It’s been an interesting start for Reena Sharma, Investible’s new VP of Investor Relations, who joined us just as COVID-19 was forcing lockdowns worldwide. Our newest Singapore-based team member has taken it all in her stride and she has big plans for Investible’s future in South East Asia and beyond.
Here is an introduction to Reena:
How did you first get started in venture capital?
“Well, I didn’t start in venture capital. I actually started my career working at DBS Bank, as a Management Associate in their two-year graduate leadership program. It was an interesting role because I had exposure to a number of different departments across the business. My favourite part, however, was working within the DBS Innovation Group as it was right at the beginning of DBS’ journey to becoming a digital bank. I was fortunate enough to be on the team that was working on that process from the start.
“Later on, I transitioned into investment banking, specifically in debt capital markets where I supported the team on a number of private debt issuances across sectors and jurisdictions. After around three years at the bank, I decided to develop my entrepreneurial experience by taking on a regional expansion role working for my Dad, who has been a technology entrepreneur for over 30 years, where I developed my experience in sales and partnerships across SEA.
“An opportunity to combine my interests in technology and finance came about when an Investor Relations position opened up with 500 Startups in Singapore. There, my focus was on capital raising for 500 Startups’ second fund as well as for some of its late-stage portfolio companies.”
You mentioned there’s a passion for entrepreneurship in your family. How has that shaped your interests in startups and early-stage venture capital?
“I grew up shadowing my Dad, so that was most certainly an edifying experience. My parents moved to Singapore from India with very little and started a business from scratch. They survived the impact of the Asian Financial Crisis, SARS, the Global Financial Crisis, among others and are still going strong. This is why I’ve always had a lot of respect for entrepreneurs. The odds are stacked against them, so it’s admirable to see their passion and expertise pull them through difficult times. This goes especially for founders from less advantaged backgrounds, who would’ve had to build themselves and their businesses from the ground up in order to thrive.
“What I love about Investible’s approach and early-stage capital, in general, is that it’s all about supporting the founder on their journey from start-up through scaling to exit. I find it very satisfying to be able to support founders in achieving their vision, and I believe early-stage capital serves as a critical catalyst for turning their vision into a reality.”
Investible is sector-agnostic, but working in a VC, what sectors or industries do you find more interesting on a personal level?
“Technology has always been an interest of mine. I received my Masters in Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Management from Imperial College London, which was perfect as it combined my dual interests in finance and technology. In particular, I’m most passionate about sustainability, especially in regard to animal and wildlife conservation as well as within the beauty/wellness and fashion sectors. I love following and supporting companies that are working to create products that are more sustainable, whether its biodegradable materials, cruelty-free products or fast-fashion alternatives. As my Dad’s business revolves around creating bespoke hospitality and travel tech solutions, I enjoy keeping abreast of the latest technological innovations within those sectors as well.”
What about Investible caught your attention and what are you looking forward to achieving now that you’re part of the team?
“I’ve seen Investible building more of a presence in Southeast Asia over the last couple of years, and the more I learned about the company, the more impressed I was. Investible has a highly-skilled team with big ambitions and I believe in the mission the company is trying to achieve. Investible’s strong methodology, tools and programs support its investment strategy and its unique, data-driven approach caught my attention.
“There are lots of opportunities to raise additional funds, to continue building Club Investible into a global network of investors who can invest in and support founders at scale, while working closely together with some of the region’s most promising companies.
“I’ve always loved the relationship-building aspect of investor relations; getting to know new people, understanding what makes them tick, and what they’ve set out to achieve. What I’ve seen so far is that Investible cares deeply about helping its founders through its global network of successful investors and ecosystem partners, so I’m looking forward to building on this solid foundation.”
You can follow Reena on LinkedIn.