AngelCentral Learning Forum: Angel Investing Post-COVID

AngelCentral Learning Forum: Angel Investing Post-COVID

The good news: Global startup investments totaled ~$300 billion up 4% from the previous year (2020), despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The interesting bit: the deal volume was 3% lower in 2020 with most of the capital invested concentrated in the later stage technology startups. The not-so-great bit: total funding for early-stage startups decreased 11% in 2020 vs. 2019.

We had observed a similar trend in our AngelCentral members in 2020. In the past 15 months, we had become more “demanding” in selecting startups and required more traction and market validation before cutting cheques. In some cases, while the investment frequency has not dropped, the bite-size had come down 20-30%. 

But what’s encouraging to observe too, is that our 2021 pitch day attendances have gone back to 2019 level, and our members are noticeably more “active” and engaging more with the founders. In the first 4 months of 2021, we had successfully completed three syndications too. 

Is this observation in early-stage investment too optimistic or do investors now really prefer later-stage opportunities? During the webinar, our distinguished panel shared their takes on the post-COVID19 investment scene and discussed about such investment trends and observations with the participants.

Panelists included:

  • Michael Gryseels, President, True Digital Group
  • Mohan Belani, Co-founder & CEO, e27
  • Chirayu Wadke, Member, XA Network
  • Lim Qing Ru, Partner, True Global Ventures

About Michael Gryseels, President, True Digital Group

Michael Gryseels is the president of the True Digital Group (TDG), which was set up as the innovation arm of True Corporation, to capture new growth opportunities from digital and related technologies. During his stint, he led the incubation of TDG in 2018 and structured TDG as a market-focused organization with 4 business lines: digital media, commerce, data monetization, enterprise solutions; supported by world-class product, analytics, and technology teams. In addition, he has launched a Digital Academy to build skills for the future economy and expanded TDG across the region, by launching operations in Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, and China. Since 2018, TDG has grown from 300 to 2,000 employees. Our digital platforms serve more than 35 million active users across the region.

Prior to TDG, Michael co-founded and led McKinsey's Digital Labs for the APAC region. In his role, he oversaw a team of 500+ digital experts and professionals, including UX experts, designers, Product Owners, Agile Coaches, Architects, Engineers, Data Scientists, and experts in various technologies. MDL accelerated and derisked our client's endeavors in digital transformation and new business.

About Mohan Belani, Co-founder & CEO, e27

Mohan Belani is the Co-founder and CEO of e27, a startup and tech ecosystem platform focused on helping startup founders build and grow their companies. He believes that startups can make the world a better place, and in order for Southeast Asia's tech ecosystem to be relevant, it needs to be driven by sustainable and impactful companies solving problems at scale. He enjoys working with Founders and helping them alleviate the challenges of building great companies specifically around the areas of talent, funding and market access.

About Chirayu Wadke, Member, XA Network

Chirayu Wadke is a member of the XA Network. He is also currently the Head of business development at Google Cloud APAC, which is instrumental in developing new markets and strategic customers for a subset of products. Outside of his day job, he has spent a few years at a US$25M venture capital fund where he was an early investor and board member to multiple early-stage companies across b2b and b2c. 

About Lim Qing Ru, Partner, True Global Ventures

Lim Qing Ru is a technopreneur, angel investor and venture capitalist. She is a co-founder of live chat software Zopim, which was acquired by Zendesk (NYSE:ZEN) in 2014.

She is currently a founding partner at True Global Ventures 4 Plus, a venture capital fund that invests in blockchain technologies.

She is also a Board Member at Action Community for Entrepreneurship ( She was a Philosophy graduate from the National University of Singapore.

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Download our Angel Investor Behavioural Survey Report 2023
Our survey shows funding winter has hit home with 31% of angel investors halting or slowing down investments, download the report for more insights!