Investor Spotlight: Retno Dewati of Fenox Venture Capital

Investing in Industry Disruptors

By Michaela Villaroman

Venture capitalists are always on the lookout for the next game changers to bank on. And for startups hoping to become the next big thing, funding and support from these firms are able to increase their chances of reaching their full potential.

Fenox Venture Capital ensures that the next industry disruptors are given the right push and guidance to become successful. The firm already has quite a number of successful portfolio companies under their belt, but with their team of analysts, experts, and veteran entrepreneurs constantly eyeing for promising startups, we could only expect those numbers to go up.

Investing in Southeast Asia

Amongst their brilliant team is Retno Dewati, the SEA regional manager. After graduating from Universitas Paramadina with a degree in International Relations, she joined The US - Indonesia Society. She then decided to get involved in the startup scene by joining Fenox VC.

“I started my career from scratch. I joined the company as an analyst. Around a year after that, I got promoted to be the senior investment analyst,” she tells us. It was another promotion that eventually landed her to where she is today, the SEA regional manager. Since then, she has been leading investments in the region and planning to make even more.

For Retno, becoming the SEA regional manager is both a professional and personal fulfillment.  So far, she has helped lead over 40 investments across the SEA region and continues to take interest in more. “I’m happy to say that I was one of the earliest VCs who contributed to the digital economy of Indonesia. That’s also why I want to work very closely with my portfolio companies. I want to make sure that they grow exponentially and that they contribute to the digital economy of Indonesia,” she shared.

Aside from this, she is also proud to be a woman in venture capital, especially considering that research shows only 8% of women partners in the top 100 venture firms. Retno says, “I think the only way for me to tackle the challenge is to keep learning and just let your action speaks louder than your words.”

Despite all that she already accomplished, Retno is far from done. She happily shared with us a few highlights of her year and what more we can expect from her and Fenox VC: “This year, I just made my investment debut in Vietnam. Usually in SEA, my main focus is Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia. We also have one investment in Thailand. But then my next target is to further expand into Vietnam and Philippines. I already made my first investment in Vietnam and hopefully soon, I can make investments in the Philippines.”

Global expansion for emerging startups

Fenox Venture Capital is a Silicon Valley based firm that believes in supporting emerging companies by facilitating enterprise partnerships between startups and multinational corporations. Their parallel funds range from $20M to $200M USD and they remain industry agnostic, intending to support disruptors from all industries achieve global expansion.

Retno shares more about Fenox, “We established in 2011 and started the office in SIlicon Valley. After we invested a lot in Silicon Valley, we expanded our operations. Today, Fenox is managing multiple offices in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Bangladesh, China, Belarus, and Middle East.”

When it comes to identifying what factors make up a promising startup, Retno enumerated the characteristics she considers when making an investment decision. “For my investment criteria, I have three main things I look out for. The first one is the team itself, the second is how innovative their technology is, and the third is the market size.” And for aspiring entrepreneurs, she also had some advice, “My suggestion is if you want to be a tech entrepreneur, you should make sure that you really have to understand the problems that you’re going to solve and that the only way to solve those problems is by creating the company.”

With their goal to advance and empower startups to make a positive difference in their industries and around the world, we can only expect more from Fenox VC in the years to come.

For more information on Fenox Venture Capital, you may visit their website here.