Angel Investor Anderson Tan Tells Inspiring Advice on Startups

By Bea Perdigon



Successful Filipino entrepreneur on some essential tips for investing

What are the qualities of a good businessman? While most people would say intelligence, confidence, strength, and power, there are those who simply believe that doing business is a matter of knowing how to trust your gut feel. Among those few who believe in this unconventional way of business is entrepreneur and angel investor, Anderson Tan.


“Every business is a gamble. And if you’re going to gamble, look for where the best returns are,” says Anderson. Although knowledge is a key factor in handling or investing in a startup company, one must be able to have the courage to take the risk. Thus, the result of Anderson’s successful career.

Venturing to more opportunities


Once exiting two major business ventures namely Nikon Philippines and Caffe Ti-Amo Philippines, one would think that the money earned from these shares could be a perfect use for travel or even real estate. But instead of spending his earnings on luxury, Anderson decided to use them to maximize his strengths and invest in several businesses in the Philippines and abroad.


Today, Anderson invests in several powerhouse platforms such as Airbnb, Snapchat, Pinterest, Lyft, The Honest Company, and Matternet. He is a board member and partner of Launchgarage, and is involved with other local companies such as Good Meal Hunting and Cropital as well. Aside from being a co-founder of a startup in outer space during his program at the Singularity University, he is also set to invest in an energy operations startup, since he is passionate about science fiction and video games. 

Knowing what’s investment worthy


What makes a startup good investment material? According to Anderson, aside from the timing, competition, and business model, it will all depend on your gut feel. “When I see a person, I know if he or she has potential.” Anderson also stresses that you need to do your research on the company and the team. “Check their background and their experience. I would say someone with experience will do better compared to someone who just came out of university.The most important thing he is looking for in a startup is a leader with high EQ, humility, and a resilient team.


Aside from screening the best investments, it is also essential to become a good investor to them, too. “The most common mistake that I observe from startups here in the Philippines is overspending. As a startup, you need to be thrifty, especially if you are using other people’s money,” says Anderson.


More than the money 

Based on Anderson’s profitable experience investing, you would think he has a complex formula when it comes to making money. However, Anderson reveals that the secret to a thriving business is not doing it because you want something out of it, but rather doing it because you want to help.


Anderson simply lives by this principle: “Give and you will receive. If you want knowledge, teach someone. If you need money, donate. If you need help, help someone first. And it really works! I’ve seen it already.”