Gobi Partners COO Dan Chong

Asian venture capital firm Gobi Partners today announced the appointment of Dan Chong as COO for its ASEAN operations, together with the appointment of Khairul Khairi as Partner for its Meranti ASEAN Growth Fund (MAGF) and Shannon Kalayanamitr as Venture Partner for its upcoming Thailand Fund.

“We are honoured that seasoned executives such as Dan, Khairul and Shannon, with their deep operating track records, have decided to join us,” Gobi Partners founding partner Thomas Tsao said in a press statement.

“Additionally, we believe that this further emphasizes Gobi’s commitment to the region. Dan’s extensive networks and experience in corporate venture investment, Khairul’s links to Malaysian corporate investors and investment banks, as well as Shannon’s substantial experience in startup management and local knowledge of the Thai entrepreneurial ecosystem, will all be invaluable assets to our team,” he continued.

As COO, Chong will be overseeing operations by leveraging on his previous experience at government-linked companies (GLCs), multi-national corporations (MNCs), and Big Four audit firms. He will help scale out Gobi’s infrastructure and processes on a regional basis.

His appointment completes the firm’s recent move to expand its ASEAN team, which includes the promotion of Investment Associates Taraec Husein and Kenneth Tan as Vice Presidents.

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A Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Chong has over 20 years of experience in Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) and corporate venture investment. He was also the Vice President of Corporate Development at Singapore’s MediaCorp, where he completed several M&A deals, and led investments in growth-stage startups.


Khairul Khairi, Partner for the Meranti ASEAN Growth Fund

Prior to joining Gobi Partners, Khairul Khairi was a Senior Vice President in the Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IxE) and Co-Investment Strategy (CIS) departments at Khazanah Nasional Berhad. He was also an Investment Manager at CIMB Private Equity and a Senior Executive at Maybank Investment Bank.

Starting off his career as a journalist for business publication The Edge, between his corporate stints, he has also served as Special Officer to the Malaysian Minister of Communications and later to the Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister.

As Venture Partner for its Thailand Fund, Kalayanamitr will be the firm’s official representative in Thailand, pitching the firm to investors, limited partners, and angel investors, as well as procuring investment opportunities in the digital media and IT sectors.

Kalayanamitr is the Founder of consulting company IKIGAI Group and was the co-founder and CMO of women-focussed e-commerce platform Orami. She left Orami in May 2017.

She is also an advisor to startup studio Santora Nakama as well as the Thai government, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, and the Digital Economic Promotion Agency (DEPA) on its Thailand 4.0 Strategy, with a specific focus on its Tech, IoT, and Startup Execution plans.

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Shannon Kalayanamitr, Venture Partner for Thailand Fund

In August 2017, Gobi Partners announced the first close for MAGF.

Targeting US$200 million, the Malaysia- and China-based firm raised US$50 million to invest in startups working in the field of cloud services, e-commerce, fintech, and Taqwatech.

For the ASEAN region, the firm also runs the Gobi MAVCAP ASEAN Superseed Fund and Gobi Fund III.

In an email to e27, Gobi Partners Managing Partner (ASEAN) Kay Mok Ku revealed some details about the firm’s upcoming Thailand Fund.

“We have been investing in the Southeast Asian markets since 2010. With the launch of our Meranti ASEAN Growth Fund last year, we felt that the timing is right for specific country fund which can invest in early stage deals to feed into our growth fund,” he wrote.

“Thailand is a natural choice given that it is the second largest economy in Southeast Asia, and the startup ecosystem has matured a lot in recent years, especially with the ardent support of their government. Thailand is also well positioned to capitalise on the rise of Chinese consumption, as it is a very popular destination for Chinese tourists, and Thai products are well sought after by Chinese consumers,” he added.

The managing partner also said that subsequent details about the fund will be revealed by Kalayanamitr “at the appropriate time.”

Image Credit: Gobi Partners