Tan Yinglan is a venture partner with Sequoia Capital, which has funded companies in the region such as Appier, Carousell, Tokopedia and 99.co. But it’s not all about dollars and cents for this venture capitalist. “I have the privilege of rolling up my sleeves to work alongside exceptional founders of emerging market leaders to build dent-making businesses which might change the world,” says Tan, who previously served in the Singapore Administrative Service, where he oversaw investments in high-growth ventures and venture funds for the National Framework for Innovation and Enterprise. It was something that Alibaba’s Jack Ma once told Tan that continues to fuel his passion for entrepreneurship: “He told me that Alibaba Group’s success was because ‘we had no money, we had no technology and we had no plan. Every dollar [we had], we used very carefully’.”
Quizzed about what it takes to be a young leader in the cut-throat finance industry, Tan, who is also an adjunct assistant professor at Nanyang Technological University, says it was his willingness to learn and audacity to challenge conventional wisdom that propelled him to where he is today.