If you want to start a financial company, instead of spending two years and millions of dollars in forming tons of partnerships, you can get all of that as a service and get going.
Andreessen Horowitz

Embedded Finance refers to non-financial companies that have value propositions that are significantly enhanced or even transformed through the associated financial products and services embedded within.

Essentially, these are companies that are embracing the trend that non-fintech companies are venturing into being involved with financial services, and the first, second, and third-order implications of such a macro-trend.

We want to answer three main…

My thesis is simple:

Circa early 2000's/10's, the world (first the West and then the East), largely faced Internet 1.0, which was a great place. Fundamental foundations of the internet and digital economy was being built everywhere. In the East, I joined Rocket Internet and helped clone e-commerce companies in South Asia. Those business models made sense.

Localization was always crucial but manageable with Internet 1.0 business models. Along the way came the Great Internet Divergence.

The Great Internet Divergence saw Governments, Culture, Regulations and various pieces of complex parts of local society react to technology in a way that fundamentally caused divergence in…

The passion economy is here and the long-tail of influencers, bolstered by various social media platforms, has emerged in a big way. As the distribution and growth of reach has professionalized, how will the development of the monetization infrastructure look like?

We focus on the history of influencer monetization, its core value proposition, and what the new monetization layer looks like in the influencer/tech world.

Let’s go back 50 years. Influencers (celebrities when the mode of media distribution was more traditional/centralized) had agents/managers that helped with everything that was not the acting-side of acting. …

Why we featured In A Perfect World:

When people think of online side hustles one of the first things they think of is an e-commerce store. But with the wide variety of items to sell, what should one pick?

In A Perfect World is a jewellery-focused e-commerce store started by 2 millennials almost straight out of university.

Hello! What’s your background, and what are you working on?

Erica: Hi! My job role is currently in business development and I lead strategic partnerships for a microblogging app.

Sarah: And I work in the finance industry, managing marketing campaigns and handling branding & communications. …

Over the weekend, Akshay (SIG) and myself (Saison Capital) were talking about the future of social commerce — diving specifically into the difference between platform-led vs agent-led social commerce models. We ended up diving into the role of gamification on e-commerce platforms.

PingDuoDuo games — Source: Turner Novak

We wanted to nail down the value proposition of the gaming features on an e-commerce platform, and came up with:

  • Retention
  • Brand Perception

An analogy for the role of gaming on e-commerce platforms was the IKEA hotdog stand that is present in IKEA.

The IKEA hotdog gives people an additional reason to linger and increase the repeat visit…

Why we featured Connescape:

COVID affected a ton of businesses globally, including Cong Le’s previous side hustle, a physical escape room. Undeterred, he built a super interesting virtual escape room experience that has been by consumers and companies all across the world.

In a world deprived of physical meet-ups and company retreats, Connescape looks to be solving an interesting problem, all the while being a side-hustle among friends!

Hello! What’s your background, and what are you working on?

Cong Le: Hello! I am currently an MBA student in London Business School, and I am also in charge of business development at Connescape, our side business.

Prior to my MBA, I worked at Garena, a…

The Goldilocks problem applies to any transaction fee-based platform in the passion economy, but I want to use Substack as the main model to break down here.

The principle problem is how to justify taking an increasingly absolute commission in fees over time, as the influencer becomes more and more popular. We also want to understand the types of business models where a transaction fee approach makes more sense, and the types of business model where a transaction fee approach makes less sense.

The premise of the passion economy is that you are able to find long-tail influencers, and grow…

One of the best productivity hacks I used that ended up being especially helpful in the post-covid remote working age was Working Sessions.

A Working Session is where members in a project [typically 3–5] would hop on a 60–90 minute video call with the audio and video on, and work on sections of a common project together. Typically in silence, sporadically cut with clarifications on the work being done.

The idea is to facilitate two things:

  1. Allocated group-enforced productivity time dedicated to moving the needle for one specific project together.
  2. Drastically shorter iteration, and reduced back and forth, by allowing…

Between Two VCs - From a conversation between Akshay Bajaj [SIG] and myself, Chia Jeng Yang [Saison Capital].

We talked about the concept of Absolute Pricing Authority, the Costco model, and its relevance for emerging markets.

What is the purpose of a Brand?

Brands are mental associations meant to increase conversions behind a job to be done and a particular action.

Healthy living? Saladstop.

Need to run? Nike.

E-commerce payments? Stripe.

Brands are always associated with a job to be done, and typically focus on quality [i.e. we are the best quality for the job to be done].

Affordability sometimes comes into the picture in that you…

I was recently asked the question of the journey of younger founders vs more mature founders. I initially believed that because of the current state of the SEA ecosystem, we should expect to see more mature founders as well as see a concentration of mature founders especially within B2B business models.

I did some digging and came up with the following dataset for SEA Unicorn Founders that surprised me in both the relative youth, as well as in the industry split for founders.

My initial mental model for this was built on the following 2 facts: Firstly, that the average…

Chia Jeng Yang

Principal @ Saison Capital | Consumer/fintech investing | Angel/Operator | work with smart people on projects: http://chiajy.com

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