It takes courage to embark on a startup journey. Whether the journey starts as a founder, investor, or a team member, all are innovators that are driven by a passion to make a lasting impact. Investing in early-stage startups is a high-risk venture. But at the same time, if executed the right way, they can yield exponential returns compared to other more traditional investment opportunities. Seoulz is proud to announce our ASEAN Angel Investors Rina Neoh and Edmas Neo who are very interested in investing in startups all across Asia that align with their overall vision of growing entrepreneurship.

ASEAN Angel Investors Looking to target startups in Korea

Both Rina and Edmas are ASEAN Angel investors who understand that South Korea is experiencing an exponentially accelerating rate of change driven by technology. But technology alone is not their only interest. Both are passionate about entrepreneurship and building a strong startup community.

The South Korean startup scene is one of the top emerging startup ecosystems in the world. South Korea gets massive support from the government, has hundreds of startup accelerators and VC firms, and many startups in Korea are growing very quickly. South Korea is becoming a target for many global companies, investors, and startups. However, entering the South Korean market is not easy.

Entering the South Korean Market

People are consuming news a lot differently than they were a few years ago. Now, search engines like Google and social media channels like YouTube are where most people get their information. Korea offers many products and services that use new technologies, however, this information is not easily accessible.

Global companies see South Korea as a strategic geographical location. This is because South Korea has strong ties with other countries in Asia such as Japan, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, and etc. This makes South Korea a favorable destination for business expansion in Asia. However, information on Korean companies, startups, etc are very limited. Seoulz can help bridge the disconnect and become the ultimate gateway for both outbound and inbound deal flow in South Korea.

As we introduce both investors, it will be easy to see that both are equally passionate about impact investing. Impact investing is about backing startups that have a positive influence socially, promote entrepreneurship, and have the potential to grow at a rapid pace. We are proud to introduce our Angels!

Rina Neoh

RinaRina is not only an Angel investor but also a seasoned entrepreneur and multi-awarded startup advocate in the ASEAN region. She has proven expertise in setting up and developing innovation-driven companies. Rina has over 20 years of experience in both corporate and entrepreneurial worlds. Furthermore, she is an expert in incubating new businesses, finding new markets, creating unique value propositions, and creating sustainable revenue streams.

Some of her accomplishments include:

  1. Serial Entrepreneur and Angel Investor: As Co-Founder and Chief Executive of Mercatus Capital, Rina invested and managed a portfolio of more than 80 startups in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, India, and Australia.
  2. Venture Capitalist and Business Strategist: As Co-Founder and Board Director of FICUS Venture Fund, was instrumental in launching the first Shariah-compliant investment company in Malaysia that upholds the highest standards of ethical practice.
  3. Angel Investments and Social Enterprise Advocate: As Senator of the World Business Angel Investments Forum (WBAF) representing Malaysia, advocated the promotion of social-oriented enterprises and inclusive financial services and financial literacy.
  4. Civil Service and Public Policy Advocate: As Board Member of the Malaysian Trade (MATRADE) Commission, participated in crafting and executing Malaysia’s export promotion strategy in line with the government’s Industry 4.0 Economic Agenda.
  5. Resource Linker and Influence Leader: As Co-Founder of ASIA CEO Community based in Hong Kong, helped to grow the CXO leadership alliance to 8,000 active members from Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Australia.
  6. Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Educator: As Founder-Investor of Smarter Robotics, introduced the first Humanoid Customer Experience Ambassador for commercial application and developed the first AI Robotics Education for kids and youth.
  7. Neuroscience and Early Education Advocate: As Master Franchisee of MindChamps International Preschools, introduced the first neuroscience-based preschool system in the Philippines and grew the business to 5 branches in the first 3 years.

Rina is passionate about making a difference in others and impacting society in every venture she undertakes or invests in. Her passion comes from her mother who never complained and focused on working hard to put her through school. She taught Rina the values of integrity, tenacity, and hard work. These are the qualities that have guided her as an entrepreneur and a founder.

Supporting Female Entrepreneurs in Asia

Rina is actively looking to encourage more women in Asia to embrace entrepreneurship. She is passionate about women taking on more leadership roles in the startup ecosystem. More and more female millennials and GenZ are excited to embrace new technologies and be a part of this new digital revolution. Therefore Rina is very involved in advocacies that help mentor female startup founders.

She set up a learning platform to educate women to be more confident and competent social entrepreneurs through a program called FinTech Lab Entrepreneurship Program. Furthermore, through her Social Light Community Ventures, she accelerated the growth of socially relevant micro-enterprises that impact women in depressed communities.

“Women have the innate advantage of being able to balance business acumen with emotional intelligence. I would like to see more women in male-dominated industries, like technology startup, angel investing, fintech, and esports. I think there’s no “glass ceiling” for women entrepreneurs and founders who want to succeed in the world of entrepreneurship.”

Edmas Neo, MBA

Edmas NeoEdmas Neo is the founder of Accrete Innovation, SEA Anchor Venture Co-builder Programme, and one of the more active ASEAN angel investors. He has deep network connections across Southeast Asia, Taiwan, and South Korea and plays a key role in developing the Singapore startup ecosystem as the CEO of Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE) that represents over 4,000 Singapore based technology startups.

Edmas plays a vital role in helping Singaporean entrepreneurs access to the international markets and is actively supporting foreign startups’ entrance into Southeast Asia. He is deeply passionate about digital transformation and the use of technology to solve challenging problems. Currently, he chairs the largest innovation enablers network in Singapore with the aim to drive more potential business and co-innovation deals for the startups.

Promoting Entrepreneurship Collaboration Across Borders

He strongly believes that diversity breeds creativity and multinational startup teams would have the advantage of being more innovative and agile to scale-out internationally quickly. As such, he has been active in promoting entrepreneurship collaboration across borders through initiatives such as SEA Anchor Korea and SEA Anchor Taiwan to expose entrepreneurs and startups to what others are doing in terms of adopting the technology.

Edmas started his career as the founder of a web hosting company when he as an undergrad. Over the last 20 years, Edmas has accumulated deep experience in the IT industry, corporate venture, innovation, and startup investment and acceleration. He has extensive experience in project management and consulting across various domains covering private and public sectors with a good understanding of security, infrastructure, eCommerce, and social media technologies.

During his term as Regional Director at SG Innovate, a Singapore government wholly-owned deep-tech investment company, he had pioneered various acceleration and corporate co-innovation programs in Singapore. This led to the successful enablement of key programs in Fintech, Smart Cities, InsurTech, AI, and ICT. TIn addition, Edmas has advised over 120 startups and many have raised follow-on funding.

Accrete Innovation – SEA Anchor Program

In 2017, Edmas launched Accrete Innovation’s “SEA Anchor” program to help startups enter the Singapore market. The company provides business strategy advisory services and seed-stage investments, while “SEA Anchor”​ focuses on supporting early-stage startups and growth-stage startups in their business models and growth strategies.

Working closely with a collective core group of core mentors and angel investors, Accrete aims to provide the highest quality advisory and mentoring services with a strong focus on 1-to-1 mentoring. Furthermore, under the SEA Anchor program, portfolio startups may receive up to 12-month of advisory and receive strategic investments by Accrete.

Edmas earned an MBA from Alliance Manchester Business School with a focus on Entrepreneurship, Innovation Management, Venture Capital and Private Equity. As well as a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Electrical (& Electronics) Engineering from Nanyang Technological University. Additional accomplishment includes:

  • Founded Accrete Innovation, which provides acceleration and market access services for start-ups.
  • CEO, Action Community for Entrepreneurship
  • Council Member at Singapore-Jiangsu Cooperation Council (SJCC) which promotes the bilateral economic relations between Singapore and Jiangsu.
  • Chairman, Innovation Enablers Network
  • Advisory Board Member, Innovation Leaders Summit (Japan).
  • Founder, Technopreneur Action Group
  • Regional Director, Partnership and Collaborative Innovation at Singapore Innovative (SGInnovate), a VC firm and startup ecosystem builder owned by the Singapore Government.