fund-raising, office, events and networking opportunities with ecosystem partners.

The company has developed myriad ways to ensure the success of its ventures, but remains prepared when they don’t turn out the way they were expected. “When a venture does not do well, as some do, we help the founders where we can so that they can consider as many options as possible when evaluating how to pivot their business models,” Tan says.

“We have been very consistent (and lucky!) in that many of our companies are doing very well and are well-regarded in the industries that they serve.”

Tan is always on the lookout for developments in the market. “We continue to scan the horizon for the next big thing to bet on. We are usually the first cheque or investment into a tech startup so this means we are unusually forward-looking and can take a long term view on investments that few can.

Tan is invested in the idea that because Quest Ventures comprises entrepreneurs backing entrepreneurs, it has a uniquely inehrent stability. “Our DNA is deeply entrepreneurial. All our staff are hands-on and work hard side-by-side with entrepreneurs whom we consider part of our family. The Quest family is very close knit.”